street food in old delhi

When I travel somewhere new I want to eat something new and for that Old Delhi is a dream come true.

Delhi is unimaginably old. With a history dating back to 1000BC, it is one of oldest cities in the world that has been continually inhabited. It seems kind of silly that one city quarter is called Old Delhi when the whole city over has small reminders of its antiquity. Old Delhi, however, refers to Shahjahnabad, the city that the Mughal Dynasty built upon relocating their power from Agra. It s called 'old' in contrast to New Delhi, the British-built capital. Old Delhi is home to the Red Fort and India's largest mosque - Jama Masjid. Its main street is called Chandni Chowk and it happens to also be home to some of the best street food that I know.

Pamela Timms writes a mouth-watering blog that describes her edible adventures in Old Delhi: eat and dust. The name is clever as the former Mughal capital is a shrine to food as well as a bit of a dustpan (if you've ever blown your nose in Delhi then you know just how much dust is floating in the air). Dust or no dust, eating in the streets of Old Delhi is a must for locals and tourists alike.

Street food is local and seasonal. I was lucky to be in Delhi during the winter months as I got to indulge in daulat ki chaat (a kind of 'milk puff' made from sweetened milk and topped with saffron and chopped pistachios, Pamela calls it God's Own Street Food) and gajar ka halwa (another sweet dish to warm up with in winter, it is made from carrots, milk and cashews). I also got to taste some classics like jalebis at Old & Famous Jalebiwala (which is over 100 years old and only serves samosas and jalebis) and dahi bhalla (a fried patty made with pulses and topped with yogurt, masala and chutney).

But there is so much more to try! One could easily spend months in Old Delhi alone wandering through the ancient alleys, buying flowers for puja, drinking chai and trying whatever food stand that is hidden by a crowd. For a good introduction to the best eats on the streets read about some of Pamela's picks for the Guardian. Street food also means street drinks. In winter make sure to try some frothed milk in a traditional terracotta mug and in summer it is all about fresh lime sodas.

To delicious travels and edible adventures!


my return address

Before moving from Gothenburg to Munich my charming friend Cecilia made me promise to update my blog regularly. It should function as a visual account of what I have been cooking and what distractions I found along the way. She also made me promise to include images of my new apartment as it went from being overrun with boxes and piles of loose nails to being cozy and worn-in. Now that I have only a few days left in India Munich and my apartment are certainly on my mind.

While studying art history I took a course with Professor Amelia Jones on visual representations of identity. One day between discussing intertextuality, temporality and shifting pronouns the relationship between homes and identity came up - decoration and renovation to be precise. To my surprise (and delight), Professor Jones admitted that despite the flimsy correlation between the two (a definite "we are what we buy"), she simply could not get enough of home interior television shows. From this moment on I have felt slightly better about being obsessed with pictures of interiors and closets knowing that an academic I admire cannot resist them either (and I certainly am obsessed).

So as I pack up my luggage and experiences from the past four months I thought that I would show you (and remind myself of) the cozy home that I will be returning to. And with a few pictures, of course.


postcards from kerala II

Kerala sure knows how to make a gal like me blush.

This skinny state has been one of my favourite destinations in India so far. It taught me to add cardamom to pineapple juice and that mustard seeds sauteed in coconut oil is a delicious garnish for almost any dish. It showed me how tea is made and what cardamom, vanilla and cinnamon look like when they are still plants. It fulfilled my dream of sleeping on a houseboat and then it let me cool off by swimming in its rivers. Oh yes, Kerala sets the bar pretty high.

On top of all that, it has my favourite hotel in India, the Old Harbour Hotel. Yoga in the morning on the rooftop and live music in the evening by the pool. Plus, it even has complimentary postcards in the rooms and y'all know by now how I feel about postcards.



I am currently on the road. It has been a month and a half since I left Mumbai. I traded in my position as intern in Mumbai to be a tourist in India. I have drank a lot of coconut water and have eaten a lot of dal. I have said good morning to the north and good evening to the south. I have walked in clockwise direction through temples and have bought flowers for blessings. It has been quite the journey and it will be ending soon with two weeks in the capital (which just so happens to have amazing street food).

Travel feeds a desire for quiet. Oh, the joy of quiet! And by quiet I don't necessarily imply being free from noise; instead, I think about being free from having to do this and having to respond to that. I mean being free from computers and their screens and distractions and all of those voices in your head. This article makes me even more convinced that we all need a break. Even though India is loud as loud can be (when I first arrived it didn't take me long to realize that Mumbai's honking borders on harassing), it has given me plenty of quiet. That and about a thousand recipes to try out when I return to my kitchen in Munich. Stay tuned.


postcards from jodhpur I

The blue city. Jodhpur riding breeches. A majestic fort. Cows everywhere. Saffron flavoured lassis (uh huh).

Yes, I liked it a lot.


put the lime in the coconut

I have many memories of dinner parties in Toronto ending with Harry Nilsson's 1971 hit "Coconut." The groovy rhythm of the song is made even groovier with the lyrics: "She put the lime in the coconut, she drank 'em both up." This song always makes me a little home sick. I can listen to it over and over and over.

I feel the same way about coconuts. I can eat 'em or drink 'em in any form day after day. Who even needs the lime, really? Coconuts are brilliantly versatile and having spent the past few months in India I am even more convinced that they are essential to any kitchen. I still get excited each time I drink fresh coconut water out of the shell. Fresh coconuts are obviously ideal for cooking; however, most of us aren't lucky enough to live near enough to where they grow. Coconut milk, water, oil, flour and shredded coconut are all pantry essentials. Bake with coconut oil instead of butter. Make hot chocolate with coconut milk instead of milk. Add shredded coconut to your granola or even in just a bowl of bananas and clementines. The possibilities are delicious, healthy, and endless.

Below are some PaperDollParade Recipes which feature coconut in some form (mostly milk or oil). You can be certain that when I return to my kitchen in Munich this list will quickly be twice as long. South India has taught me well (thanks Kerala for teaching me to pop mustard seeds in coconut oil to use as a garnish for pretty much everything).

Sweet Potato and Coconut Milk Pancakes with coconut milk and oil

Petits pots de creme au chocolat et pommes with coconut milk

Mango and Blueberry Cashew Cake with coconut oil

Mango and Coconut Milk Icepops

Carrot Oatmeal Cookies with coconut oil


it was magic

I couldn't help it. I was a tourist, overwhelmed, and with a camera. The fog, the early morning sun, and a building that I have known for years but only through foreign photographs and stories - it was magic.

I know that you too must know it well. You must know that it is as tall as it is wide and how white its marble shines, but I still can't help it. I have to share. I wish that you too can wake up one morning and be only a short rickshaw drive away from the Taj Mahal to see the sun rise from behind the fog.

Happy New Year! May 2012 be a magical one.

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