Wednesday, September 21, 2011

What is jalebi, you ask?

It appears that in my recent post about Dilli Haat and jalebi, I failed to explain what jalebi is, exactly. My b.

Jalebi is an Indian sweet made by drizzling a basic batter into a pan of hot ghee (clarified butter), where it deep-fries until crispy. Once fried, it is then immediately soaked in a sugary syrup that is usually flavored with cardamom or rose water. Jalebi is best eaten while piping hot. It's crispy but delicate and practically melts away. It's like heaven in your mouth. 

For a recipe and step-by-step video, check out Manjula's Kitchen. (Note: Manjula doesn't use ghee in this recipe. You should.)

New movie, yay!

Have you seen the trailer for this new movie called The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel?

Spot-on portrayal of the shock (and wonder) that is adjusting to India as an outsider. Less spot-on is (British-born) Dev Patel's accent. What is that? I could do it better.

Can't wait to see it!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Dilli Haat

There is a surreal little market in Delhi called Dilli Haat. Part tourist attraction, part market, it's a place where artists (or middlemen?) from all across the country come to sell their regional art, jewelry, and textiles. For Rs. 20, you can spend an afternoon perusing the stalls and enjoying food from all parts of India. The craft vendors rotate out every couple of weeks, so it's worth going back every once in a while. I first went with Mrs. K, who was in search of a certain type of sari that isn't traditional to North India. We did some shopping (she bought saris, I bought a shawl, we both bought colorful wooden bangles) and stopped for some chai and jalebi. I returned a few weeks later with my roommate, F, who wanted to explore. I wanted more jalebi. Below, some photos of our jalebi-fest (most taken with my camera by F).

I'm super excited about jalebi, less excited about the 95+ degree heat.

He doesn't seem to be as excited about making the jalebi. Maybe it was the hot oil and 95+ degree heat. 

Post-jalebi chai in the original disposable cup - terra cotta.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Hindi Word Highlight: Vapas (वापस)

Translation: Back (e.g. I'm back!)
Pronunciation: Vaapas

Heeeeeeey. I realize I was a little light on the blog entries these last few weeks. My excuses are as follows:

First I got a cold.
Then I was irritated with Delhi (and when you don't have anything nice to say, you don't say anything at all).
Then I had a lot of work.
Then I got another cold.

But I'm all recovered, my work has calmed down, and I'm liking Delhi again. Phew!

I have a lot to catch up on. But for now, let's start with yesterday, which was a nice Delhi day. After a leisurely morning that included a self-pedicure and perusal of Newsweek (way cheaper here), Indian Good Housekeeping (more on that later), and a cooking magazine, I ventured out with my roommate to go swimming.

My roommate's friends found an Olympic-sized pool open to the public in a neighborhood close to mine. I think its a private school that allows membership and day use of its gym and pool facilities. So for Rs. 300 (about $7), you can pay for an afternoon of pool time. Now that I've translated that into dollars it feels a bit pricey, really, but I'd say it was worth it. It was a beautiful afternoon - humid but not stifling, hot but not unbearable. It felt as close to summer weather at home as I've felt here. Standing in the water in the shade, I almost felt chilly for the first time in Delhi.

We swam for a while, I investigated the gym membership prices (reasonable enough that I'm considering joining), and then we headed off to see a play at the Alliance Francaise. Turns out the play was in Hindi, not English (oops), so we went to dinner instead. When I got home, I turned my air conditioner on, made myself some hot chocolate, and pretended it was fall. 'Twas a relaxing way to end the weekend.

I leave you now with some fascinating pool-related trivia. Turns out the reason fingers turn wrinkly in the pool may not be a result of the skin soaking up water so much as a neurological response to help with grip. SO COOL. See here.

No photos allowed at the pool so, instead, an unrelated city cow shot. Will I ever tire of these?

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Safe and sound

As most of you know by now, there was a bombing in Delhi today. The bombing happened at the Delhi High Court as people were waiting to enter; more than 10 people have died and more than 70 were injured. I was less than a mile away at the time but am completely safe and sound.

Bombings aren't frequent in Delhi but they're not necessarily rare. A bomb actually went off near the High Court this spring but didn't injure anyone. The last Delhi bombing with significant loss of life was actually right around the time when I was here last, in 2008, when several markets were bombed and many people died.

Here's an article about today's blast in the Hindu, one of the better Indian news sources. Word of warning - the photo on the main page is graphic if you look up close.

To top things off, Delhi was hit by an earthquake tonight. I was about one sentence into this post when my house began to shake. Nothing fell off the walls or tables and the news isn't reporting any injuries, thank goodness. But after a day in which my nerves were already a little fried, experiencing my first earthquake didn't help. Time for bed now. Here's hoping tomorrow is a better day for Delhi.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Scenes From My Commute: Part 3

An international chain. Who knew? 

My apartment is decked out with this furniture. Chairs and tables outside, bookshelf inside. They're sold just like this, by a guy on a bike.

I have no explanation for this. I can only hope the stickers are not indicative of the vehicle's true purpose.