Despite the diversity and richness of Indian cuisine, I've been playing it disappointingly safe when it comes to what to eat. My itinerary was so tightly packed that any kind of food poisoning or GI issue would effectively mean missing out on an entire city (or having an awfully uncomfortable bus/train ride). However, this didn't mean I couldn't learn a thing or two in the kitchen.
In Udaipur, I took a private cooking class from the matriarch of an Indian family while her eldest son translated. No recipes - just me scribbling notes. It felt a lot like being back in cooking school.
- 1/2 C water
- 1 t assam tea
- 1 t masala tea
- sugar to taste
Heat all ingredients, bringing to a boil. Add milk if desired. Strain into tea cup. Serve.
- 4 small potatoes, boiled, peeled and diced
- 2 small onions, sliced
Heat 2 T peanut oil in a pan on med-high heat. Add a pinch of cumin seeds and hing (asafoetida). Then add the onions and sautee for 1-2 minutes.
Next, add the potatoes with a generous pinch of salt and about 1/4 t ground turmeric. Stir.
Finally, add 1/4 t red chili powder, 1/2 t ground coriander and a dash of garam masala.
- 1 small onion, minced
- 1 C lentils, rinsed
- 2-3 cloves of garlic, crushed
Heat 2 T of peanut oil on med-high heat in a pot. Add a dash of hing, half a cinnamon stick, 2 cloves, 5 pepper corns and the onion. Stir and cook for 1-2 minutes.
Add the garlic.
Next, prepare the spices in a small bowl: 1/4 t each salt, red chili powder, ground turmeric and garam masala and 1 t ground coriander. Add a little water to form a paste, then add to the pot.
At this point add tomatoes if desired, and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add the lentils and water (1 C lentils : 4 C water). Cover and cook for about 10-15 minutes (if you don't have a pressure cooker use more water and cook longer).
- 1 C basmati rice
- 1 medium potato, peeled and diced
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1 C peas
- Whole spices: 1/2 bay leaf, 1 star anise, 1 cardamom pod, 1 T anise seeds, 2 cloves, 5 pepper corns, 1/2 cinnamon stick
- Ground spices: 1/2 t garam masala, 1 t salt, dash of water
Heat 3 T peanut oil in a pot. Add the whole spices, followed by the onion. Stir.
Next add the potatoes and peas and the ground spices. Stir and cook for 1-2 minutes.
Add the rice and water (1 C rice : 2 C water). Cover and cook for about 10-15 minutes. (Again, if you're not using a pressure cooker, use 3 C of water and cook for longer).
- 250 g flour (I would use a mix of all-purpose and whole wheat)
- 1 t salt
Combine the flour and salt in a bowl. Gradually add water and mix with your hands until it forms a tough dough. Knead, and drizzle with a little oil.
Pinch off a small piece of dough and roll it into a ball. Coat with flour. Roll out into a circle about 1/2 cm thick. Cook on a hot griddle, flipping periodically to make sure it's evenly cooked on both sides.
Prepare dough for chapati. For the filling, mash a boiled and peeled potato with a dash of ground cumin and chili powder. Roll out a piece of dough as above, then brush with oil and place a spoonful of potato in the center. Crimp the edges inward like a dumpling, then press flat and coat with flour. Roll out again, carefully so the filling doesn't spill out. Cook as above.
Roll out a piece of chapati dough. Brush with melted butter, then sprinkle with sugar. Seal and roll out as above, then cook.