Slumming It


Since I will have over lapping classes in July and August will be too late, I have been diligently revising and planning my trip to India. I love slumming it a bit when I travel, it makes every thing more interesting. I have made a few revisions to my itinerary and found a  few dishes I hope to learn while I am there.

First stop – Varanasi. I have decided to stay at the Ganpati Guest House. My friend laughed and asked me if I was looking for enlightenment. Doesn’t most travel enlighten us? I picked it because it got good food reviews. Whether it’s amazing and delicious or if I get violently ill, either way, I’m sure the food will be an enlightening experience.

As I have been trying to arrange transportation to Varanasi I have found that it is easy to get there, but there are only three practical ways out – Kathmandu, Delhi or death. Luckily for me, after digging around for sensible routes, I found that there is an overnight train to Jaipur.

Second Stop – Jaipur. Although I had not originally planned to go here, logistically  it makes sense. So, I thought what the hell. I’ve decided to stay here, at the Hotel Pearl Palace – oh so kitsch. I picked it for the same reasons as the one in Varanasi, good reviews, good location, good recommendations for food.

Excitingly, they offer cooking classes. For those of you unfamiliar with Indian cuisine, North India food, such as in Jaipur, is not too spicy compared with Southern Indian food. Oh yes, I hear the architecture and history is amazing too.

Third Stop – Chennai. Apparently shopping, drinking and a hen party at Marina Beach is the itinerary for Chennai. I’m really here for the wedding so what every S wants to do is what I’m going to do. I am hoping however that Mrs. R will be up for letting me in to her kitchen to learn a few things.

Fourth Stop – Delhi. JJ told me once that Delhi is the city that broke him. Whatever that means. I think Delhi might be the city that left me with 10 more pounds.

Fifth Stop – Agra. Touristy, I know, but not going there seems a bit like going to France and not seeing the Eiffel tower. It’s the first thing people will ask about when I get back, I’m sure.

Here is where those well earned extra ten pounds come from – Paneer:

Aloo Paneer Chat

2 1/2 cups paneer , cut into 25 mm. (1”) cubes
2 cups baby potatoes , boiled , peeled and cut into halves
1 tsp oil
1 tbsp finely chopped green chillies
1 tsp ginger-garlic (adrak-lehsun) paste
1/2 cup boiled green peas
2 tbsp chaat masala
1 tsp lemon juice
salt to taste
oil for deep-frying

Method

  1. Heat the oil in a kadhai and deep-fry the paneer and potatoes separately in small batches, till they turn golden brown in colour from all sides. Drain on absorbent paper and keep aside.
  2. Heat 1 tsp of oil in another kadhai, add the green chillies and ginger-garlic paste, mix well and sauté on a medium flame for a few seconds.
  3. Add the green peas, paneer, potatoes, chaat masala, lemon juice, and salt, toss well and cook on a medium flame for another 2 minutes. Serve immediately garnished with coriander.
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