Indian cuisine proves that there are hundreds of different uses for lentils, and most of them don’t involve soup. I haven’t tried all the options yet, but I am slowly making my way through them. I particularly like a well-made dal (a lentil puree), scooped up with roti or naan, both of which are flatbreads.
Breakfast here is usually a meal that consists of savory items and I find that I like the vadas (savory donuts made of lentil flour) and the stuffed parathas best (which is a flatbread stuffed with vegetables, cheese, or potato). A typical Indian breakfast also includes spicy pickles. I tried it, but just couldn’t get myself used to having hot pickles in the morning (or any pickle, for that matter).
Last night we had a particularly good traditional Rajasthani thali, which is a vegetarian platter with many dishes that cover all possible tastes—sweet, savory, spicy, something that heats the palate, and something that cools. My favorite dishes were the paneer and bhindi (sauteed cheese and okra), the chaat (a slightly sweet buttermilk sauce with a touch of chutney), and the vegetable biryani (it’s like an Indian fried rice). One thing I can’t get used to here are the sweets. I thought Americans had a sweet tooth, but you haven’t tasted sweet until you’ve tried the desserts here.
Overall, India is a food-lover’s grand adventure and a vegetarian’s paradise. But of course, pleasure has its down side. Like Delhi Belly. I’ve already had it once and I am taking great pains to avoid an encore…
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