Learning to Cook. Indian Style.

DSC_0686Keith and I have liked Indian food since … well, since our trip to Africa.  Cape Town, South Africa to be exact.

Yes, I understand that one wouldn’t automatically think of Cape Town as a mecca of Indian food.  But it turns out that this one little restaurant that we stumbled into on the advice of the hotel concierge was actually one of the best Indian restaurants in the world – and that piece of information actually came from an Indian who had spent a lot of time in India.

Anyway, sometimes we attempt to cook a couple of Indian dishes at home.  But it is usually some sort of Tikki Masala.  Perhaps with some Vindaloo spices added in for good measure.  And a potato dish.  A microwave vegetable.  And pre-made Naan.

And when we go out to eat at an Indian restaurant in Chicago, we usually order some sort of variation on those exact same dishes.  So it seems like there was going to be a lot of repetition and there existed the possibility that we would be sick of Indian food long before our 18 days were up.

But then we got to the safari camps.  Where the cooks made dishes tailored to you.  We had everything.  Chicken.  Fish.  Lamb.  Okra.  Spinach.  Rice.  More chicken.  Cauliflower.  Dal.  And Naan.  OMG, the Naan.  I am in love with fresh made naan.

We had regular butter naan.  Then garlic naan.  Followed by cheese naan.  Then we combined garlic and cheese naan.  Then we added peppers and had spicy naan.  And it was fresh.  As in it just came out of the oven fresh.

Oh it was amazing.  And I don’t think I am ever going to enjoy regular, store-bought naan again.  I am spoiled for life.

At one point, the chefs began to show-off.  So we moved from Indian food to Chinese food.  And Italian food.  Who would have expected Italian food in India?  And it was amazing.

But, since we were in India, we quickly returned to the best of India dishes.  And naturally asked for cooking lessons.

Our first lesson involved the making of naan.  It’s easy.  If you have pre-made dough and a gigantic clay oven.

Then we got even fancier and had a full lesson in the kitchen.

DSC_0675

(Of course, I think I would be a better cook if I had pre-chopped, pre-measured ingredients laid out in beautiful bowls for my cooking pleasures).

DSC_0676And we ended our lessons with a cooking experience over a charcoal grill. By candlelight … er, flashlight. (See first picture).

It was all so good that I can’t even remember what it was that we made.  But we came home with recipes.  And we even made a stop at a spice store in Jodpur.  So now we can attempt to re-create the dishes at home.

If you are really lucky, I might even decide to post some of the recipes here.  But first I have to make it through all of these posts about the actual trip.

(Also, I apologize for the funky font problem.  Let me know if you know how to fix it!)

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