I rode a motorcycle for the first time today, ya’ll! I’m not gonna lie, I was a little nervous to get on the back of the cycle and ride through the streets of Hyderabad, but it was great. We didn’t go far and rode along
many side streets which made for a lot of bumps but very little traffic. Our cyclists were Ayush and Ankur. We met them at a gathering a few weeks ago and so today they invited us over for lunch at their apartment.
Lesson #1: When you are invited to lunch in India, it becomes a full day event. Good thing we didn’t have much to rush home to!
Upon arriving at their apartment complex, I was intrigued by the building process. While half the building was residential, there was still construction going on. As each room is finished, it is immediately sold even though the rest of the building. Ayush and Ankur’s place is very nice for a bachelor pad. 🙂 It was clean and crisp but as Emily commented, “It needs a woman’s touch,” aka: pictures and artwork on the walls. Haha!
Our first event of the day was frying fish! Ayush explained that fresh fish is available every Sunday (after the fisherman are out for the weekend) so they go down to the market to buy fish almost every Sunday. The fish that we had was a salt water fish. Ankur made a mixture of mustard, garlic, ginger, salt, chili powder, and turmeric which we rubbed on the fish and then fried on a hot pan. It was very delicious; mild but meaty with just a few bones.
In the meantime, Ankur had called the cook. Yes, they have a cook and a maid (I guess this is very common). Their cook comes Monday through Friday to make dinner for them and weekends if they call him. The maid comes to do their laundry and tidy up.
Well, the cook didn’t show up until around 2pm and when he walked in the door I laughed. I was totally expecting an older gentleman but the man who walked in was a young guy no older than 25. He got to work in the kitchen and I became a fly on the wall.
First he started the daal by sautéing onions, spinach, tomatoes and spices in a pot. Then he added yellow lentils, water, and shut the lid to let it boil. Later he added cilantro. It was fantastic!
In preparing the okra, he again sautéed onions and spices in oil before adding the okra. Then they cooked down until “juicy and delicious,” as I like to say 🙂
He even made fresh roti bread! The dough was simple: flour, water, and spices. He added a little turmeric and anise seeds. After forming little balls he rolled each one out on a marble circle. The rolled dough is cooked on a hot pan until firm and then held over the open flame until brown and bubbly!
Oh and dessert! Ayush asked him to make kheer, an indian rice pudding. I have only had it once at Tagore but this was 10 times better! I didn’t see the whole process but the milk and rice were cooked down until thick, flavored with cardamom. It is only slightly sweet with small pieces of golden raisin and almonds mixed in. I really enjoyed it warm.
(Cutting almonds with Ayush)
It was a perfect meal eaten picnic style on bean bag chairs 🙂
We finally got back to Tagore around 5pm. It was a long afternoon of hanging around and I was definitely ready to leave for the day, but it was great to meet locals and get off campus. I hope to keep meeting great people like Ayush and Ankur who are so hospitable and willing to share their culture!