We are on the first week of January, 2014.
That reminds me that is actually my anniversary… my 1st anniversary as a vegetarian. Exactly 1 year ago I have watched a documentary that changed my life completely. Being a vegetarian was never a new year resolution even tho it is the time of the year that people has all this new resolutions and new life changing goals. It just happened and I feel like was definitely one of the best things I have done in my life.
So in this post, lets talk about food 🙂
Now I must say I have always been quite fussy with food. My parents have 4 daughters and if you ask them where they have failed in our education, they will probably say that I am too fussy with food and they don’t know what they have done wrong.
I would like to state however that I have improved a lot through the years and I am now less fussy – being hungry helps ahahah and so does being limited.
But I still pretty much just eat clear and white food, i.e, no sauces – and yes not even catchup or mayo – actually hate both. I like it simple and raw. Grilled stuff is perfect as its raw vegetables (if you are in a place where you can trust the water). And I can do without salt and pepper too… that reminds me to tell you that as you might be guessing I am boring with food and don’t even like spicy food, and I am afraid its true.
Now lets talk about India!
2 words: HEAVEN & HELL
Heaven because it is indeed heaven to vegetarians. So easy to find vegetarian food, actually it is hard to find places with meat as a big part of the population is vegetarian so wherever you go you will have a menu with a huge vegetarian section and theres plenty of variety.
Hell because everything is spicy, and I mean really spicy, to the point that the “mildest” thing will make me feel like a dragon as every time I open my mouth I feel like there’s fire coming out.
Now funny thing is, as you can imagine, I was never a fan of Indian food, and just while living in London I started trying those spicy dishes and as spice as it was (for me) I was very limited with my choices and my taste pads. So before I was vegetarian I would only eat Chicken Korma and Pashwari Naan (if you don’t know what it is, is basically the best bread in the world made with refined flour, topped with almonds and grated with coconut and sesame seeds).
Once I became vegetarian, the only thing I would have would be the Mango curry and the delicious Pashwari Naan.
So when people started asking me how I would survive in India not being an Indian food lover or Indian food fan at all I would always answer: “easy, I will just eat Mango Curry and Pashwari Naan, and sometimes I will try something else non spicy and hopefully enlarge my options when it comes to my food selection in India”
Now for any of you that have been in India or know real Indian cuisine, you might be laughing as you know there’s no such thing as Mango Curry and Pashwari Naan in India…. yeah, apparently its all “English fake Indian food”!!!! In 2 months in India there was not even one place with Pashwari Naan (or any Indian that actually knew what was that) and as for the Mango curry just fount it once, in Cochin and was not even that good….
Anyway, it’s not all bad because I did found a lot of dishes and tried new flavours that I actually miss. And I am also proud to say that I can handle a tiny tiny bit of spicy, not a fan, but at least I can swallow the food (That is what happens when you starving and you cannot embrace the idea of eating one more banana after being the only food you have been eating for a while…).
A funny thing I must say tho, is that the concept of vegetarian in India is different from ours. For them a vegetarian cannot eat eggs, so I would find some food saying it was not vegetarian, like a fruit cake and I would be wondering why would they put meat or fish on a fruit tart… to then realise was because there was egg on it.
But during the 2 months, we did need a break of Indian food once in a while and gladly we would find many places that would serve “continental food” or Chinese (actually pretty much everywhere in India you can find Chinese food) and was great to be able to rotate and eat something that wasn’t curry. Oh and you can easily find fruit. My favourite new fruit, which sadly I have only found in India so far is Custard apple. It’s so delicious, but prepare to get dirty when you eat it… it goes everywhere, but I didn’t care….
I am also proud to say that I have “learned” how to cook some delicious Indian stuff, yeah I know…. at least I think I kinda know how to do it… well, in last case I have the recipes now just need the right ingredients.
I had 2 different cooking classes, one in Orchha with the lovely Vandana Dubey, a beautiful lady with an amazing ability to cook food that you will want to repeat and repeat & repeat. And another in Udaipur in a small shop called Spice Box, the teacher/chef is called Shakti Singh and he is a sort of cuisine celebrity in Udaipur. Both experiences were lovely and I strongly recommend you to attend the classes if you happen to be in any of the cities 🙂
You know what, ohhh this post is making me hungry…
Well, I better go and try to find some food (not easy as I’m in Malaysia and here being vegetarian is like being an alien.. but that I will save for another post. 😉 )
Enjoy your food