North Indian flavours

All the different flavours, the many textures, the intense aromas and the unusual cooking techniques make the Indian cuisine so incredible and unique. We ate at many dhabas, restaurants and street stalls, we took a cooking course (at Spice Paradise in Jodhpur with Rekha), we tried Beena’s delicious home cooking when visiting Rajesh, and even though we had both previously tried Indian food, we kept being surprised with new flavours every day. We of course did as the locals and ate with our hands, and strange as it sound, everything tastes much better when eaten with your fingertips!

It is impossible to describe in a couple of posts what Indian food is like, I would say that it’s not even possible to do it in a book. And being India such a huge country it is normal that North Indian tastes are very different to South Indian ones. These are some of the pillars of North Indian cuisine:

  • The spices. So important in Indian cooking, the spices are the starting point for every dish and a good spice box is a must in every kitchen. Many cooks, after years of practice trying to find a good balance, are experts in the mixing of spices and don’t like sharing the secrets of their masala (spice mix).

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The city of the One Thousand and One Spices

Our arrival to Jodhpur wasn’t too pleasant. After a 7h long bus journey through the dessert the bus driver decided to drop us all at the outskirts of the city rather than bringing us to Jodhpur’s bus station. Of course outside there was an army of auto rickshaws waiting for all the tourist to get off the bus… We had arranged a free pick up from the bus station with Zafra (the owner of the guest house where we were going to stay), but we had no idea where we were! So, once we managed to get away from all the auto rickshaws, we tried to talk to some of the locals to find out in which area of the city we were at. Most of the locals barely spoke English so after 10 mins using “sign language” and a tiny map, which they normally don’t know how to read, we were able to understand where we were and could finally call Zafra. We later learned that bus drivers usually do this when the traffic is bad.

Jodhpur is the second largest city in the state of Rajasthan. The city is also known as the “blue city” due to the blue color of the houses in the old city. Jodhpur was the capital of the kingdom known as Marwar. The city’s main landmarks are Mehrangarh Fort, Umaid Bhavan Palace, which is both a hotel and the current residence of the last Marahaja (while wealthy and with lots of influence he no longer has political power), The Jaswant Thada mausoleum, and Sardar Market with its clock-tower. We only visited the fort and the market.

Mehrangarh Fort was built in 1459 when Rao Jodha decided to move the capital of his kingdom to a safer place. Because its location, it sits on top of a hill, and because how it was built, it is enclosed by imposing thick walls, the fort has never been taken by force. We visited the fort one sunny morning and while a bit expensive if you compare it with the price non Indian have to pay (we paid 300 INR each + 200 INR for the camera) it is totally worth it. You get a free audio guide on arrival that explains to perfection the different areas of the fort and palaces, the different events that took place in it, the paintings, items in the museums… We loved the views of the city from the walls of the fort!

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