Tag Archives: Indian food

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.

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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.

 

Incredible India all over again – Street Food and Markets

11 Jun

Whenever I travel, I love going to street markets and supermarkets… I guess it’s a way to learn more about a country and culture.  Learning what and how they eat teaches you a lot about the country you’re visiting. 

 You can see how I have visited markets in Guadalajara, in Paris, even in NYC… but in India, surprisingly I have not visited any markets per se.  Why?  I think because in India, the markets come to you.  Street vendors are EVERYWHERE in India.  No matter the city, even in busy bustling Delhi, you see a food street vendor of some sort.   

In Old Delhi, you have the Chadni Chowk, and all over you see these carts selling lemon water.  They look super refreshing, especially in the April heat, but for us tourists from the Western world these are off-limits.  In India, it’s safer for us to stick to bottled water, even making sure it’s sealed from the manufacturer.  Something that I identify with a lot is the lemons available in India are criollo lemons – the same small ones we have here in Puerto Rico. 

        

 Actually, the produce available all around the streets is very, very similar to what you find here in Puerto Rico… I guess we’re close to the same latitude – you can see coconuts sold for coconut water, sugar cane to get sugar cane water or what we call here in PR, guarapo.  You can also see a lot of regular produce, like oranges, eggplants, melons, green beans, spices… 

   

                                   

 But something you see quite a lot, I mean they’re everywhere, are CUCUMBERS.  They sell them sometimes already peeled so you can eat them right there.  I wouldn’t eat them off the street peeled because the environment in India is filled with dust and dirt from the streets, but apparently people buy them because otherwise there wouldn’t be so many people selling them.  They’re a different variety than what we see here in the Americas.  They’re long and squiggly…

 

 Not food related per se, but once we even bought neem sticks off the streets of Varanasi .  Indians use neem sticks as a natural toothbrush.

 

 

Next time to travel abroad, or even to a different city from yours, make it a point to explore the markets and the street food typical of the place.  I am sure you’ll be able to appreciate a bit more the locals in your travels…

Incredible India All Over Again – Old and New Favorites

26 May

This is really incredible… I traveled to India once again.  Hey, a palm reader actually told me when we were there about 6 months ago that I would return to India many, many, many times in the future.  One down, God knows how many more to go…

This time I went to India with my yoga center group to attend Kumba Mela 2010 in Haridwar – a spiritual celebration held every 12 years where spiritual masters come down from the Himalayas and all over the world to bathe in the River Ganges at specific very auspicious days.  I feel extremely blessed to have been able to be present for such a special spiritual event.

 In the 3 weeks we were traveling through India we visited a few places we’ve been before – Delhi, Haridwar, Rishikesh, Varanasi… but I also visited a few new places such as Mumbai, Ujjain, Maheshwar, Omkareshwar and Indore.  In doing this, I certainly got the chance to savor some of my favorite Indian delicacies and also discovered some new treasures.

Among the tried and true…

American Airlines does not “disappoint” with their Indian Vegetarian Meals in Coach…  White Rice, paneer in a spicy sauce and stewed chickpeas.  I always eat mainly the rice and paneer, but I have sworn I will never travel to India on Coach.  Business-class is definitely in my future and hopefully better food and better movie choices.

    

Breakfasts are my favorites…  I got to try again chole, without the bhature, and dosas.  My favorite dosa filling is the curry potato filling.  They usually give me the sambar and the chutneys, but I eat the dosa and filling alone like that.

 

 

I also got to drink again my favorite tea, chai masala.  I drank it out of regular cups, and in Varanasi, where I learned to enjoy this delicious tea, I drank it out of the traditional clay disposable cup.  And watching the Varanasi sunrise, this was a real treat.

   

Among the new favorites…

In Maheshwar we got to taste a delicious yet very spicy breakfast – Parathas and Cutlets.  Parathas are a sort of flatbread that can be plain or filled with various vegetables.  The first ones were filled with potatoes and scallions.  Here you can see how parathas are made so flat yet filled with so much deliciousnessCutlets are a potato/vegetable fritter…  I explained it to locals as vegetable “alcapurria”.  These cutlets were extremely spicy for my taste, but they were very delicious still.  Don’t they look appetizing and where the heck was the plain yogurt??

     

 Last time I visited India I had a watermelon juice every morning.  Well, this time around the popular flavor was Sweet Lime.  A taste smilar to mixing lemon and orange juice, it was available everywhere and very refreshing.  Maybe this fruit was in season in April…

 

In Haridwar we got to try a few new things…  I learned about uttapam, vegetables cordon blue and pohe.  Uttapam is a rice flour pancake with vegetables.  Definitely a savory pancake, but really, really good. 

      

As you can tell, Indians like their fried foods; very much like us Latins, so probably that’s why I was drawn to these vegetable cordon blues – a vegetable fritter with a creamy, cheesy interior.  

Pohe is a flattened rice dish, often served for breakfast.  Mine looked more like polenta or cooked corn flour than rice, but let’s trust the locals that told me I was eating pohe.  My version had petit pois and I had it with some spicy curried potatoes.  Very spicy indeed.  As you can see, I have to supplement my Indian breakfast with some Western corn flakes and banana…  It was ripe even though it looks green.  Believe me…

 

I am super excited of my recent trip to India… we definitely found much more variety of delicious foods than during my first trip 5 years ago.  Stick around so you can learn more about the delicious and interesting food things I encountered.

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