gulab jamun

a taste of india before we go to new zealand

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India. India. India. You are a country that we really want to visit but just haven’t got around to yet.

And one of the reasons we want to go , other than culture, landscape, architecture and UNESCO sites is the food. We absolutely love Indian food.

So what’s the next best thing to being in India right now, the day before we fly to New Zealand?  

You may have read about our last experience doing the Global Explorer, this time we were invited to join a tour of Little India, right here in Harris Park, Sydney. This tour had a different flavour (excuse the bad pun) but we enjoyed it all the same and got to try PLENTY of Indian dishes that we haven’t tried before.

Fear not the spice or heat of the food because the food we tried bordered more towards medium heat. Filled with spices, practically everything we ate or drank was bursting with flavour, even the mango lassi which is usually a super sweet drink.

IMG_0020Dhokla – made from chickpea flour and served with a sweet and savoury chutney. Treated more as a breakfast snack, it was a great start to the feast, we were about to have.IMG_0003Cheese paratha – flat-bread like pieces that were stuffed with cheese, served with yoghurt and Indian pickles – this one had a bit of kick to it! IMG_0004Pani Puri – small puff balls, which you crack the top of, fill it with boiled potato and chickpeas that have been mixed with a tamarind chutney, topped with spicy mint water. Then put all in the mouth in one go. This is literally a mouthful of flavour and texture. What an experience!IMG_0009 IMG_0010Raj Kachori – almost like an oversized pani puri. It was delicious and really too beautiful to break up and eat. But we did, and the mix of texture and flavours again was like nothing we have eaten before: sweet, spicy, crispy and soft!IMG_0012Utta Pam – first impression is that it looks like a pizza but it doesn’t taste a thing like pizza. A dough base, with vegetables scattered over the top and cooked – the texture reminded us a lot like okonomiyaki (Japanese pancake-like dish).  Eaten with the spicy sambal, the capsicum chutney and coconut chutney, once again FULL of flavour. IMG_0017Masala Dosa – much like a crepe but with a super crunchy exterior, it is stuffed with mashed potatoes that are infused with tonnes and tonnes of spices. This one we have tried before and LOVE having it whenever we can.IMG_0018And all of this was pre-lunch. We were certain that after this restaurant, we had completed the eating but it turned out that we had more in store.

Seekh Kebab – lamb minced cooked in tandoori. The spices in this provide a bit of heat to the taste buds but when doused in cucumber mint yoghurt, it wasn’t too bad! IMG_0021Malai Kofta – imagine butter chicken BUT not with the chicken, cottage cheese dumplings instead. Wow! This was absolutely delicious. Our taste buds were very pleased with this one.IMG_0023Baigan Achari – roasted eggplants cooked with pickle sauce. Now this was something we enjoyed a lot! Eggplant is a great vegetable to throw in with a lot of flavours and cooked slowly because the results never seem to go wrong. IMG_0025Goat Curry – don’t think we really need to describe this, let’s just say, curry at it’s best.
IMG_0026And if all that savoury wasn’t enough, we also got dessert. So when it wasn’t flavoursome-ly spicy, it was super sweet.

If you have ever tried Indian sweets, you will know what we mean.

Gulab Jamun

So with approximately 7 stops in all, although we didn’t eat at each one, we were definitely filled with Indian food by the end of it. Accompanied by 2 very competent and entertaining guides, Gunjan and Yamman, we were given plenty of information about the area and the Indian culture.

Indian cuisine varies so much, thanks to the many different regions in India. Some Indian food can be quite heavy, while others are quite light, refreshing and fluffy. We usually order what we know, unless we go with our friends from Indian backgrounds. So a food tour, we have found is a great way to be exposed to flavours by getting a “taster” rather than ordering a full dish of something we are unfamiliar with.

For more information about Taste Food Tours and the tours offered, see their website.

Disclaimer: Wise Monkeys Abroad were guests of Taste Food Tours, however there was no obligation or arrangement for us to write or promote Taste Food Tours. The opinions expressed throughout this piece is entirely that of Wise Monkeys Abroad.

Do you like Indian food? What’s your favourite dish?

Tell us what it is here.