Sunday, January 27, 2013

An Afternoon in Dehli

Our cooking list for the day
One of my favorite parts of living overseas is all of the different cultures you cross paths with. Especially on our small island where the community of teachers and engineers is exceptionally dense and diverse, bringing people from all corners of the world. I feel like I have now experienced the true meaning of a 'melting pot'. In just our church alone, which consists of about fifty people, we represent nine countries and speak 13 different languages. It is here that I have had the privilege of getting to know two Indian families that decided to invite myself and some other girl friends into their home and teach us how to cook some authentic Indian dishes.
Rolling the chapati

The first dish that we made was chapatti, or also known as roti. When you are eating curry, this bread is used as a sort of utensil to grab and pick up food since instead of using silverware, hands are traditionally used.  

Chapatti / Roti 
(This will make approximately 6 rolls)

What you need:
.1 c. wheat flour
.1 tsp. salt
.½ c. water boiling water

What you do:
.Mix dry ingredients together and then add the boiling hot water. Mix together with a spoon until it  cools. Then use your hands to knead it. If it is sticky add 1 T of flour to dry it out a bit.
.{Optional} Take 1 tsp canola oil and add it to the mixture and knead it back in.
.Cover the dough with another bowl and let the dough rest for 30 minutes.
.Rolling – lightly flour the chapatti before rolling. Roll and turn the chapatti. Repeat this process until the chapatti is a nice circle with no bulges or bumps.
.Cook the chapatti in a non-stick pan. When the chapatti bubbles flip it over. Repeat this process until the chapatti is golden brown.
.You can refrigerate the dough for 4-5 days if needed. When rolling the refrigerated dough be sure to roll it in the flour to remove any excess moisture. 

Fresh ingredients and spices used

I was amazed at how absolutely nothing went to waste. When I cook I am extremely guilty of this. A little flour left in the bowl? Trash. Water from boiling a vegetable? Down the drain. I more so focus on a clean work space (guilty neat freak right here) rather that on keeping all excess cooking materials and preserving all nutrients from the food. For example, they boiled the spinach in water and instead of dumping that water down the drain, they used it in other recipes that called for water. Therefore, getting every last ounce of nutrients and use out of the ingredients. Here are some more tips we collected throughout the day:

.Every time you cook onion, add salt. It breaks down the onion and brings the juices out and therefore makes it tastier.
.If you cut the chili pepper ‘open’ style it will be spicier. If you cut it in circles it will be less spicy (good to know since I like the taste of peppers but am a wimp when it comes to spice) 

Making tandoori chicken

Vegetable rice
The finished products! Clockwise from top left: Basic Indian Chicken Curry, Palaak Paneer, Vegetable Rice, Tandoori Chicken
Our wonderful hosts and cooking teachers

We ended the day with a sweet yogurt drink that was to die for! It's the perfect sweet ending to a meal that can be adjusted in so many ways by just adding different fruit concentrate. 

(makes drinks for two)

What you need:

.½ tsp. Cardamom (open the cardamom, take out the seeds and grind it)
.½ c. water
.1 cup yogurt
.¼ c. sugar
.6 ice cubes

What you do:
.put everything together in a blender, mix and serve!

This day went straight to my list of favorite experiences of Korea. I can't wait to cook these dishes again and again for family and friends in the future. Anyone up for a dinner party?

Linking up with Brooke and Molly