I was in Lucknow, India two weeks back - visiting my grandparents and relatives. Being the eldest grandchild on my maternal side I am always pampered, doted upon and ridiculously spoilt every time I visit (Not that I’m complaining). It’s always a welcome change to be in India - to meet aunts and uncles and cousins and eat all kinds of local awesomeness!!! Makes you forget the skyscrapers and malls for a while. And this is big coming from me.
Anyone who knows me, knows that I’m a complete Foodie!!
I love everything about food, making it, eating it - Everything!! And as gracious as the Lord is, my Nani (Mom’s Mom) happens to be the most awesome cook ever! The minute I landed, I told her all that she had to cook and without fail everyday, Nani would whip up magical treats for me. I ate so much, I feel embarrassed to tell you (Seriously!)
My cousin shared this picture by a FB group called Typing what you really say, then deleting it. This totally applies to me :D
Ten minutes after Amma and I reached Nani’s from the Airport, we heard the Makhan Malai guy screaming on the roadside. (Makhan Malai is a local variant of ice cream, saffron flavoured, made by hanging unsalted butter overnight in dew and then aerating it by beating it).
All I had to do was give Nani my bambi-eyed look and the next thing I knew, Nani was down there with a tray in her hand, getting Makhan Malai for the entire family. It tasted like clouds. Light and fluffy and perfectly sweet, not too sweet but sweet. The guys served it in bowls made of dried leaves and it’s only made, set and sold in the winter season. I sure was travelling in the right season :D
Next on my list was Kathal ke Pakodey (Savory Jackfruit Fritters) - OMG. Nani made them everyday for afternoon tea. They were divine and I had them with spicy mint chutney! Nani would parboil the jackfruit and then coat it in a batter made of gram flour and spices and deep fry them. Sigh!
I love all dairy products and in Lucknow, we have these milk shops, where the milk-man sits and sells fresh Balaai (cream), curd, paneer (cottage cheese) etc. Now we don’t get Balaai here in Dubai. Of course, the supermarkets sell packaged cream and Al Ain Dairy does offer breakfast cream but nothing can be compared to the richness of Balaai. So knowing all this, my uncle (Mom’s brother) would get me 200 grams of Balaai every single day in the evening! And I used to gobble it all down within minutes. I would save some to put in my tea later too!! I just love Balaai so much! I did take a photo - I had sprinkled some sugar on top. The photo does no justice to the deliciousness of Balaai but as I mentioned, I had no patience to pause and take a proper photograph.
Heading to Lucknow and not having Royal Cafe’s over-hyped Basket Chaat. Nah! Not a chance. The basket chaat is the coming together of all the various kinds of street food in one big basket made of fried shredded potatoes. It’s not all that great but its interesting to see how everything piles up. It’s quite huge in portion and so needs to be shared by a party of at least two. I am not too fond of it but it makes for a good photo :p
I have always believed that breakfast is very important and hence what better way to end the India trip that go out for a breakfast cooked using Shudh Desi Ghee (Pure Clarified Butter). We headed to Netram’s. I don’t know if I should call it a dhaaba or a cafe because it’s neither of the too. It’s just always been referred to as Netram’s.
We had hot right-off-the-stove Kachori cum Puri (deep fried Indian bread). They were stuffed with dry dal (lentils) and served with various cooked vegetables, curd and a mango chutney. Love Love Love!!!
The highlight at Netram’s was the Jalebi and Curd combo at the end! *Swoon* Jalebis are made by deep-frying the batter in pretzel or circular shapes and then soaked in sugar syrup. They are served slightly hot while they are still crisp. I have always had a sweet tooth and to eat hot jalebis with cold curd - Heavenly!!!
It would only be fair if I end the blog with a photo of my Nani. Can you see what I meant by eating too much in India? I look nothing short of a Baby Elephant *facepalm*. And Nani did this to me *points to Nani*. I’m not huge but somehow India makes me feel/look weird. But no regrets. I detox-ed once I got back home. Lived a week on fruits and vegetables to make my conscience feel a bit better about binge eating in India.
So enlighten me,
Are you a foodie like me?
Is your Nani an awesome cook too?
Do you have a sweet tooth like me?
Till we meet again next week,
And Bon Appetit!