Remember Taranjeet and Raman who took Emily and I out to dinner a few weeks ago (As recorded in this blog)?
Today I joined them at their home for what I thought was going to be a simple morning of breakfast and a tour of their home. But India does not disappoint, the day turned out to be more wonderful than I imagined!
Upon arriving at their humble abode, I was immediately ushered into the kitchen to meet their cook, Bahadhur. I pulled up a stool and sipped a cup of chai as I watched him prepare the filling for gobi paratha (cauliflower stuffed bread).
First he grated a raw head of cauliflower and then squeezed out all of the juices. If there is too much moisture, the bread will get soggy. To the cauliflower he added finely minced onions, garlic, and chopped cilantro. Next we began rolling out the dough. Raman was quick take my camera and get my hands working! Bahandhur showed me the right technique:
- Roll out a lime-sized ball of dough just slightly.
- Put the gobi mixture in the middle of the round of dough
- Cup the edges and press sides together (so it looks like a momo dumpling!)
- Pat it down.
- Roll the stuffed dough into a 6in circle
Now the paratha is ready for the a hot pan. Brown each side so that small spots form, then spread ghee on each side, and cook until even more brown and delicious!
Our warm parathas were brought outside for a picnic breakfast under the shade of flowering trees. Tarangeet immediately scooped a huge lump of ghee onto my paratha and we dug in with our fingers! Oh my- were they amazing. The addition of cilantro in the filling was heavenly. They are also delicious along with curd and mint/cilantro chutney! We also dined on fresh papaya (from their own trees) and more chai infused with cardamom.
With full bellies, Tarangeet and Raman gave me a tour of their house and the campus in which they live on.
As I mentioned before, Raman is the principle of a Public School here in Hyderabad so their home is on the campus. They have a good sized three bedroom flat furnished with beautiful Rajesthani carved furniture from back home. But it was their yard that took my breath away. Their property is covered in fruit trees, flowers, and a small garden! Just to name a few:
Lemons waiting to ripen
Can you see the papaya’s hanging from the tree? Ya, we ate those for breakfast 🙂
So just for clarification. The term “Public School” in India is really a private school according to American terminology. The true public schools here are called Government Schools.
Raman informed me that 1,700 students grades 1-12 attend the school on a daily basis and about 150 boys actually live on the campus. They gave me a tour of the campus and I was quite impressed. First of all, it is probably the cleanest campus I have seen in India. There is virtually no garbage and flowers and trees are abundant!
Here is building for the upper classes:
A basic classroom (equipped with a smartboard projector):
Cricket field! The school also had basketball courts, a futball field, and they are building tennis courts.
Raman’s office as Principle:
But my favorite part was seeing the kitchen that prepares the food for the mess hall on campus! Check this out:
Vats used to steam milk and rice.
A HUGE ladle!
Stovetop burners as large as a car tire!
Ginormous pots and pans
The chef who runs it all!
And here is the mess hall which seats 700 students at a time!
We returned back to their house for more chai and conversation. I was able to learn a little more about their family and their religion, Sikkism. Though my stomach was still full from breakfast, I soon found myself back in the kitchen preparing lunch. On the menu: aloo curry (potato curry), chana masala (chickpea marsala) and puri (fried puffy bread).
Bahadhar started with the potato curry. He started with oil and coarsely chopped onion and green chile in a pan. To that he added spices: cumin seed, turmeric, chili powder, and ground coriander. Then the potatoes were added (which had already been cubed and boiled until tender). Garam masala was added along with salt and fresh cilantro leaves.
The chana was started similarly- hot oil with finely chopped onion and green chili. Add the same spices along with cinnamon bark and a few scoops of ginger garlic paste. Then the chickpeas are added (which have been soak and pressure cooked until tender) along with water to create a stew. Simmer until delicious!
Finally, I found myself rolling more dough for the puris. The dough is the same as a roti. The difference is instead of cooking it on a pan, you fry it in oil so it puffs up!
Another feast fit for kings! Indian families do not let you go hungry. Despite turning down second portions, they always seem to end up on your plate anyway. 🙂
I was so grateful of Bahadhar- I later found out that Sunday is usually his day off but they asked him to come in to show me how to cooked! He didn’t speak much English but we were still able to interact as he was so willing to show me his techniques!
How am I so lucky to have met such amazing people who are so willing to share their culture?!
All my thanks to you, Taranjeet and Raman! I look forward to more conversation and cooking!