One of the things I have been most looking forward to on this trip is the chance to sample Indian food the Indian way.
So far I have mostly experienced local food through Usha’s wonderful cooking. I have had many old favourites… Poppadoms, Dosas and Daal, but I have also sampled less familiar things like Iddly, Sambal and Rasam.
There are differences that you notice straight away. Back home, Indian food has a reputation for being a bit lardy. Over here, not much fat is used in cooking. In fact, the lardiest thing is the ghee (clarified butter), which you can add once the food is served to season it or make the food less hot.
Apparently, Indians are starting to go on a bit of a health drive. Coconut milk, for example, is going out of fashion because of it raises people’s cholesterol. As a result, some people add cows’ milk to chicken kormas as a substitute for coconut milk.
Despite this, I still have visions of coming back to the UK a few pounds heavier. They really like to go large here and portions are big as a result. Then there are the obligatory seconds and thirds…
The way food is eaten here is a bit different to how you would eat Indian take aways back home. You get a number of different dishes – a bit like thalis. If you get dhal or sambal you usually mix it in with the rice. You also eat with your fingers – though I haven’t managed to master this technique yet!
I’ve been a bit careful so far about what I eat – they say that for the first ten days you are most susceptible to digestive problems. Once that’s up, I will probably get a bit more adventurous and start eating in restaurants. In the meantime, I’ll just enjoy Usha’s cooking.