My Tamil family homemade Israeli dinner
By Etan Doronne
17 Mar 2011
'You eat cheese and bread, right?'
That was the concept of my hosting family of western food. Then they encouraged me to prepare us an Israeli meal.
I went with Karlmarks to shop at the local market. Somewhat Challenging for Mediterranean cuisine.
First challange was translating to Tamil the uncommon ingredients, for the shopkeepers. I know most names in English and Hindi but these rarities are not included in common knowledge in daily use here. Somewhat of a learning curve on both sides. Good.
The total shopping, eventually feeding 10 people (some neighbors, dropping in during the long prepping process joined the dinner) cost about Rs. 200 (Rupees) Less then $5. Although in Tamil the population seems less vegeterian then northern India, this dinner was all veg and it didn't seem any one was left hungry. Some said the Hummus was too salti or the Nana (mint) chutney (dip) to spicy. The eggplant was finished first. The salad, despite the untraditional raw vegetable content, was a hit. The Hummus was consumed with chapatti (we didn't bother looking for a tandur for Pita making as it is not part of Tamil kitchen). Little got some fever the next day, her mom said that the lemonade cooled her body. I gave her some acupressure treatment which she accepted peacefully and later jumped back on her legs with her natural energy.
Hummus (We made the Tahini ingredient by roasting seeds and grinding them with some oil)
Falafel (made of cooked and shredded garbanzo beans, we lacked time for an overnight rinse)
Nana sipcy dip
Chapatti (staring as Pita)
Eggs boiled in tea water (as in Hamin)
Vegetable salad (cucumber, tomato, onion, radish, carrot, lemon juice, oil, salt and peeper)
Lemonade (lemon shredded peel, lemon juice, ground clove and cinnamon, sugar and water)
Nana tea, hot, for desert
It took 4 people 3 hours to prepare. Too long, even in terms of the complex Indian kitchen. They were wondering if we make these dishes everyday. I said yes but forgot to mention that we buy the Pita rather then mae the dough, roll chapatties and cook them one by one. We use ready made Falafel mix rather then grind spices and blend the paste and we buy the Tahini ready rather then roast the seeds and blend to smoothness.
More stories of my experiences backpacking rural India for 2 years on http://jpgmag.com/people/etand/stories