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2005 winter Texas Diary (2) Delicious Foreign Meals

This is the chef of our Indian meal, Joydeep, a PhD in plant biology. He is cutting the spices for Chai, which is my favorate tea. I am now his apprentice of him :). I also brought the ingredients home and I can make delicious Chai now.

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Joydeep told us rice is the main source of carbonhydrates in India, just like Taiwan. But the rice from India is longer than what we have in Taiwan. It is not as sticky either and it tastes really good.

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In India, they have curry in every meals and all kinds of curry such as vegetable curry, chicken curry, fish curry (as shown in the picture). The curry they have are kind of different than what we familiar with.

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I used to think that curry is just a spice which comes either as a powder or in chunks. After Joydeep explained everything, I finally realized that curry is a name for dish where we use different spices for different ingradients, just like our hotpots such as fish and pickled hotpot.
The yellow one on the right is vegetable curry and the one on the left is made from
two different kind of beans which taste especially good with rice.

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This is the spice cabinet that really impressed me. Joydeep brought most of them from India. Except some ready-made powder, most of them are actual seeds, flower stalks, or fruits from plants, with the majority from the Umbelliferae family. The usage of spices are not easy and just one or two small seeds can work wonders. In India, how well you cook really depends on how well you use the spices. Joydeep also mentioned that they have a spice garden in India in their backyard and they just grab what they need from the garden, grind it, and then use them right away. It is so cool, isn't it!!

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This is called "Dal", which is made from one kind of orange pea, onion and spices. People in India eat Dal every meal by mixing it with rice.

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The right hand is the utensil in India. First, we have to wash our fingers and nails well. Only the fingers will touch the food, not the palm. After mixing Dal and rice with our fingers, we hold the food with our fingers and use our thumb to push food into our mouth. You can lick your fingers afterward. This is my first experience eating Indian food. It is wonderful.

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Look, my palm is still clean after the meal. Joydeep said that I used my fingers very well.

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This is a dessert made from cheese with syrup. It came in a can and we just microwaved it before eating it. It is a very sweet dessert and it was too much for me. Joydeep said some people can have 10-20 of them at one time, gosh!!

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This is an authentic Romanian dish, called "sarmela". The way to make it is easy, just put meat and rice (mixed first) in pickled grape leaves and wrap it up. Then either bake or steam them. We had chicken flavor that night and I could not stop eating them.

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Dana said in Romania, they normally have bread in every meal with some other vegetables. Dana and Joydeep were both surprised to see how Ross and I can use chopsticks so well. They started practicing and see, Dana was able to pick up small stuff using chopsticks!! Good job.

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Joydeep is holding an asparagus using chopsticks. The way he holds chopsticks is excellent. Before they went home, they started competing with each other of using chopsticks.

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I really miss the time we spent together and don't know when we will get together again!! Dana just got a Post Doctoral position at South Dakota and left last week. I am so happy for her. Joydeep also works hard applying for jobs and I no doubt that he will find a good job for sure.

Dear Joydeep & Dana, I wish you luck for job hunting and thanks again for sharing these wonderful experiences with me!!

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