Going through my archive of photos I came across these images that I had taken a couple of years back in Rajasthan, India. Most of these photos were shot on the outskirts of Jodhpur in small villages. I applied a particular style to these images to give them the look that they have below. These styles were applied in Adobe Lightroom 4 initially using “Matt’s 300 Look – Soft” (by Matt Kloskowski) preset then modified to give them the final touch below.

Rajasthan children hugging each other, India

rajasthan-mother-and-child India

 

sadhu-vaishnavite-nepal-hindu The markings on a Hindu’s forehead quite often shares what sects he belongs to. There are four primary sects within Hinduism namely Saivism, Shaktism, Vaishnavism and Smartism. The markings on this sadhu’s forehead indicate that he is a Vaishnavite. Members of this sect worship the supreme God in the form of Vishnu.

The Kumbha Mela festival taking place next year in Allahabad is the largest gathering of sadhus anywhere in the world. Having attended the smaller Kumbha Mela festival 3 years ago I can truly say it is an experience not to be missed.

Our spiritual adventure to the Kumbha Mela in February 2013 is ideal for those seeking a spiritual journey and unparalleled photographic opportunities.

 

Well, if you can say the name of this dish then you can surely make it as it is easier than it sounds. And when you have one of these lentil balls (urandais) in your mouth you won’t be saying anything as it is absolutely delicious.

We learned this on our most recent spiritual and culinary adventure in South India in January 2012. When I first saw it being made in front of me I thought to myself that this takes a lot of work and I was hesitant to try it. But having tried it a week ago and realized how fairly simple it is I’ve made it twice now.

Here’s the recipe and I hope you’ll give it a go. Photos below are from cooking class during our culinary tour in South India.

Ingredients for Kola Urundai (Lentil balls)
1. Toor dhal (Pigeon peas) – half cup
2. Bengal gram dhal (black chick peas) – a handful
3. Raw rice – 2 teaspoon

Soak above for 15 mins, drain and keep aside. (I actually did it with only the Toor dhal)

4. Red chilly – 1
5. Garlic – 3 cloves
6. Aniseed – 1 teaspoon

Grind all the above (from 1 to 6), coarsely, and keep aside

7. Coconut shredded – quarter coconut
8. Onion shallots or small onions – 3, slice finely
9. Coriander leaves – 2 tablespoons finely cut
10. Curry leaves – 2 tablespoons finely cut
11. Turmeric – quarter teaspoon
12. Salt to taste

Mix all the above from (1 to 12) well.

Shape into balls and steam for 10 minutes, keep aside.

Ingredients for the gravy or sauce
1. Oil – 4 tablespoons
2. Cinnamon – 3 small sticks
3. Aniseed – 1 teaspoon
4. Onion shallots or small onions – 10 to 15, slice finely
5. Tomatoes – 4
6. Turmeric – quarter teaspoon
7. Chilli powder – 2 teaspoons
8. Coriander powder – 4 teaspoons
9. Water – 4 cups

Masala to be ground fine for the gravy
10. Coconut – half shredded
11. Poppy seeds – half teaspoon
12. Aniseeds – 1 teaspoon
13. Cumin seeds – 1 teaspoon

Grind fine from (10 to 13) and keep aside

The Method

Heat oil in pan.
Add the cinnamon and aniseed, stir till aniseed splutters (takes about half a minute).
Add the small onions and saute.
Add the tomatoes and saute.
Add the chilly powder, coriander powder and turmeric powder.
Add the ground gravy masala.
Add the water and boil for 5 minutes.
Add the steamed Kola Urundai one by one carefully in order not to break it.
Boil and remove from fire, decorate with coriander leaves.
Serve with rice.

Some of the ingredients...

Main ingredients for the kola urundai kolambu

These little dumpling like things are then steamed.

Dumplings are placed gently into the curry (sauce)

 

Here’s a recipe that we acquired on our recent spiritual and culinary adventure in South India. This Mint Chutney recipe was taught to us in the heart of Chettinad in Tamil Nadu state where they make some amazing food.

Ingredients required
Mint leaves – few sprigs
Shallots – 100gms
Garlic – 1 pod
Ginger – 1 inch
Coconut (grated) – half cup
Tamarind – Small quantity
Red chillies – 2 chillies
Salt – to taste
Oil – 1 table spoon

Preparation Method
1. Place a frying pan on the stove
2. Pour oil and heat
3. Add red chillies, finely chopped small onions, ginger, garlic and the remaining ingredients and mix well.
4. Then add the mint leaves and grated coconut
5. Remove the mixture after the coconut flavour disappears
6. Then grind the mixture in a grinder to make it a paste
7. Transfer the mixture to a bowl
8. Serve as a side dish…

We were so keen to eat this at the end that we forgot to take a photo of the final product….sorry!

 

Built in the pre-button era these washing stones will get your clothes clean for sure. I say pre-button era because with a few smacks of your shirt on this rock you are likely bound to loose a button or two. But it takes a skilled washer to wash your clothes on these rough surfaces and not tear them.
In many smaller villages and towns in India you’ll see men and women washing their clothes by rivers and in ponds. And the clothes come out very clean! Most of these clothes are then left to dry on bushes, along the banks of the river and pretty much anywhere that it won’t get stepped on.

Indian river washing stone

Indian women drying clothes on a river bank, Varanasi, India

 

Our spiritual and culinary adventure is coming to a conclusion and today we had our last cooking class. It was on two Chettinad style dishes. The first was “Mint Chutney” and the second “Kola Urundai Kolambu”.

Here’s the recipe for the “Mint Chutney” that we learned today.

Ingredients required
Mint leaves – few sprigs
Shallots – 100gms
Garlic – 1 pod
Ginger – 1 inch
Coconut (grated) – half cup
Tamarind – Small quantity
Red chillies – 2 chillies
Salt – to taste
Oil – 1 table spoon

Preparation Method
1. Place a frying pan on the stove
2. Pour oil and heat
3. Add red chillies, finely chopped small onions, ginger, garlic and the remaining ingredients and mix well.
4. Then add the mint leaves and grated coconut
5. Remove the mixture after the coconut flavour disappears
6. Then grind the mixture in a grinder to make it a paste
7. Transfer the mixture to a bowl
8. Serve as a side dish…

We were very keen to eat this at the end that we forgot to take a photo of the final product….sorry!

We gather for our final cooking class

Two recipes are being taught today...

Some of the ingredients...

Main ingredients for the kola urundai kolambu

These little dumpling like things are then steamed.

The Kola Urundai Kolambu is almost complete and tastes absolutely delicious

Markley poses with Amma (mother) after the cooking class. Nobody makes a meal better than Amma...Part of what we aimed to do on this culinary adventure is learn from mothers. And this Amma knows how to cook!

 

As we get ready for our two upcoming spiritual adventures at the end of January and February to India we share with you this inspiring video we came across on Vimeo. It’s titled Namaste India from Burning Flag. The description of the video reads “A short montage featuring some of the footage that we shot during Burning Flag Films, Cancer Train project in North West India.”