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Saturday 27 March 2010

India Part 3: Food for my soul

I decided to save the best for last with one of my favourite things to do whenever & wherever I go travelling! Going back to India after soo many years, food was definitely on my mind! This was one thing I missed the most about India besides my family. I know that Indian food is one of the most popular cuisines in the UK and probably the world but Indian food in India can be very different from what is available in the western world. For me it was more so because I was missing my mom's home cooked food. I think during my two week holiday I managed to cover a lot that I had missed over the last few years...

Delhi: A food trip

So starting from the top left:  I loved these delicate & creamy kebabs that I tried at the Avadh Food Festival (food from the state of Rajasthan) at The Park Hotel, New Delhi. The kebabs from the north of India aren't very hot but are marinated with various spices for a long time and then charcoal grilled.

Home cooked Dal (lentils curry) & Saag Paneer (spinach & cottage cheese) made by my mom.

And an extremely sinfully fattening  but oh! so tastystreet snack called Bathura Chole - A deep fried stuffed bread served with a spicy chickpea curry.

Home cooked food

Charcoal roasted Sweet Potato

Charcoal Roasted Sweet Potatoes called Shakarkandi is a very popular street snack in north India available  during the winter months. It is served as a warm salad with a bit of lime and some chat masala (a mixed spice mix that is very easily available in any Indian store & usually used in salads)

Delhi: A food trip

This is another very popular street snack called Chaat Papri. It's a yogurt based snack served with spicy mint & coriander and sweet tamarind chutneys. (In India, yogurt is mostly used as a savoury base and used either in savoury snacks & salads or served with the main meal as a side)

Delhi: A food trip

But my absolute favourite dish and the one that I miss the most in London (just cause I am too lazy to cook it myself) is ParathaParathas are flat breads made with wheat flour, ghee (clarified butter) and are usually stuffed with potatoes, chillies, onions, minced lamb, grated cauliflower, peas. They are one of the most flexible breads and can get very innovative. I remember I had a fun dinner night with my housemates here in London once where I made parathas for them and my Italian friend C made her own paratha stuffed with Parmesan cheese!

I had such a good time in India and can feel a connection again which of course is different from what it was when I lived there. I can't wait to go back and do some more travelling and discover some more about this fascinating country I used to call Home.

Thursday 18 March 2010

India Part 2: Dastkar Crafts Fair 2010

I wrote part of this post a few weeks back but I've been a lil unwell and so have a lot of back-log piling up from my trip to India.

While in New Delhi I managed to visit Dastkar Crafts festival. In fact I ended up going only on the last day! Dastkar is a yearly event that celebrates and showcases gorgeous handmade and artisan products from all over India. I loved every minute of it... I didn't go overboard and buy loads but did take a million pictures.

The God heads

Holy Feet

Dastkar Crafts Fair 2010
Jewellery made with thread & recycle paper and newspaper

Dastkar Crafts Fair 2010
Rajasthani puppets & blockprinted sketchbooks using Indian handmade paper

Dastkar Crafts Fair 2010
Hand crafted kites!

Dastkar Crafts Fair 2010

Dastkar Crafts Fair 2010

Dastkar Crafts Fair 2010
Mithila paintings Mithila region of Bihar state and the lady using the same traditional illustration style painting a sari.

Dastkar Crafts Fair 2010
My favourite ofcourse was the pottery from the state of Rajasthan

Crafts in India is still a very much a 'traditional handed down over generations' affair. Each technique is preserved with family history and each state and region specialises in a specific trade. Ofcourse a lot of effort is being made to keep these traditional crafts alive with NGOs and Fair Trade organisations but I still feel these artisans are totally under-valued and under-paid. How I wish I could spend time learning some of these traditional methords & technique.

Monday 8 March 2010

India Part 1: Patterns patterns patterns

My trip to India was very interesting. I hadn't visited the place for 3.5 years. When I first left almost 5 years I was quite disillusioned by the country and just couldn't fit in or identify myself as an Indian. After staying in the UK for a while I think I have a greater appreciation for the place. I feel very proud of it now, the culture, the heritage, the values it's given me. I don't think I would be able to go back and live there anymore but this time when I did go, I could see beauty in things I would have totally dismissed when I was living there.

Taking the bananas for a walk

Colours tied together

Pineapples for sale

Seeds of Life


The lady with the bangles

A mountain of food

Fabrics anyone?
I guess discovering photography as my expression helps me narrate my experiences. Here is India (more like New Delhi) through my eyes...
I'm obsessed with patterns! Anything that is repeated or tiles instantly attracts me. And I finally realised where my obsession came from. I could see pattern everywhere I went... art, architecture, textiles, food, clothes, on the street. I particularly loved taking pictures of street sellers with their neatly stacked-up objects. You could see they are really proud of their products with the amount of effort they take in displaying and make them look so beautiful!
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