In Kathmandu, Nepal, before I went hiking to Everest, I learned some of these awesome Nepalese relishes, momos (dumplings), mushroom salads, and many more from these two young Nepalese home cooks.
While in Fort Cochin, Kerala, the city where Vasco de Gama died, there was this old lady famous for her traditional Southern Indian cooking, who I visited everyday persistently asking her to teach me how to cook her dishes. Probably got tired of my begging, so she finally gave in and had a whole week of private cooking lessons.
Diwali (Festival of Lights), I was in Karnal, a city three-hour away from New Delhi. I stayed in the ancestral house of a good Indian friend, Emmanuel (who used to be the main chef in one of the Michelin-starred restaurants in NYC) with his family. For a week I was their adopted Filipino son. Going back, in of one of the many meals cooked by my awesome friend’s mother and his father, a retired chef, I was blown away with one of the chutneys served, a boneless mutton atchar (pickle). So I requested my friend to network me to the maker of this pickle.
On my last day in New Delhi, I went to the house where these atchars (Indian term for pickle) were made. The housewife who made these magical pickles is used to be lawyer and a foodie who left her job to become a full fledged mother of two awesome kids. I was so curious with all the artifacts, antiques, and portraits and pictures of Indian royal families hanging on the walls of the house, then I learned that she is married to a guy whose lineage from the Maharajas (India’s former royal family). I was so lucky that she did not only tell me the century-old and guarded recipe from the former royal kitchen but she also showed me the complete (almost), complex, and the art of making these atchars.
Can’t thank them enough. I want to see them again in the future but for now I can’t wait to go back home and try my own take and interpretation on their dishes and recipes.
But where is home by the way… hahahaha…