One of my favourite photos…taken from our car before entry to Amber Fort near Jaipur

For a change I’ll start (rather than end) with some recipes as we’re at home in Canberra and plan on cooking up some Indian dishes tonight.

Here’s a new favourite Indian recipe for us from “Anjum’s Quick & Easy Indian”:

We borrowed the above book and the next…”Marsala – Indian Cooking for Modern Living” (by Malik’s Basu 2018 Bloomsbury Publishing UK) from the Kingston Library in Canberra.

CUMIN AND TURMERIC SPICED NUTS…MASALA BADAM

Serves 2 – 4

2 tbsp coconut oil; 400 g mixed nuts; 1 tsp turmeric; 1 tsp chilli powder; 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper; 1 tsp ground cumin; 1.5 tsp salt

Warm oil in a wok over a medium-high heat. When it’s hot, tip in the nuts and then sprinkle all the spices on top. Stir well for 2-3 minutes until the spices are sizzling, then take the wok off the heat and sprinkle over the salt.

Leave the nuts to cool down, giving the wok a good shake a couple of times to get the spicy mixture to coat them evenly. You can eat the nuts as soon as they’re cool enough, or store in an airtight container for up to a week…yum!!

Another recipe from this book at end of post…Mango Yoghurt

Over the last week, I’ve been browsing through Indian cookbooks plus reading the memoir Sideways on a Scooter – Life and Love in India by Miranda Kennedy (front cover pic below)…highly recommended! Miranda was (still is?) a foreign correspondent who has written for the Washington Post; Boston Globe and many other publications.

We own the Indian Family Kitchen; borrowed “Sideways on a Scooter” from library

OUR GUIDES IN INDIA AND SRI LANKA (a previous post if interested):

Our guide, Pratima in Delhi…

Food plays a huge part in the lives of the Indian people, both rich and poor as well as “what appears to be emerging middle income earners” (perhaps wishful thinking on our guide’s part?). Our guide, Pratima, in Delhi described herself as one of those middle income earners but the steadiness of work was dependent on so many variables; consequently, she said she’s never complacent about her work plus saves for a rainy day…a wise woman! Here’s a photo of Pratima – another of my favourite photos…

Our guide in Delhi…we used an auto tuk tuk with her sometimes; other times a car

Our guide, Faiz, in Agra was excellent (photo below)…he showed us around the Taj Mahal complex (see previous posts if interested) and took lots of photos of us too – it was like having a personal photographer!

At the Taj Mahal complex with our guide, Faiz…he was great!
Taj Mahal complex…a wonderful day! More Taj pics in previous posts if interested.
Security in India was a lot more noticeable compared to Sri Lanka

Our guide in Sri Lanka, Anura, showing us around the fort in Galle

On same journey…our guide Anura in Sri Lanka…

While I’m reflecting on guides + ups and downs of life…the above photo was taken in Sri Lanka with our lovely guide, Anura…where we spent 2+ weeks after India trip. Terribly sad thing is that the terrorist attack in Colombo occurred only weeks after our return home. I’ve been trying to contact Anura but at this stage we haven’t heard if he and his family are safe. He often visited Colombo hotels in the morning to pick up guests…around the time of the bombings. The hotel we stayed at in Colombo (the historic Galle Face hotel) was near the other hotels which were attacked but Galle Face wasn’t…maybe because it was spread out/low rise? Who knows what goes through the minds of these terrorists…like most people, we were so shocked and saddened by such horrific and senseless/evil acts.

On a brighter note…a few more favourite photos – this time in and around Agra…

Cows (being sacred in India) are everywhere!
Seatbelts are rarely seen, although some very modern tuk tuks have them!
We often saw scenes like this particularly in/around Jaipur…mostly nuts/grains

In all 3 cities we visited we saw cows like this walking the streets…sometimes with colourful ties around their necks. We forgot to ask our guides if that indicated ownership?

A food/music festival was being set up in Agra…an interesting stroll around
Beginnings of Food festival in Agra

From Agra we travelled onto Jaipur…(see previous post if interested)

The perfect morning out for me anywhere is one that includes a walk in the warm sunshine – even better when there’s a beautiful garden to admire like this one near Jaipur at the Amber Fort…

The gardeners in their yellow saris added to the colour and beauty of the garden
We visited a few galleries while in India – the hotels, especially in the lobbies, had some beautiful artwork reflecting the northern culture, sometimes with Arabic influences…
Even strolling around the foyer of the Oberoi Hotel in Delhi was a feast for the eyes with stunning artwork
Many of the modern pieces of artwork reflected the Arabic history of India (as in the photo above) although nothing modern is quite as awe inspiring as the art that can be seen on many ancient ruins such as these in Delhi…
Our visit to Qutub Minar…see previous post if interested in more history

Also modern art – this hotel lobby screen/divider was fascinating…

At the Oberoi in Jaipur (the “pink city”), again the Arabic influence on the architecture, both historic and modern, was evident everywhere. We loved the architectural design of this hotel and every room (more like a cottage), had a bathroom and small garden space. We awoke one morning to a very beautiful visitor peering into our shower!…

The Indian peafowl (we call it Peacock in Australia) or blue peafowl, is a large and brightly coloured bird – it is a species of peafowl native to the Indian subcontinent

The colours in the late evening light were so vibrant
Peacock feather
Watching the block printing process in Jaipur…we bought a tablecloth
We also bought block printed place mats from this textiles workshop/store

We didn’t buy a carpet!…out of our budget…good idea to know more about them as well we thought!

I’m reading a 2018 Lonely Planet magazine (also borrowed from public library)…they note these “top sights” to visit in Delhi – Red Fort; Akshardham Temple; Humayun’s Tomb; Jama Masjid; National Museum. I’d also add the Qutub Minar + a walk through Old Delhi…we walked through “the wedding street” (see this post/previous post if interested); Lodi gardens and also India Gate and the Parliamentary buildings nearby…

Parliamentary buildings – love how Indian people dress in beautiful/colourful clothes to visit special places
India Gate…National Memorial in honour of WWI soldiers
While at India Gate a protest group arrived – we quickly moved away!

While we were at India Gate memorial, a nationalistic protest group arrived because of the Pakistan terrorist attack on the Indian military where 40 were killed. The attack occurred near the Pakistan/Indian border and was regularly reported on TV – over our 5 nights in Delhi we had complimentary drinks at the hotel bar and each night we saw the main news focus was these attacks. Concerning as media was demanding a “payback” by the Indian Government.

HUMAYUN’S TOMB AND GARDENS (photo below)

Built in 1570, it was the first garden tomb on the Indian subcontinent. It inspired several major architectural innovations, culminating in the construction of the Taj Mahal (in Agra) and many other Mughal architecture and garden complexes in India.

Humayun’s Tomb
Tony with Pratima at Humayun’s Tomb
A walk through Lodi Gardens – with hundreds of school girls!

“Wedding Street”…Old Delhi…

And to finish with food…street food in Old Delhi…

Tony now has dinner ready!…the Crispy Fish recipe at start of post. Until next time…happy travels whether around your home or further afield! But…

One last recipe…well a recipe adaption of mine…

From the book noted above “Masala”

Mango Yoghurt P198…I use fresh mango pulp in summer (canned in winter)

ingredients for 4 include:

400 gm natural yoghurt; 450 g mango pulp; 5 green cardamom pods (lightly bash & use as infusion in milk along with saffron); 1 tbsp whole milk; 1/2 teaspoon saffron threads; 2 tbsp icing sugar (I skip that as too sweet we think!); pistachios or almonds to serve.

The method:

Is quite detailed and includes straining the yoghurt to make it very thick; however, my version is basically just mixing the above ingredients together. I use the thickest yoghurt possible. I like Meridith Dairy…an Aussie farm brand which isn’t too tart like some yoghurts. If you strain the yoghurt it will be nice and thick of course but if you start with a very thick yoghurt it still works quite well – if time for making dessert is limited! This is much healthier than buying pre-sweetened/packaged yoghurts.

Other dishes from this book (MASALA) that appeal to us:

Simple Fish Curry P26 (MACCHLI); Chicken in Yoghurt and Sweet Spices (Murgh Korma)…love the use of cardamom in this recipe P31; Roasted Cauliflower and Potatoes (Aloo Gobi) P42;