Tuesday, February 10, 2009

India Trip 2: The Chow

Without further ado...

Oh, this little package. Ain't it pretty?! It's Paan. And since I am no expert in it, I won't go all lengthy in explanation. In nutshell, it's a filled up betel leaf. There are many variety of paan, according to its fillings - sweet, tobacco, spices/herbs (cardamom, saffron, fennel, etc). I guess it's similar to what 'Sirih/Sireh' is in Indonesia. It is believed to freshen up palate as much as helping with digestion after meal.

I have tried only couple different ones. And personally think it's too perfumey and sweet. The smell of it, I like. To chew it in my mouth, that..I don't like. However, my dad (to my surprise) seems to enjoy it!

The gentleman in this below photo - we pretty much walked by him few times within the 2 nights we stayed in Delhi. With my fear about taking photos of things/ other people in public, I kept throwing (what I felt) charming smiles at him, hoping he'd notice and oh...smile back, maybe? Oh no. Did not happen.

But I really wanted to take this picture!! Especially due to the fact that my mom in law made fresh paneer few days before that and just thought it'd be nice to see the differences, you know?

Me (to Vik): Can you go and take his picture? (Yes, I am that pathetic!)
Vik (sipping on Thumbs Up - carbonated drink, similar to Pepsi): You go! He won't mind. Seriously. It makes more sense if you are the one taking the picture. You are the tourist, anyway. (Insert sarcasm here)
Me: Can you come with me at least, please pretty please? (My dad would be so ashamed of me!)
So we walked and I gave the guy the sweetest smile I could mustered and asked 'Can I take a photo?' He nodded or..shook his head, in a way of agreeing.
Me (smile in triumph): You think I can ask him to smile? (whispering to Vik)
Vik: Err..let's dont push our luck!

This one was made by mom in law. Pretty much, when milk comes to boil, squeeze in some lime juice (or vinegar) and let it curdles. Strain and mold to shape.

Next is green chana. Green chick peas. Bought raw in its pods and then dry roasted in a pan, giving a delicious smokey slightly burnt flavor to it.

Khaman, maybe one of my favorite Indian snacks of all time. I could skip breakfast, lunch and dinner just for this. Pretty much a snack food, though it can be made at home, it's equally normal to get it from store - easier and economical and the taste is just as good. Seems like the texture varies depending on the store. Denser in some stores. Airy and fluffy in some. I love airy fluffly lighter version. With tons of cilantro and chutney!

This is new for me. Fafrad. It's fried dough made of chickpea flour and is eaten along with pickled vegetables and green mangoes. During the 2 weeks we were in India, we ate fafra oh..about 5 times!

I had quite hard time taking good photos of plated dishes though. When dishes are something with some sort of gravy, it always came out bit 'slobbish/globbish' in photos, no? I guess if I have the time to arrange it and under adequate light, it'd be okay. However, I am nervous enough about taking food photos in public...so..

Oh tandoori naan!!! These guys were smiling when I brought out my camera, I assume that they are accustomed to such 'attention.'

According to my mother in law, dinner is not complete without dessert. Not much of dessert person, however, I rarely say no to a good gulab jamun. So, we headed to Bikanervala and sample few items. Mmmh.
The drink in the earthen clay cup is thandai or badam thandai (milk beverage with almonds, cardamom, saffron, and some other seeds), ladled from the pot insert on the cart.

Oh and .. just a random food related photo. Our schedule was quite a mess on that particular day, due to the high traffic (Christmas holiday) on our way to Amber Fort. Hence, we took a quick detour and made a stop at city park - so starved that we decided to grab a plate of noodles. It was not mind blowing by any means, but for about USD 0.50, it kept us going for couple hours.


vyoma said...

Wow! Everything looks so amazing..Specially those khaman..i jus luv them...

Lidia Sianturi said...

khaman sama ga dg dokhla? is it made from chickpeas?

Anonymous said...

Oh.. I so remember those desserts, I used to get them from an Indian Grocery where I used to live and I loved them.. the photos are fabulous! Glad to see you back!

Kitchen Flavours said...

Wow pics show you had rocking time in India...

Mochachocolata Rita said...

oh my! what a spread! i've always wanted to visit india...sooo jealousssss

noobcook said...

I'm jealous too of your sumptuous spread in India ;) I also love the look of the leaf wrapped parcel :)~

Dee said...

Drool. Uhm, except for the paan :)
Happy Valentine's Day, Cecil. Glad to have you back!

The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

That's a delicous looking roundup.

Cynthia said...

This post really made me hungry. Thanks for sharing your trip with us. Love the exchange with you and Vik.

Salt N Turmeric said...

I havent been here for a while. Looks like you are having loads of fun in India!

I share your sentiment about taking pictures but I guess as long as you're acting like a tourist, you'd be fine. Im so gonna do taht when I go back to KL. lol.


Maria said...

What a feast! Great photos!