Learning to make dal paranthas and visiting Dilli Haat
31.12.2007 - 01.01.2008 18 °C
New Year's Eve 2007
The day started with an exciting event - learning to make Dal Paranthas, which is a whole wheat bread mixed with leftover Dal (pea soup or stew). In the morning, Bela (the mother) had everything ready to go for the lesson. The ingredients are:
1. whole wheat flour
2. leftover dal soup
1. boiled potatos
3. mustard seeds
6. chili powder
For the dough, mix the flour and dal until a moist but solid consistency is acheived. Set aside for 1/2 hour. Tear of golf-ball sized pieces, roll into a ball, then roll out onto a board. There are 2 ways of "folding" the dough. In half then 1/4 pieces (triangles). Dip lightly into reserve flour and roll out again, then cook on a roti pan with ghee. The other is folding the dough in a fan shape, then twinting into a "turban" shape, pressing it down, rolling out and cooking on the roti pan.
For the potato mixture, saute all ingredients together and season to taste.
This is DELICIOUS! And it was a wonderful experience being taught "at home".
After savoring the meal together, Ron and I decided to go to the Dilli Haat, which is a crafts market. They had a festival going on with crafts people from all around India.
The handwork here is incredible. From colorful, almost whimsical drawings/paintings - to finely detailed Mughal style miniature paintings - gold-threaded sari's - yak wool hats - rajasthani puppets - black clay ganeshas...the list continues on and on. We bought tons of things, and tried to bargain hard. But I gave up after realizing how much time goes into making some of these precious things. The bargaining becomes more "symbolic".
For anyone coming to Delhi, Dilli Haat is a perfect place to find unique gifts for anyone - and yet help support the crafts people that make them. It's a good place to bargain, but please keep in mind that the items here are hand crafted.
It was nice wandering here because they are more used to foreigners. We weren't such an oddity. The crafts people really appreciated when we purchased something and then hung around to chat and learn about their art and process. In talking, I came to recognize how beautiful their eyes are. Full of expression, whether it is joy, mischief, anger or wonder. Indians all have tremendous soul that emanates through the eyes. And this is a trait that transcends the caste/financial boundaries.
NEW YEAR'S EVE PARTY:
When we returned home, we were greeted by a feast in our room. It was absolutely the most delicious Indian meal we ever had. Chicken curry, basmati rice, dal, rotis, pickles of various kinds, salad with lime juice, cauliflower masala...and ice cream! Ron and I sat in rapt silence through the meal, savoring all the layers of flavors. Indian home cooking seems to be healthier than the restaurants. Less oil and grease, more attention to the fine details of flavor.
Bela and Pami were very kind to invite us to join them for a New Year's party at a friend's house in Noida. It was a patio barbeque. Where Ron came to save the evening by knowing how to light the fire! One thing we learned - this group of people (of which I am speaking of the men), can drink any Westerner under the table! Needless to say, there was a lot of laughing involved while trying to cook and drinking glasses toppling withh whisky or rum! I am not a drinker, but I had a nice warm-up with some whery nice Indian Rum called "Old Monk".
We finally got to meet Mansi's younger sister, Sohani. Who is also a very beautiful and warm young lady. Ron and I are deeply impressed by the Mahajan family. As e ach day goes by, we get to all know each other better. And the warm feelings continue increasing. We are blessed to have found them.
At the end of the party, I was asked to sing. I sang the Ganapati Bandana (in Sanskrit) and the Romanian blessing song "Un Pom Ramurat". Ron tells me that people were very moved. I felt very moved to be singing an Indian prayer...in India.