Monday, June 19, 2017

Shopping, Marketing, And Eating With Jyoti!

Mango shake in one hand, picking up some bhel puri in the other. 

Ater stuffing our faces over lunch at Jyoti's house, we headed out to spend the afternoon doing a bit of shopping, marketing, and snacking.  Before we left her place, Jyoti handed us each a sealed package of several spices that she put together.  It was a parting gift that she hands to each of her clients when they finish with the class.  Each packet contained a spice  that we used in our class today. Thankfully, she labelled each one so we know what they are later.

I think we were running a bit later for our afternoon activities so Jyoti quickly scooted us out the door.  Our car and driver were waiting for us.  We all piled in and headed to our first destination.  The gals had indicated some interested in getting some Indian clothing - specifically, some very lightweight cotton pieces so Jyoti to a shopping area that she said was home to some very nice clothing shops that she herself has bought items from in the past.

At first glance, the shopping area didn't seem like a place that would be home to any nice shops but it just goes to show you that first glances can be deceptive.   We entered a few small but very nice, very upscale clothing boutiques that sold items that I thought were very nicely designed with prices to match!  India can be very expensive.  I had no intention of buying any clothes so I let the girls go at it.  Ayşe had the most interest so she ended up buying a couple of items.  We also went to a very interesting paper shop.  I was tempted but refrained.  I have plenty of souvenirs from India at home; I really don't need more especially knicky knacky things.

Next, it was off to the neighborhood market which was well, as I had expected to see in India.  Situated in and among this jumble of ramshackle buildings were shops and streetside vendors selling food items for everyday consumption.  This, I was very interested in and so was Chantale.  Like me, she finds the more rundown, congested, smelly, noisy places the more interesting ones to roam around.

We were barely 5 minutes out of the car when Chantale spotted the mango vendor.  She's been pining for them ever since leaving Jaipur so with Jyoti's help, she got a couple to go.

Next, we just followed Jyoti around the market.  Here are a few of the photos I took.

Fresh lime soda aka bunta sold in these old fashioned stopper bottles.  The fresh lime is just for display.

Dry goods.  I loved the instructions on the label.  If you didn't already know what to do with the ingredient, you probably should not buy it to begin with!

Buckwheat groats aka kasha.  I've always only seen the flour.  Never knew what the whole grain actually looks like.

Indian pickled veggies.

Small stalls located inside the main market.

Spices.  That cardamom looks incredibly fresh!

All sorts of different pulses. I just see a lot of delicious dal to be made!  Who knew there are so many colorful varieties?

.....and more pulses.  I don't think there can be an Indian meal without a dish made from pulses.

 A bit of this and a bit of that.  Some skilled cook will turn all these bags of ingredients into mouthwatering dishes.

We ended up in the Southeast Asian section of the market. Familiar ingredients to me but I had to chuckle when Jyoti said she didn't know what to do with any of this stuff!

Fresh herbs and vegetables.

Spices, dried fruits, and nuts.

Bags and bags and bags of all sorts of different kinds of pulses.

The very helpful and informative spice shop owner.  I bought a small container of hing aka asafoetida from him.

It all looks interesting even I don't know what most of it is. The variety of food in India is incredible!

Back in 2010, I went on similar market walk with Jyoti and without recalling that I had taken a photo of her sitting inside one of the spice shops, I took a photo on this trip.  So, here she is - then and now!

On the left, Jyoti in 2010 and on the right, Jyoti in 2017.

The produce section of the market.  One thing I really appreciate about Indian food.  Every dish starts with fresh ingredients.


You can always hit the streets for a cup of masala chai!

I love it when I come across something I don't recognize.  This is jamun.  It is native to the Indian subcontinent and is a member of the Myrtle family.  The ripe berry supposedly has a sweet taste and is acidic and astringent in nature. The fruit is usually eaten with some salt sprinkled on it to cut the acid.  Like so many other purple colored fruit, jamun will stain your tongue and anything else the juice comes into contact with.  Jyoti was picking out a few for us to try when she felt the oil on her fingers.  I think they coat the fruit with the oil to extend its life but Jyoti was none too happy about the oil (you really don't know how fresh the fruit is or how stale the oil is) so she tossed all of what she had picked out back into the pile. 

Tibetan food sold by a Ladakhi.  He's a long way from home!

From the market, Jyoti took us to an area where there were vendors selling up street snacks....mainly items from the southern part of India.

Bhel puri waiting for customer pick up.  Oh yeah, that would be us!

She bought a few bhel puri for us to try out.  I've had it before and I have to say, it's not one of my favorite snacks though admittedly, it's actually very full of flavor and texture - salty, spicy and sweet and soft and crunch.  One bite and Ayşe was hooked!

Just around the corner from the bhel puri guys was the pani puri guy.  Now, this I like!

Again, salty, spicy, a bit sweet and a bit sour.  Crunchy and soft.  This bite sized snack truly is addictive.  Yep, she fell for it after just one!

Update:  September 4, 2018.  Today, Ayşe and I went shopping at my local international foods supermarket.  We came across a pani puri kit that just so happened to be on sale. Ayşe could not resist so she bought the kit.  She was doing the happy dance as she devoured every one of (I think) 30 pani puri!!

The vendor next to the pani puri guy sold samosas.  I was tempted....really, really tempted but I was so stuffed from lunch, I passed them up.  I wish I had gotten a few.  They would have stayed fine in our fridge and I could've reheated them up in the oven.  Oh well.

There was the gulab jamun vendor.  Ayşe wanted some but I reminded her, as she is gluten free, that she should refrain.  Not to mention that the pani puri shell she devoured is made from wheat so she already had her bit of gluten for the day.  Hopefully, it wasn't enough to give her an upset stomach.  We'll see.

The gulab jamun guys.

Adjacent to the street vendors was a sweets shop.  We followed Jyoti inside.  On the way to our table, we passed by a large glass covered case filled with all sorts of Indian sweets.  I had no idea what any of them were.

We took our seats and Jyoti was expecting us to order up some sweets to sample but we were literally all stuffed to the gills from the huge lunch we had had in her house that none of the three of us were interested in eating anything else!  I think we were pretty much fooded (is that a verb?) out and ready to head back to the apartment.  So we left the shop.  On the way back to the car, Chantale and I did buy a large cup of the mango shake to go.  That was too delicious not to have more of.  The plan was to have it later cause we couldn't even take in a sip of shake - no room in the belly.

Jyoti accompanied us back to our car.  There, she said her goodbyes.  Apparently, she was going somewhere else, not in the direction of our apartment and so she opted to go by taxi instead.  Overall, we had a very enjoyable day.  I wanted to give the girls something to do other than go sightseeing and since both love to cook, I think this fit the bill nicely.  For me, it was nice to reconnect with Jyoti.  On my next trip back to Delhi (yes, I will be back), I will again reach out to her but this time, we whip up some other dishes.

Back in the apartment, we all just rested.  No one was keen to even go out to dinner.  I know poor Ayşe wanted to just lay down and nap; it's been a very long day for her.  Tomorrow, I have a full day of sightseeing planned for the gals so it's good to be fully rested.

Goodnight from Delhi!

p.s.  Chantale putting her clothes away in the closet.  Yes, there are lights in the bedroom but she wanted to use her headlamp.  She's going to end up being like Bro - using that thing at every opportunity possible!  Had to post this up just so I will forever remember how hard I laughed when I saw her looking like this!