It takes so much to try a new recipe patiently, click pictures before the morning light disappear and before everything to drag Myself out of my comfort mattress. But do you know what takes much more than this? To try that result of culinary experiment! And this post my dear is an ode to the man of the house who is my official taste tester. This post tops my list of procrastinated things to do and today I strike this one off the list.
Needless to talk about the amount of patience with which you answer all my repetitive questions but also constantly tapping me to stay grounded.
When at any such instant I boast myself of being a very good cook just because I got that bloody salt right thanks for always being there to tell me consistency is the key and not luck by chance!
And more than once thanks for your bewildered look when I tell you that I have something new coming up for dinner.
Opposites attract and blame it on those endless rom-coms telling me how romantic that is. Coffee is not really my cup of tea but when you said coffee is the best I really doubted if its still romantic. No one says no to tea. Dude!
From making you that disastrous cup of coffee the very first time to that last bowl of pasta, thanks for baring all those constants questions and being my official Taste tester.
I hereby announce you as my TT!
Treat is on me!
Hyper Panda – A name people of KSA swear by. It is a must visit every weekend and it is 20 minutes drive from our home. I had made a mental note of what all to buy to stock up my pantry and ended up finding hardly 2-3 items over there. There were so many new names, Tapioca, Cilantro,Parsley.. Wait! What do I do with all these. My vegetable knowledge included nothing more than basic stuffs. In my single days if I find onions, tomatoes and chilies I considered my meal sorted. These basic ones were sure there but additional I found a rack full of clueless ones which I walked past.
In next few weeks after basic research and so many google questions like
“How do I differentiate Parsley and Coriander leaves?”
“What is Tapioca?”
“What is Palak called in English?”
“Can I use some green leaves named Gerger instead of palak?”
If someone publishes my google history about grocery shopping there would be a ban on me to even type the word food. So after few researches and keen observations I figured out Tapioca to be nothing other than ‘Maravelli Kizhangu’ and I go like sollave illa, ithu eppola irunthu. I had ate it like n number of times but never thought it would look like this before my mom cooks delicious fry out of it. Time to borrow my nephew’s book to learn vegetables in English.
If Vegetables drive me crazy, then lentils take me to whole new level.
Sesame seeds (white/Black) – Ok! It looks like the one above burger buns but what do I do with this.It is in two colors. How come they use only white one in burger buns.
Cous Cous – For namesake, I dont even want to lay my hands on it.
Poppy seeds – It looks like Sesame seeds. years and years of Find 6 difference in newspaper helps!
Nutmeg – I have no idea what this mug, well meg is all about.
After that I have a glossary of Indian spices in English and Tamil.
Lets Talk 🙂
Initial days in a new place lets you dine out quite often. I see pizza Inn and decide to treat myself with proper food after punishing myself with terrible airline sandwich and black tea( seriously! tea without milk?). I get in and as usual ask for the menu. And the man of the house smirks only then I notice this
And I for the first time pity myself for being a vegetarian. My ordering then followed a pattern.
Vegetarian/No meat/No mushrooms.
Asking for vegetarian food in a land which is famous for Al Baik chicken leaves me with an alien like stare and honestly I am so used to it now. So looking for vegetarian food can sure account as a task to be accomplished.some failed attempts like driving thru to get McVeggie and coming out with McFlurry, longing for pasta only to find it with tuna and bacons. So restaurants with vegetarian food makes up to frequently visited sites in jazan.
Rasoi – It is run by keralites where I was greeted in tamil and it sure brings a smile(Well! Back home look up fluent English , Get out of country and search for native language. Ah!the irony). I got pretty good options for vegetarian here. Indian breads to curries, dosas to noodles most of the dishes are available. Vellappam with tomato fry is a must try here.
Red Bricks – Dal Makhni in Red bricks is the go-to dish for me. A perfect North indian restaurant with delicious panner receipes. Russian salad here is a must try. Few months in the city and I find the restaurant already increasing vegetarian dishes here.
Jia – Now this is my favourite. Located sea side it redefines class. Recently renovated I could find delicious onion dum biriyani to samosas. I found more vegetarian dishes to choose from and that makes me visit this restaurant so often.
India Gate – Its similar to Jia, a north indian restaurant offering delicious Hyderabad dum biriyani. Masala rice is a clear winner. I happen to visit only once since parking can be a nightmare.
And common outlets line McD, KFC, TGIF, Kudu, Pizza Hut are available. Well again! Being a vegetarian clearly leaves me with no option other than to cook.
The journey to i-do-cook-well realization is nothing short of excitement. It gradually happened after spending months in cooking basic recipes.
Before that, days were spent learning more about the city, lifestyle of people, Indians in the region and restaurants offering vegetarian food. And those things are worth sharing.
Shifting to KSA (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia) brought in many changes to everyday routine as cultural differences are vast. Starting with becoming familiar with the tag ‘Expat’, Let me brief about few terms which are popular here
Iqama – It is a personal Identity card for expatriates who enter KSA for work. It’s mandatory to be taken along always. The man of the house (can’t help it! Thanks Twinkle Khanna. I am in love with this term) says, “Iqama?” while stepping out more than I-love-you.What more can explain the importance of taking it along than this.
Abaya – A long black cloak that all women have to wear by law when out in public. As a matter of fact it can be quite a turn off but for someone like me who is termed fashionably disabled and prefers sulking rather than dressing up it is a blessing in disguise. I get ready in a jiffy and end up holding the door open and asking the man of the house to hurry up.
Salah – Setting aside everything to offer prayers is a common practice here. Shopping malls to small grocery shops remain closed at that particular time which is typically 5 times a day.
And last but definitely worth mentioning(not specific with KSA though, but this is my first experience) is the driving mode. Initially travelling in car was quite a funny scene since I was mentally accustomed to driving right (Well technically I was not the one who is in charge of the wheels but still). Every single time I would find it hard to control not-so-polite words when someone tries to get ahead in the wrong side (in my head obviously) only to understand how stupid I was at the end. What to expect! Just get over it with that sheepish grin and audio system to the rescue.
After initial settling down the next obvious pit stop is the restaurants in jazan. I wouldn’t miss a chance to write about it and it deserves a separate post 😀
I named the blog just right.
At this moment this is the only thing I am sure about.
My love for the place I am staying currently in KSA is not the one that happened first sight. when I stepped in for the first time at 9 PM, all I could sense was ”This place is so hot”. And a 40 mins ride from the airport to the place I stay had no big ”Wow! Its so beautiful” moment. It was as plain as a loaf of wheat bread, no butter,no filling.
Taking a break from my job and shifting here was not so easy honestly. There were genuine comments asking me to reconsider the decision. But I guess that was too late. I came here with no job, no plans and no special interests.
But that was 5 months back and right now somewhere in between experiencing first sandstorm and spending evenings watching sunsets in beach, small picnics in beautiful parks and late night long drives I cant deny but i fell in love with this place.
I am sure there are many things which i cant do here but that opened another door of possibilities. Never in my wildest dream did I imagine myself as a cook. I was terrible in differentiating the lentils let alone cooking. My love for food was confined only to the dining table. Over here I find that love take me to whole new phase and I cant complain.
Lets talk more!