jueves, 29 de diciembre de 2011

Tasty Challenge

“We started in a crazy washing and peeling and chopping frenzy…”

Sunday is a free day for the women working at the Bamboo Research Center, so we decided that was a good day to spend it together.

This day the women decided to teach Alena and Felix, two volunteers from Germany and myself, how to cook traditional South Indian food.

The meeting was at Manju´s place, she lives in Sanjeevinagar village, there we met Santhi who came with her daughter and her son. We went together to pick up Leema and her sister.

We squished on the bikes, Indian style, and went for the very first step in any cooking class: Buying the ingredients!

Everybody took their part in selecting the vegetables and spices, almost all of them of local production, this is not only healthy and tasty bute also sustainable! We got a very colorful selection that included beets, carrots, potatoes, ockra, onions, tomatoes, peas, and rice… Lots of rice!

We headed to my place and started in a crazy washing and peeling and chopping frenzy. There were enough things to do to keep all of us involved and busy. Everyone was very enthusiastic.

Santhi was the head of the team,  and as usual she was laughing and enjoying herself. We followed her instructions and kept constantly asking… Indian food can be a little complex containing so many ingredients.

She showed us the proper way and order to fry the condiments like mustard seed, onions and garlic, followed by the curry leaves, chili,  coriander, ginger… She showed us when to add the vegetables and how to know when the food was ready.

While the whole house was being filled by the smell of so many spices and the sound of conversation and laughing, Alena tried to keep notes on everything, it was an overwhelming process with so many people and so many things going on at the same time!

We prepared many dishes and finally we got to enjoy them together, a good, tasty, vegetarian and of course very spicy meal that included idlis, sambar, carrot rice, poriyal, tomato chutney and potatoes.

The next step is to try and prepare them on my own, (quite a challenge for me). And once again I was amazed by the Indian generosity and kindness, thank you Manju, Santhi and Leema for a wonderful day!

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