I am not a foodie, far from it – I eat to live, however living in China means that your day-to-day life is filled with food and food related stuff, even a trip abroad wouldn’t make an escape…
Before my latest trip to India, same as always, my friends worried I might suffer from lacking for culinary options. As hard as I ridiculed the worry, I couldn’t produce any solid evidence to back my argument, end of the day I was the one to blame, I just couldn’t recall any detail of the dishes I had previously.
I must hasten to add – I usually don’t have a clear memory about food, it would take me a few minutes to recall what I had for lunch or breakfast, my brain somehow doesn’t have much space for that aspect of life.
So this time, in order to rectify the misperception about my beloved India, I decided to keep a photo journal of adventures on palate, again I must hasten to add – I was still experimenting in vegetarian lifestyle during my stay, and I usually have two meals only a day – breakfast and lunch – hence, only a dozen of photos are available here.
Ok, shall we? Let’s start from the appetizers:
1. Dilli Ki Chaar
A combination of typical northern Indian delicacies – Bhalla, Papdi, Dahi gola pappa, and tikki; Ingredients include raisins, cashew nuts, sweet chutneys and yogurts. It’s usually served cold, taste slightly sweet with a faint trace of sour.
2. Salads & Papadoms
Call it a side dish if you like, but crispy papadoms are usually served before meals, compare with the plain ones I prefer the spicy version.
Move on to the entrees –
3. Subz Rogenjosh
You must have heard lamb rogenjosh, here lamb is replaced by subz, which means vegetable, as its color suggested, it could be spicy for some, but I love it.
4. Palak Aap Ki Pasand
Usually it’s a combination of corns and cottage cheese, but I am really not a big fan of the latter so I asked for corns only, don’t be fooled by its rather calm colors, it surprises your tastebuds unexpectedly.
5. Subz Briyani
Come on, everyone knows briyani! Indian style fried rice, this is a vegetarian version, filling but will not make you feel heavy.
6. Amristar Choley
Chick peas prepared in masala sauce, so it will have a kick after a few bites. Light in stomach, pleasant on palate.
7. Zeera Aloo
You are right, aloo means potato, and I love all potato dishes. By now you probably have figured out that I love spicy food too, that explains why Zeera Aloo is one of my favorites. The green bits are cumin seeds and shredded corianders.
8. Dal Makhani
Made of whole black lantils and red kidney beans, I prefer Dal Makhani to any other dals, not just for its robust taste, but also the creamy texture. Bear in mind it’s quite heavy. I always had to have a cup of strong coffee to keep me awake after savoring romali roti with the black dal.
9. Kadhai Paneer
Paneer is cottage cheese, although not a big fan, I occasionally order it for proteins. Thank to the special slow fire cooking method, cottage cheese absorbed all the flavors from various seasonings and spices, which is helpful to soften the not so soft texture.
10. Poori Bhaji
Poori is the roundish Indian bread, unlike naans, pooris are deep fried. It’s potato in the soup, very tasty. Poori Bhaji is probably my favourite Indian breakfast, especially on a wintery Sunday, it warms me up inside out.
Another option for Indian breakfast, uttapam is similar to a thick pancake, with toppings cooked into the batter, served with curries and curd (yogurt), up to you how you want to wake up the tastebuds.
Sweet ending is a must to complete a meal properly, especially in India, I don’t think I had ever tried anything sweeter than Gulab Jamun, our item 12 – a milk solids based desert, served in syrup, which made it extra sweet.
12. Gulab Jamun
13. Shahi Tukra
As you can see from my note, it is a bread pudding dessert of fried bread slices soaked in hot milk with spices, including saffron and cardmom. Not as sweet as gulab jamun, but it’s not for the sensitive teeth. I love its aroma.
14. Gajar Ka Halwa
Carrots based dessert, light and refreshing.
15. Moong Dal Halwa
Halwa means “sweet” in Arabic, this is another rendition of carrots based sweets, unlike Gajar Ka Halwa, Mong Dal Halwa is served warm.
I’d better stop here before work up myself feeling sentimental, it will be another 12 months till I visit the incredible India again. Please forgive me for not being able to give you a more detailed explanation of each dish – I can’t cook, I can’t cook at all. My only cookery education is from watching Nigela Express, and I was more interested in Nigela Lawson’s curvaceous figure and satin dressing gown than her food.
Moreover, I want to add that photos can’t do justices to Indian cuisine, which is definitely more than what meets eyes. In my humble opinion, its special ways of preparations may have contributed to the rich flavors, but on the other hand, have also restrained the possibilities of fancy presentations.
Anyway, this whole exercise is to prove that I ate well in India. In contrary to my friends’ concern of lacking options; I often walked along buffet lines back and forth in an agony of choice.
As a testimony, despite the hundred percent vegetarian diet, I put on 2kg within 4 weeks, that’s right – I ate like a horse; well, what to do, the food was delicious!