I cannot describe how excited I got, when I finally set up my kitchen properly. It felt like I had moved to a new home. I still cannot believe, how I managed without cooking.


This was my kitchen before. Just a microwave. And here is what I cooked during my five months in India: tea, green tea, mint tea, popcorn (butter flavored), cup noodles, once ready-made upma and once idlies. Needles to say, I basically survived with outside food. I still don’t know how to make anything with microwave, and I think it is a urban myth that you even can cook anything with it.  Although, along with the microwave came a small LG’s microwave cooking book, and it has a recipe for Paneer Tikka. That I will try to make one day with microwave, just out of curiosity (and maybe because it happens to be one of my favorite dishes).

So, why the sudden change of mind to start cooking? Cooking always has been close to my heart since I came a vegetarian, around 10 years a go. It feels great to sit down over delicious meal after all the effort put preparing it. And there is something meditative in cooking, while chopping onions or stirring vegetables on your frying pan, you can let your thoughts flow and forget all your troubles. In the beginning when I came here, I though, “OK, six months I’m spending here, why to bother buying any equipments here, as I only leave then behind when I go back”. Also, there is so many good restaurants, and eating outside isn’t expensive. So I decided to take a break from cooking.

 But, as I’m not in a hurry back to Finland, and my Visa is valid for one year, I decided to ask my boss, If he is ok me staying longer. As he showed me green light, I think I’m spending some more time here. And while this was decided, I also decided that something I have to do on my free time, eating take-away and watching movies after work is getting boring, I need activities. So, my grand plan was to start cooking my own food and learn Hindi. This decided, next Monday I bought myself cooking set for kitchen and signed up for basics of Hindi, as I’m embarrassed not really learning a one word in five months. And what does it matter if I leave this stuff behind when I leave? I just leave it here, and next one living here can use them, so it’s not going to waste.

So, lets start up a kitchen. Little consultation session with co-workers, little Googling and plan was ready: march to the nearest store selling kitchen appliances and buy two induction stoves and whatever needed. I was instructed to go to small store, used also by locals, and not to those fancier bigger ones, as I could save some money. And luckily for me, this store also offered all that I could think of needing: frying pans, sauce pots, knives, etc etc. And luckily luckily for me, my co-worker Kiran came with me, and so much help she was for me, with talking to the salesperson, who didn’t speak so good English, and negotiating me better price! And also, telling me “that’s enough” and dragging me out of the store, as I had bought half a store and spent almost all my money.

 So eagerly I rushed back to my apartment with two huge plastic bags to set up my kitchen. After doing that I realized I don’t have anything to cook and almost no money to buy anything and I was pretty tired. But that wouldn’t do! I had to cook something with my new set. Fortunately, food in India is not so expensive, and just around the corner there is a small supermarket. There I went, spent last of my money to simple ingredients, and made very simple food: Simple it was, but let me tell you, at the moment it honestly was one of the best dishes I have tasted in five months.
 More about that in my next post.



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