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  • Sandra Cesca

My Indian Family Dinner

My Indian family dinner in Udiapur, India.

While I was in India, I had the pleasure of sharing a typical Indian dinner with my guide and his family. They live in Udiapur in a modest home…wife, mother, two children, and my guide. I am sorry to say I did not write down their names as the language is difficult and I am terrible at remembering names. Nonetheless, I do remember the dinner which I observed in the making from beginning to end.

There are dozens of spices and herbs used in Indian cuisine. Every household kitchen has their own collection called a masala which is kept in a storage box of usually seven cups called a masaladabbi. My guide’s wife had such a container which included: mustard, cumin, chili, fenugreek, coriander, cinnamon and ginger.

Ghee, or clarified butter, is also a daily staple along with garlic, cloves, bay leaf, neem leaf, mint, sesame seed, nutmeg, basil, tamarind, and turmeric. Indian curry is any sauce made from several herbs as a gravy except in southern India where the curry leaf is used in making curry. I watched as his wife expertly added a pinch of many from her masaladabbi to the pots which already contained meat, potatoes and cauliflower in a sauce.

Chapattis made from kneaded unleavened dough rounds were then placed first on a flat pan then directly onto the stove flames until they puffed up. These we ate hot dipped into the meat dishes or bowls of lentils. Chai accompanied the meal.

Except for his mother, everyone spoke English so our conversations were lively. The kids especially were curious about me and asked many questions. His wife was working on her masters in education but was still expected to be home to cook the normal three meals a day. Her mother-in-law would sometimes help. To supplement my guide’s income, they offer cooking classes in their home.

An interesting part of our conversation for me was about the Indian sari. Watch for a future story of what I learned about this most beautiful of Indian women’s clothing. To see other stories from my travels go here.

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