Lunch on a Thursday
While I am here in India I am technically staying at a guesthouse. But in reality I am being treated as a guest of the family. My lodging includes three meals a day which we all eat together.
The meals are cooked by a lovely lady named Pushpa. She has the world's most adorable children - a little girl called Kavitha who is nine and a cheeky little boy called Pilu who is three. They have big brown eyes and dimples and they get me every time.
The food is always good. They have very kindly cut down on chillies for my benefit. I cannot eat spicy food. It must taste very bland to them. We have established a typical pattern. The heat in the food will gradually creep up each day, until it gets to a point where I just can't eat it. Then we go back to rock botttom and start all over again.
Anyway, here is a typical lunch. This was what we ate on Thursday last week. I make no promises about the names and spelling.
This is mongori. It is made up of lots of tiny little dumplings in a curry sauce.
This is Meti Baghi. It is made from fenugreek leaves and potatoes.
This is kedgeree. It's made with rice and lentils. Apparently, it's very good for stomach ailments.
These are ever present chapatis. They appear at every meal without fail in a seemingly never ending stream. They are the rajastani equivalent of rice or potatoes. I am totally over chapatis, but I have a couple of million of them to get through yet.
I have watched women cook them in the slums. They have a clay urn filled with hot coals. Then they cook the chapatis on a concave metal dish that sits over the top. It's all done with their hands. These women have asbestos fingers.
This is fruit chard. It has banana, apple, cucumber and pomegranate. It's seasoned with pepper. This is one of my favourites. It's so, so good.
The main meal is eaten with our fingers. There is something quite satisfying about doing this. I think it adds an extra sensory dimension to the meal. I get given a spoon as a concession.
I have left out the ubiquitous cup of chai - strong white sugary milky tea. It's drunk almost constantly. I happen to hate tea. This information has generally been met with amazement and disbelief. I generally end up with a cup regardless.
So there you have it. I am busy trying to convince Pushpa to let me into her kitchen to help her cook. I would love to learn how to make some of these dishes. She cannot imagine why I would want to do this. So it's a bit of a battle. Hopefully, I will get through the door soon.