After a fantastic stay in Mumbai, Doug and Karen traveled on to the the city of Nagpur located almost exactly in the center of India in the Vidharbha region. Radhika’s (Doug’s great friend-see last post) family owns a farm in this town. Doug told us how he and Karen enjoyed strolling through mango and citrus orchards and impressive stands of bamboo. The area in and around Nagpur is a major cultural, political, agricultural, and commercial center. It’s also known as the,”Tiger Capital” of the world with four tiger preserves close by in Pench, Tadoba, Nagzira, and Melghat. The local cuisine is called Varhadi or Saoji and is typically fiery. Foods are richly flavored with black pepper, coriander, bay leaves, grey cardamom, cinnamon, chilies, and cloves. Poppy seeds (Khus-Khus) and powdered coconut are also common ingredients. Many people believe this spicy cuisine is super healthy. We can’t be sure of any particular health claims but what is clear in the many photos that Doug has shared is that hospitality and the beautiful presentation of food is a cultural priority. Here are a few photos with recollections from Doug from his time in the region.
Soon after we arrived we enjoyed an incredible meal. One of Radhika’s good friends invited us to lunch at her home. The setting was so beautiful, I was practically speechless.
Lunch consisted of an assortment of 7 lovely small dishes of curries,lentils, beans and vegetables all serves with freshly made Poori bread. We loved every bite.
In Pench we visited a tiger preserve the same one in fact that Rudyard Kipling wrote about in his wild childhood story. Here we had stoped in the middle of our “tiger hunt,” for breakfast. All the food was simply laid out on the hood of the jeep. Oh, by the way, of course, all of our “hunting” was done with cameras not guns.
Nice tandoor! Also in Pench we found this tandoor. I love this type of cooking and since the tandoor we have at fire is such an important piece of equipment, I’m always interested in learning more about them. Ovens like this were everywhere.
Next stop Delhi. I was so amazed with snack food we found in the Delhi airport I had to send this picture. Even in the airport food is treated with respect and presented beautifully. How fresh and delicious it looks, quite different from the food we find in airports at home.
From Delhi, it was on to Jaipur. Below you see a vegetarian dish called thali, an assortment of dishes which allows you to taste many things. I’m also sending a picture of our hotel room both photos are from Jaipur. Many hotels here are actually ancient palaces with fairy-tale legacies that have been re-purposed. Next it’s on to Udaipur, Agra and back to Delhi. More to come-stay tuned friends.
Post by Amy Viny and Doug Katz. Photos by Doug Katz