Getting Down With Being Brown


The Festival of Colours, known as Holi in India,  is one of my favorite holidays. It signifies spring, a renewal of friendships and relationships, and a promise to let bygones be bygones as good triumphs over evil. During Holi, social norms don’t exist – we are all fish in the same sea of life swimming towards our futures, whatever they may be.

In case you didn’t notice, I have a thing for Trader Joe’s

It’s also a holiday where I get to don my freshest white tee and have it filled with color by the end of the day. It’s an opportunity to relive the  nostalgia of Berkeley, scarf down on greasy Indian food and a bottle of Jack Daniels, and belt out this song without a care in the world.

Before and After – I got into a fight with a tie-dye shirt and lost.


While the actual celebration is far from clean, it inspired me to bake something that was fresh and that evoked the flavors of the homeland. This dessert is delicious for a not-too-sweet breakfast or as an afternoon pick-me-up. It also travels well, making it perfect to share with old friends and to build new relationships with. The cardamom allows me to channel my inner Indian (Inn-dian?), while the grapefruit allows me to hold on to the last few wisps of winter produce before I must start anew.

Saffron-vanilla ice cream from Ici – keeping it desi

Go ahead, Calcut-ta piece.


Citrus-Cardamom-Yogurt Cake

2 eggs
1 cup yogurt (I used fat-free, but you don’t have to)
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1.5 cups flour
1.5 cups almond meal
1.5 tsp BP
1/2 tsp BS
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp cardamom
Zest from 2 grapefruits

  • Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line the bottom of a 13×9” cake pan with parchment paper and grease the sides.
  • In a large mixing-bowl, gently combine the yogurt, eggs, sugar, vanilla, oil, and grapefruit zest. In another bowl, sift together the flour, almond meal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the flour mixture into the yogurt mixture, and blend together — don’t overwork the dough.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan, and bake for 25-30 minutes, until the top is golden brown and a cake tester comes out clean. Let stand for ten minutes, and transfer onto a rack to cool. Serve at room temperature with fresh fruit. In the photo, there are caramelized dates and sliced strawberries, but use anything you want. Well-wrapped, this cake will keep at room temperature for 1 week.

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