Tag Archives: india

Is Durian a fruit or a vegetable?

8 Jul

Have you ever heard of durian? It’s also known as jackfruit in some places…

Everywhere I have looked, they refer to durian as a fruit. A very stinky fruit at that… a fruit so stinky it has been sometimes banned from being carried in public transportation. Apparently is that stinky…

In the Food Network it is always presented as a challenge, because when you get past that stinky impression, apparently durian is a very sweet and delicious fruit used in many desserts. Cooks just need to get over the initial impression to be able to fully enjoy durian in all its glory.

Durian Collage

However in India, I was presented durian as a vegetable… huh?

They told me that durian, when unripe is considered in India as a vegetable and cooked in curries and sauces to be eaten as a vegetable. When fully ripe, apparently is when the distinctive odor develops, then it turns sweet and is considered a fruit.

cooked durian

This is an example of the ways we were offered durian during our latest Indian trip… I kinda liked it. I tried it at the last portion of the trip when I was already tired of eating foods so heavily seasoned with cumin. So it’s not fair to the durian that it was made with so much of what I don’t enjoy. But I am willing to give it another try.

Have you ever eaten durian? In a sweet or savory preparation?? Please share…


Sugar-Coated Fennel Seeds

5 Jul

I do enjoy something sweet after dinner… not necessarily dessert, but something sweet to freshen my breath and possibly, help me with digestion.

I am used to a little minty something after a restaurant dinner… but in India, you get served sugar-coated fennel seeds.


In paper, if I read fennel seeds coated in sugar I would probably say, PASS!! But without knowing what they were, I popped a few of these sugary treats in my mouth and they’re delicious!!

I have learned they are great to help you digest your dinner and they help simmer down the effects of spicy foods.

So if you have an Indian market nearby, seek out these delicious treats – sugar-coated fennel seeds.


The many ways to eat lentils in India…

26 Jun

Lentils are one of the staples in Indian cooking. Dal, as it is known in India, is the definitely the pulse of choice.

The most traditional way of eating lentils are in a stew format to eat over rice, very much like we eat rice and beans in Latin countries. The difference when we cook lentils, is that you can still see the lentils in the dish.

Indians tend to cook their lentils until they become mush, where the lentils just disappear and just look like a very soft puree. I will share with you a recipe given to me by a friend in which you cook yellow/orange lentils until they become this creamy consistency. They’re delicious…

Lentil Collage

A new way I discovered having lentils is in Moong Dal. The best way I can describe this is a lentil krispy… imagine a rice krispy, but with lentils. Get it now??

Moong Dal is crispy and salty… they pop in your mouth and they’re a real treat to eat. We discovered them in a store at an airport and enjoyed them on the road as a snack often. We even got to bring some home to enjoy. But remember they’re still lentils, filled with protein, so they can be heavy on your stomach if you eat too much at a time. So be careful not to overdo them… ok??

And my favorite way to eat lentils… papadams!!!! These are crispy wafers, like a tortilla meets a chip, made usually from lentils or chickpea flour. They’re served as a snack or as an accompaniment to some main dish. I got them served to complement Yogurt Rice, a favorite in South India. More about the Yogurt Rice in an upcoming post…

These papadams are addictive… I would eat mine, my mom’s and my friend’s papadams, if they were not interested in them. They are like the best Indian chip you will ever find. This is a very delicious way to get your protein on.


What is YOUR favorite way to eat a lentil?? I want to know…

Apologies from a vegetarian professional jet-setter…

24 Jun

I want to apologize if you feel I have not been able to share as many recipes as I usually do… I just have been very busy traveling the world in the first half of 2013. I have told you before… be careful what you wish for. I have wished to become a professional jet-setter and the Universe has heard me loud and clear. And even when I may have been inspired to cook and create recipes for you, sometimes the schedule of a traveler, without having a kitchen of my own presents its own set of challenges.

Travel 2013 Collage

This is why in many upcoming posts you’ll get to see the result of some of the traveling I’ve done in the last few months… As you already know a little bit, I went to India in February/March. I’ve been to Florida a few times as well…. For the birth of my little niece, the Miami ½ Marathon and my brother’s in law birthday. Now, I just returned from a trip in Panama and Peru, where I got the chance to fulfill a life-long dream to visit Machu Picchu.

Now that I am planted at home for the next few weeks, you’ll get the chance to do a little virtual travel thru my pictures and posts. A big part of my travels is the flavors of the places I visit. So you’ll get to see some of what I got to enjoy and some recipes I’ve developed inspired by those wonderful dishes. I also will be sharing some of what I brought back with me to remember the trip and to recreate those flavors I enjoyed while visiting.

I hope you get to enjoy it as much as I did… and inspire you to travel the world as well.

Bon voyage and Bon appétit…

Do you know where canola oil comes from?

20 May

When you drive across many parts of China you’ll see fields covered with little yellow flowers. Super pretty… you see them in almost every little patch of empty land available. Also, in India you see very similar landscapes… amongst the dry patches of lands there’s also fields covered with these pretty yellow flowers.

Most people believe they’re wildflowers… but in reality, they’re cultivated, not wild at all.  It’s the rapeseed plant. Not a very pretty name, but it’s the same plant where they get canola oil from.

Canola Oil Collage

The seeds look like very large mustard seeds… maybe because they’re related. But canola got its name because Canadians bred a new type of rapeseed plant that would yield oil lower in a component that was deemed toxic for humans.

So if you travel and see fields of pretty yellow flowers like these… be the smart one and tell everyone these are the plants where canola oil comes from.


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