Leaving India

Fresh from the garden awaiting the guests

With henna still on our hands, we are saying Namaste to India.  What a wonderful week we had!  One of the main things I will take from this week is how India is a country full of color, from the foods they eat to the clothes they wear and the art used to decorate their homes.  Neeti even described to us the traditional “festival of color” that they do throughout India in early spring.  Apparently “everyone” in India dresses in all white and they spend the entire day throwing powdered colors at each other.  At the end of the day the people are just covered in colors, according to Neeti, and it doesn’t come off for a few days.  This seems like such a fun tradition, I’m thinking we need to start our own American festival of colors.  If a country with over a billion people is participating, why can’t we?…..maybe we can start next year!   

For our final Indian night, we celebrated with some good friends and I spent a few hours preparing some amazing Indian food.  Using my sweet friend Maria’s Mangoes and Curry Leaves cookbook once again, I found several recipes that I just have to make again.  In fact, I decided I just need to go for it and buy this cookbook as it has proven so fabulous!  

As our guests arrived, we offered a sweet drink of refreshing Hunza Apricot Nectar mixed with a bit of water.  This was made using dried apricots, water and sugar and the kids really enjoyed it, probably because we don’t give them much juice.  

Next, we dove into the meal.  

India Menu 

Hunza Apricot Nectar

 

  

Cucumber Raita

 

The Cucumber Raita was a light accompaniment made of chopped hothouse cucumbers, yogurt and salt.  It was really that simple and tasted great with the chapatis.  

Chapatis  

Rolling out the Chapatis

 

Pushing down the bubbles in the Chapatis

  

Finished Chapatis

 While I wanted to try to make Na’an, it was a bit too complicated for our evening and the chapatis, a very traditional Indian bread, were much more simple and served the same purpose. These are a very basic flour, water, salt dough that is left to sit a few hours before rolling out and grilling on a cast-iron grill. 

Swiss Chard with Chili and Spices     

Chicken Biryani, Dum Style 

Chicken Biryani in dough-sealed pot

 

Chicken Biryani

The Chicken Biryani was perhaps one of the most amazing chicken dinners I’ve ever had!  First, a pound of chicken was cut into bite-sized pieces and marinated in yogurt and several Indian spices, including turmeric, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, salt, cayenne, pepper and garlic for about 3 hours.  Next, about 3 cups of onions were sautéed in  a bunch of oil for about 20 minutes.  Then, the onions were removed and the rice was “blanched” for about 5 minutes.  While performing these steps, the oven was heated to 375* and an easy flour/water dough was made to line the pot.  Once the onions and rice were ready 1/2 the chicken pieces were placed on the bottom of the pan to cover it, then 1/2 the rice was placed on top, then 1/2 the onions and then the layers were repeated topped at the end with a couple tablespoons water and oil. Lastly, the dough was rolled into two ropes used to cover the rim of the pan, the lid was placed on top and the pan was placed into the oven to cook for about an hour.  Amazingness, if that’s even a word! Honestly delicious, there wasn’t one drop left!   

Home-Style Jalebis with Ice Cream 

Jalebis and Vanilla Ice Cream

  The Jalebis were another type of dough, deep-fried in Ghee and dipped in a simple sugar syrup.  We added some vanilla ice cream as it’s a bit of a staple in our family. 

My friend, Karen, painting her Mehndi hand

I had some extra dough from our party the other day and let our dinner guests paint their own cookies, which they had some fun with.

  

Wow, another wonderful week, a country I will miss as I feel like I could have stayed here awhile and, with the reminder of our fun still left on our hands, I’m not sure I’m quite ready to leave.  But, this was our longest week so far and I guess we have to move on. 

Thank you, India!  We have really, really enjoyed learning about your great country and look forward to more delicious meals to come to remind us of the wonderful time we spent here. 

  

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2 responses to “Leaving India

  1. What a wonderful description of a scrumptious looking meal. Love all the detail.

  2. Pingback: Rice and Beans | Around the World in 40 Weeks

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