Taste Organic India
      
 Solar Vegetarian Cooking Course

Indian Cuisine

To the uninitiated, Indian foods are deep fried samosas or the tandoori tikka masalas. But there’s more to Indian food than that. With 29 states, literally a Europe under one flag, spread over 3.2 million square kms, India’s diverse soil type and climate determine the kind of agriculture practiced and the food eaten. While the people in the northern wheat belt eat chapatti or the unleavened bread, rice remains the staple in the South Indian and East Indian cuisine.

Religious, cultural and ethnic affiliations also determined our diverse cuisine. The caste system determined who ate what and when, as a result vegetarianism developed with a rich variety of dishes, while those who were permitted to eat meats, created their own cuisine.

Then there were the spices. The spice trade, often cited as the primary catalyst for Europe’s Age of Discovery, was sourced from India where it grew in abundance in the tropical climate. This when added to the foods changed the flavor from ordinary to extraordinary.

India as a result was a country to be invaded and conquered for its spices and other wealth. The occupiers brought their agriculture products, and so the British brought tea from China whilst the Portuguese brought potatoes, chilies along with avocados, and they took cashew and jackfruit to propagate in their other colonies.

The cuisine continues to evolve with the growth and liberalization of the economy, which permitted the import of food products legally, forbidden until the early 1990’s. And today Maggi noodles become an integral part of the Indian diet.

Indian cuisine is often considered complicated, difficult and oily. Not always. Making a flaky croissant or risotto of the right consistency requires the same amount of patience and is just as time consuming.

The food we teach you to cook is authentic, simplified and some of the menus can be dished out in little over an hour. With a vast variety to choose from, our menus take you on a trip across the length and breadth of this diverse nation. We make you taste flavors that are unique and inhale aromas that you can never forget. And they are much lower in calories than what is dished out in Indian restaurants around the world.

Your Week In The Nilgiris

SATURDAY - DAY ONE:

Arrive at morning or noon Coimbatore International airport where you will be picked up and driven up to the Nilgiri biosphere through forests, between coffee and tea plantations. We will serve you lunch or a light tea, followed by a talk on the Nilgiris. That night we will serve you dinner which will be a mix of some of the many regional Indian cuisines.

SUNDAY - DAY TWO:

1) Yoga class for those who are game to get up at 7.00 and stretch out on the mats in the garden after a cup of tea, South Indian filter coffee or plain coffee. Or you can sleep in until breakfast which will be a mix of South Indian dishes and cereals/ milk, eggs and toast with organic preserves at 8 a.m. We then drive you to Ooty at 9.00 a.m. where a qualified guide will take you on a heritage walk to see the rich heritage left behind by the British. After the two hour walk we take you for a lunch to “The Place to Bee” a café serving organic Indian and continental food… yes pizza’s too! We come back by 3:30 p.m. and at 4:30 p.m. you begin your first class.

Today’s dinner will take you up North to the Punjab with its rich and popular dishes:

1) Main course (gravies): (a) Paneer palak (b) chole/rajma, (c and d) two seasonal vegetables cooked dry in the Punjabi style,

2) Salad

3) Parathas (bread) and

4) Peas Pulao.

5) Desert- gajar ka halwa /phirni washed down with

6) Lassi


MONDAY - DAY THREE:

After yoga and breakfast 9:00 a.m. we show you how the solar cooker works and we load it for the meal you will cook later in the afternoon. We drive you to an organic tea garden, where you will learn about the cultivation and processing of organic tea, and partake in tea tasting. This will be followed by a Malyali or Parsi lunch or we can take you to the Culinarium for a light western meal. We get you back by 3.30 p.m. and you start Cooking Class No 2 at 4:30 p.m. This evening we take you west with the cuisine of Gujrath:

1) Appetiser (farsaan): dhokla and muthia;

2) Main Course (gravies): (a)Daal and (b) Gujrati Kadhi; Main course (c and d) two seasonal vegetables cooked dry the Gujrati way

3) Salad of sprouts and fresh vegetables

4) thepla (bread)

5) khichadi (rice and lentil mix)

6) Desert: Moong bean sheera.

7) Chaas or buttermilk

 

TUESDAY - DAY FOUR:

We start Class No 3 at 7:30 a.m. and show you how to make the ever popular south Indian breakfast…

1) Idly - a steamed rice and lentil dumpling

2) dosai - a rice and lentil pancake

3) and upuma or poha: a spiced up cream of wheat dish, are no longer staples only in the South of India but are found across the country at breakfast time as they are a healthier option to the traditional deep friend puris and pan fried parantha.

After that brunch then at 10.30 we drive you to Ooty, where you take the Heritage train to Coonoor. Here you can shop for tea, spices and antiques. Dinner on your own at either the Taj or McIver (we’ll make reservations for you) and we’ll drive you back.

WEDNESDAY - DAY FIVE:

We then drive you to the Military township of Wellington where you will visit an Ayurvedic center and be served a Satvik meal- (a very light, non-oily and non-spicy )/ OR we visit Last Forest an NGO, where you learn about the Nilgiri biosphere, the tribals and their products. After a light lunch and may be a nap you start Class no 4 at 4:30 p.m.

You will cook a South Indian Thali (meal) consisting of

1) rasam (a soup)

2) Vade (dumplings) with coconut chutney,

3) Main Course:

(a) Sambar (lentils),

(b) Morkozumbu a yogurt based dish,

(c and d) two dry vegetable dishes,

4) pachadi ( salad)

5) seasoned rice, plain rice,

6) yogurt,

7) papadum and of course

8) desert.

 

THURSDAY - DAY SIX:

After breakfast you go for a two hour walk to the Longwood forest or if you prefer to stay home you may chill out on the deck and have a light lunch at home ( on the house) or go on your own shopping in Coonoor or Ooty. Just remember to be back by 4.30 P.m. for Class Number 5. This last class is food from the Nilgiris.

The Tamils and Badagas serve

1) rasam with garlic

2) Badaga Sambhar

3) Mixed vegetable kurma

4) red beans

5) potatoes

6) Vegetable biryani and

7) of course there is desert.

 

This will be followed by a traditional Badaga dance, where you can join the locals as they dance to the lilting melody and digest your meals maybe. That ends your organic and solar cooking course with us in the Nilgiris

FRIDAY - DAY SEVEN:

You leave after or before breakfast.