DAY 03: JAIPUR [with working link]
Highlights: Sampling authentic Rajasthani Mawa Kachori for breakfast, learning to make delicious Northern Indian dishes such as palak paneer, dum aloo, and homemade chapatti with Chef Lokesh, shopping for beautiful textiles and artisan goods in Babu Bazaar and Johari Bazaar, stopping at the famous LMB restaurant for a saffron lassi (a Jaipur favorite).
The day started off with a sampling of Mawa Kachori, a delicate & sweet Indian pastry filled with nits and dried fruits. Rajasthan is known for its sweets and pastries, and we plan on trying as many as we can. While Northern India has many delicacies and sweets – Rajasthan arguably has the best. We kept our breakfast light, preparing for our morning cooking class with Chef Lokesh.
We arrived at Chef Lokesh’s home to find a beautiful array of spices and fresh fruits and vegetables on the table. From the start we could see that oru first cooking class in India was going to be a highlight of the trip. Chef Lokesh proceeded to teach us about each spice, explaining how it would be used in the recipes during our cooking lesson. The smells of cardamom, clove, cumin, and hot chili filled the air as he passed around each container. On the menu were six dishes: Aloo tiki, vegetable korma, palak paneer, jeera pulao, chapatti, and rice kheer.
Three hours passed by in the blink of an eye, and by the end of the afternoon we had six delicious dishes sitting in front of us. Throughout the day we learned how to make iNdian paneer (fresh cheese) with only milk and vinegar and were taught how to craft the perfect Garam Masala spice mixture from cumin, cardamom, coriander, and cinnamon. We shaped our own potato and spice dumplings (aloo tiki) and rolled our own chapatti bread (Indian flatbread). As we added each ingredient to the vegetable korma and palak paneer, Lokesh taught us how to properly measure, stir, and taste – ensuring a delicious outcome. When the dishes were finished, we sat down with Lokesh and his wife and enjoyed the scrumptious food that we had prepared.
Our cooking class was followed by a visit to the Old Pink CIty, home to some of the best shopping bazaars in all of India. Designers from all across the world flock to Rajasthan to take advantage of the unique hand-printed textiles, intricately carved wood products, and perfectly painted ceramics – so we figured we needed to take a visit as well! Babu Bazaar and Johari Bazaar were our first stops. We walked the narrow pink streets, finding ourselves immersed in a haven of textiles and art. By the end of the evening we had a beautiful collection of artisan goods: hand-woven textiles, “Anthropologie” door nobs, camel leather bags, and traditional copper serving platters.
On the way back to our hotel at Pearl Palace Heritage we stopped in at LMB Restaurant, home to the best lassi in all of Jaipur. The most famous is the saffron lassi, a think yogurt drink flavored with cardamom, saffron, and crushed pistachios. The drink was delicious, the perfect way to end a great day.