Cooking Lesson in
an Indian Home...
Home-cooked Indian meal.
August 12, 2006
When I was talking to Feroz, it came up that I was looking forward to doing a cooking class in Rajasthan. At this point, his ears
perked up a bit. He asked if I would like to be shown how to cook some Indian food by one of the best cooks he knew – his wife.
How could I resist this offer?
The idea of then spending the night in his family’s home was then offered. Hmmm… Passing up the opportunity to stay in my
current hotel room in Delhi? I think I could manage to part ways.
I checked out of my hotel and we all headed to his home in the Lagbad Nagar area of Delhi. This is where I would meet his wife,
Shazia, and their two sons. His sister and her daughter were also in Delhi visiting. The full family affair.
Upon coming in, I was sent directly to the kitchen to learn some Indian culinary skills. We were going to be making masala
chicken. I am going to write down exactly how we did this…mostly so that I don’t forget anything (Shazia is sitting next to me
right now so this way I am assured to not forget anything).
Cooking Lesson: Masala Chicken
- Put oil into a pan. Add pieces of chicken and let it cook for five minutes or so. (Go back into main room and chat with
family while waiting.)
- Go back to the chicken. Stir it around. Add some salt. Also add chopped red onions and tomato pieces. The add Indian
spices like chili powder, tumeric powder, garlic, a pink of red/orange color and chicken masala spice. Also add some
vinegar. Mix it all up and let it cook for five minutes or so.
- Final result: Masala Chicken. Yes folks, it really was as easy as that.
Before that, Shazia had already made rice, channa (a dish with chickpeas), a lamb dish, some yogurt and some potatoes. The
feast was ready to be served.
Dining areas here consist of a floor. A cloth was laid out and the food was set down. Water was poured over our hands with a
silver pitcher over a silver mini-basin. I ate using a fork though everybody else used their hands. I take that back. They used
their hand. Their right hand. I am not sure how it is done in the Hindu culture as Feroz’s family is Muslim. Nothing is done with
the left hand in the Muslim culture. Well, one thing is and for that reason, handshakes, eating, etc. is always done with the right
hand. It was so interesting to watch them eat. Let it be said that I did attempt to eat with my hand. But it is much harder than
it looks. They use their hand to mix the sauces into the rice and then form it into a little ball and pop it into their mouths. Once
again, this was almost an art form.
After dinner the kids played around the house and even busted out some Indian dance moves. Feroz came out with some cut-
up apples. Though I said that I was not going to be eating fruit while I was out here, I apparently could not even commit to this
plan for a full day.
While I was here, it was a good chance to get caught up on emails and journaling. Journaling was something that I was not able
to do at my hotel as there was no electrical outlet in the room. I was now seeing it as a treat that I even get to open laptop and
Feroz and his family could not have been more hospitable. I felt so at home that I realized when brushing my teeth that I used
the tap water (even though I brought my bottle of water in the bathroom with me). I immediately spit it out and continued
with the bottled stuff. Being in India means needing to break habits that are so engrained into you that you tend to forget
about them. I guess it will just take time.
In the meantime, I was just served some chai and chapati. Now it is time for me to pack and head on out into the other parts of
Feroz and his niece.