Once upon a time, Lee and I lived in an apartment and had an awesome downstairs neighbour. We knew we lucked out pretty well on the downstairs neighbour thing but I don't think we truly appreciated his worth until he moved out. A 20-something chick moved in who liked to smoke a lot of weed and play music so loud it shook my floor. We only lived there for a few months after she moved in and while we never worked out a way to prevent her from smoking pot in the house (though our upstairs neighbour got into a screaming match with her about it), she did stop playing music quite so loud after I turned up the speakers and blasted some loud, twangy country music for two hours one afternoon. (Eat my subwoofer. Eat it for breakfast.) Point made. (If that didn't work I was willing to break out the death metal. I was slightly disappointed it didn't come to that.)
Previous downstairs neighbour was the type who brought us back Cuban rum from his vacation. In return, we piled him up with a huge plate of Christmas turkey when we found out he hadn't had any. It was a good relationship. After he moved, he called us now and then. Sometimes to ask if he could use our parking spot. Other times because he and Lee had a Proline ticket they'd share. One day he called and he and I feel into talking about food. While we were on the phone he gave me his chana masala recipe. I dashed it off on a scrap of paper from a yellow legal pad.
Chana masala is one of my favourite dishes. I can't tell you the first time I had it, which is a shame because it really should have been a memorable experience. A good chana masala is flavourful and layered. It has depth. Our neighbour's recipe was simple. It didn't require anything we didn't already have on hand. The instructions were easy. It was perfect and each time we made it we smiled.
I lost the recipe. At one point Lee emailed our neighbour and he sent us a recipe but it wasn't the same one. The one in the email had more stuff in it. It's good but not the same.
Every now and then I find myself searching for the recipe. I believe it's around here somewhere. Shortly after we moved into our house I found it. I told myself that I really needed to blog it or at the very least type it up in an Evernote file. But you know how it goes. That never happened. I lost it again. Sometimes I dig into my binder of clipped recipes, convinced that it must be there somewhere. It probably is but right now I cannot find it. It will reveal itself when it's ready. Or maybe the next time we move, which we hope will not be a for a long, long time.
For now, I keep trying new recipes hopeing to find one that is as good as our neighbour's recipe. Some come close. Some do not. The perfect chana masala recipe is out there, somewhere, waiting for me to find it.