India Bound

Sunrise at 5.30 am Sunset at 7.05 pm

Location: Mussoorie and Delhi, India

Engaging in wild acts of exploration and inquisition.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Flaming Egglpants, Yeah!

My friend Cora and I have befriended the sweetest little Indian woman named Kaushal. She must be nearly thirty, but has the sweetest giggle and twinkle to her. She had previously worked with an American family for three years - cooking, teaching Hindi, giving massages, etc. and we asked her if she could teach us how to cook a few dishes. Start simple - rice, bangam bharta, and roti.

She took us to her house, which was one room (about 15'x10') adjoining the house of her mother -in-law. The space was organized with complete efficiency and neatness and everything was brightly colored and tucked away. Her nine year old daughter, Asha (ÒHopeÓ in Hindi), had red ribbons in her braids and we talked about favorite foods and dancing. Her son, Ashu ("sadness") kept running in and out with a different friend to show each time that there were westerners in his house.

And so for the next two hours we roasted eggplants on the two-burner camping sort of stove and scraped their skins off and mashed them in a huge pan with garlic and onion and chili peppers. We rolled out roti and somewhat successfully made them even looking and in between it all there were amazing/funny hindi songs on the radio and a small child running in and out demanding bananas and pails of water to be fetched. When it came time to eat, Kaushal taught us to mix the rice with the bangam bharta and roll it into a little sort of ball and eat with our fingers. Funny to grow up constantly being told not to eat with your fingers and then to be re-taught how to eat with your fingers in the most delicate way possible. We made fools of ourselves getting food everywhere and found it really hard to not actually stick our fingers in our mouths...

Kaushal showed us her photo albums and we found that she had been married at fourteen and had Asha when she was sixteen and has never been to the cities surrounding Mussoorie that are only an hour away. Her son had stayed home today as it was raining hard all day and he doesnÕt have a rain coat, so when we come back this Sunday for cooking lesson #2 we are planning on coming bearing a new raincoat and methia (India sweets made from nuts and flour and rose water) and a jar of Nutella, which is KaushalÕs favorite.


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