08 November 2007

India Eats

India is vegetarian heaven. Having been full vegetarian for 7 years and a fledgling one for 4 years prior to that, I especially enjoyed my India eats. Indian food incorporates a variety of spices, and as one of my hosts claimed, each one has proven health benefits.

Interestingly enough, Indian food is classified into two main categories: Veg and Non-veg, and by default, most restaurants (at least those we ate at) usually serve Veg unless instructed otherwise.

The other difference between Indian and western food is their use of the staples of rice and bread, usually flat unleavened bread made of whole wheat or plain white flour called chapatis or naan. (I will blog more about this in the future)

Food is usually eaten with your bare hands, on banana leaves, at homes and in even the most posh restaurants.

In most hotels, however, a spoon and fork is offered, or should I say, standard.

Main ingredients are usually lentils, peas, potatoes and different kinds of vegetables cooked in a gravy of spices and sauces.

Street food abounds even during the night. This particular snack item, Pani Puri, starts off as a piece of crispy puffed bread. A hole is then poked into it and filled with various yummy savory sauces, then topped with flavored water. I was warned not to try this, first due to the water's questionable origins and later, on seeing how the vendor scoops the water from the steel container, hands all a-soaking. So sue me, I was stubborn. Yum!

Below is a different type of puffed bread, simply called Puri. It is not as crunchy as the Pani puri, but still crispy after being fried. This is one of my favorite bread options to go with a warm veg curry. Before gorging on it, you will have to poke it first to let loose all the steam inside. Most other Puris I have seen are a lot larger than this.

You will notice that even the snack item below, a Samosa --- or savory pastry filled with potatoes and spices, which I bought from an ISKCON temple --- was served in an environmentally friendly, plastic-free, serving dish made of ... LEAVES! As this is the way most street food is served, I thought it was a splendid practice.

A few pieces of raw vegetable such as radish or onion is usually served as a siding to most meals. That, I think is a healthy practice. (Again, I was told not to eat anything raw in India.... okay, take me to court!)
Yoghurt is another common sight at the table, eaten after a meal to balance the fire from a spicy meal, or mixed with your rice. Yes, you can eat bread and rice at the same time in the same meal.
In fact, Papads, or crispy lentil wafers, are commonly eaten WITH rice or even noodles.

Some other common vegetables you see in Indian cuisine, apart from potatoes, are cauliflower, carrots, chickpeas, tomatoes, long beans, peppers, eggplant and "paneer". Paneer (or Panir) is milk curd similar in consistency to tofu. It is prepared just like most vegetables, fried or with some form of gravy or sauce.

The most common type of rice served is Basmati rice, which is unusually long grained and flavorful. In southern India, it accompanies practically every meal. Breakfast, likewise, is not complete without Idli, or lentil cake similar to our "puto". It is either dipped in sauce or chutney.

I had the pleasure of trying out a common merienda (morning or afternoon snack) item, which is chickpeas with raw onions and coconut meat. It was....yum!
Most Indian food is prepared spicy hot, just the way I like it. Also.....they tend to.....uhmm.....
Sorry, but I really gotta go. I am getting extremely hungry. I'll continue this food blog some other time.....Ciao!


JayAshKal said...

Nice food blog. I guess because I love Indian food as well... having worked with Indians and Sri Lankans. Our boss use to make us lunch... sometimes it is so hot (as in chillies) you need to pour the buttermilk to draw away the hot spices.

Love naan bread (I think it is better than the usual chapatis) and dipped in curry dishes... they make garlic naan bread as well.

Mmmmm... that made me hungry and craving for some tandoori (am being a non-vegetarian!).


Saw your blog at Senor Eric's blog and when you mentioned you are or have lived in Subic, I just have to check your blog... I am glad I did.


Ang Kuwago said...


Thanks for dropping by! Yes, I really should blog more about Subic, 'no? I am getting that request more and more.

I am glad we enjoy the same kind of food. Have you tried exploring Manila's different Indian restos? New Bombay, New Delhi, Tandoor Spices, etc? There are quite a few good ones.

Ang Kuwago said...


I tried leaving a comment on your blog but I haven't been able to reach you. If you get prompted to read this comment, kindly send me an email.

Ang Kuwago
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