Way back in 2001 I travelled around Northern and Central India, with my older sister and her partner. We spent most of our time in Rajasthan, but also spent a little time in Kashmir, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh and Delhi. Travelling up to Kashmir was quite possibly the most terrifying experience of my life, but one that I'm so glad (now that I'm home and safe in NZ) to have done. The food there was amazing and our week spent staying on the houseboats on the Dal Lake in Srinagar was such a mix of shear terror, confusion, hopelessness and excitement.
You see, we arrived in India on September 11th 2001. The 9/11. No one knew what had happened, really. Indian newspapers have a knack of telling you the same one sentence over and over again, re-worded slightly different every time, in the hope that you will not notice the complete lack of information they provide. We saw the footage of the planes crashing into the twin towers, but after a day of flights and stopovers we weren't understanding or taking much of it in! All we were told was to get out of Delhi as everyone thought it was going to be targeted next. So off on a 24 hour bus trip to Kashmir (of all places!!) we went. Ah the naivety of youth! I remember receiving an email from my Grandad while there, saying you should be ok, so long as you are nowhere near Kashmir!
This photo above was taken in Pushkar, Rajasthan, 2001.
Below is our beautiful, safe little Raglan. Home.
India is one of the most amazing places on earth. I love the food, the culture, the landscapes and the customs. It is such a land of opposites. That's exactly how I remember feeling while there, one minute you love it, the next minute you hate it and long to be home. I have no idea why anyone agreed to let the Commonwealth games be held there? I'm sure that money could have been put to much better use, but I for one, will always love India for what it is and for what it isn't.
- 500 g (1 lb 2oz) cauliflower
- 3 Tbsp vegetable oil
- 1-2 Tbsp fresh ginger, grated
- a pinch of chilli powder
- 1 tsp cumin seeds, roughly crushed
- sea salt
- a pinch of garam masala
- small handful of coriander leaves (cilantro), optional
Cut the cauliflower into florets. Heat oil in a medium frying pan over med heat. Add ginger and stir-fry for 30 seconds. Add chilli powder and cumin seeds and stir. Add cauliflower and 1/4-1/2 tsp sea salt, stirring well to coat evenly in the spices. Sprinkle over garam masala, stirring again. Cover with a lid and cook over gentle heat until the cauliflower is tender, stirring occasionally. Remove lid, turn up the heat to high and cook a further few minutes until slightly caramelised around the edges before serving. Sprinkle with coriander and serve.
Ever so slightly adapted from 50 great curries of India, by Camellia Panjabi.