The Spice Box...
Ready to eat our creations.
The Indian spice box.
August 19, 2006

I already have a vision for when I come home…

An Indian-inspired dinner party. There will be a Bollywood movie playing in the background. The sounds will come from my
Bollywood soundtrack that I bought. There will be lots of bright, bold colors all around. The runner on the dining room table
will be a sari. And, of course, lots of Indian food. No…not take-out. Food all made by yours truly.

As everybody enters, they will receive a small cup of chai tea. After all, an Indian-style party would not be complete without

There will then be a buffet just so that everybody can eat what is most suitable for them. There will be options of two different
curries to choose from. Some dishes will be vegetarian; some will not. I will make kofta with various fillings and sauces. Instead
of bread, chapatti will be served. And of course we can’t forget about a couple biryani (i.e. rice) dishes and some veggies with
Indian spices.  

There will be also be a nice aniseed/sugar mixture to freshen the breath after the meal is over.

How does this sound??? Of course I first will need to get a job and then will need to get a home. But after those small details,
the dinner party is on!

Shakti’s cooking class today in Udaipur has given me the confidence to pull off such a feat. Not only that…the recipes were oh-
so-delicious! The chefs-in-training were Maarge (from the Netherlands), Michael (from Connecticut) and me. I think it is safe
to say that we not only learned
how to cook these things, but we also learned a thing or two about basic Indian cooking
principles. Here are a few:

  • The term ‘masala’ is just another word for ‘a mixture of spices’.

  • Green cardamom (and anise) are used for a milk-based curry while black cardamom (and cumin) are used for tomato-
    based curries.

  • When doubling a recipe, you do not double the spices.

  • We learned the basic spices that go into an Indian ‘spice box’ are brown cumin, fennel (anise) seeds, brown mustard
    seeds, turmeric powder, coriander seeds powder, red chili powder and fenugreek seeds.

All in all, it was a great time. It was made even
better due to the fact that it was pouring rain outside for the entire time and we
got to be indoors during that time.

We all had a great time learning and eating. I even realized when I was there that I have never actually taken a cooking class
before (which is almost unheard of for me). I have always intended to (I even have gift cards for a couple different cooking
schools at home that have yet to be used). I can’t wait to do more of these…both on the road (in Thailand, etc.) and then when
I get home.
Back to India.
(Pseudo) chef at work.