I expected that it would all be too "hot with chilli"
for me. What a pleasant surprise! There was so much that seemed
to be quite mildly spiced that I had a great choice and also had
some really wonderful food that was not spiced with any chillis.
The paani puris sold on myriad roadside stalls was my absolute favourite.
Apparently it is made with a deep fried semolina ball/puff. This
is really light and crispy. Then the ball is lightly tapped on the
top to break it and reveal the inside of the "ball" which
is then filled with something not hot and a fabulous mint sauce
(very thin but flavoursome) is poured over. The mint sauce, being
so thin, quickly runs everywhere so you basically eat it in one
mouthful. Absolutely fabulous!
In Gujurat, where Ghandi had his ashram, almost everyone is vegetarian
and it is quite difficult to even find a hotel or restaurant that
serves any meat. I am not vegetarian but we had some of the most
wonderful food while there. Almost enough to make me turn vegetarian!
We also had a great drink - they are also non-alcoholic in the
region but individuals can get a licence to buy alcohol from the
government run stores and consume it in private (like in your hotel
room). Most of the people who get licences seem to be people from
other states in India who are in the armed forces and stationed
in Gujrat. There seems to be a belief that it would be grossly unfair
to deny military personnel their alcohol!
The drink was a combination of lime juice, coriander and mint.
I think it may also have had some sugar in it because I tried to
make it and I added salt and it really didn't taste right. Just
put the lime, fresh coriander, fresh mint in a blender, add iced
water and "Bob's your uncle".
I am not sure what he was making but he probably also sold
These are definitely paani puri puffs.
Almost anywhere you went, water was immediately brought out.
However, unless it was bottled I didn't dare drink. Almost
all hotels have bottled water for you, all businesses we went
to gave us bottles as soon as we arrived but one hotel gave
us "purified water". They said it was just a safe
as bottled water but.........
In Ahmedabad, a few stalls and a few tables and chairs! It
wasn't exactly a cafe, just somewhere to sit and eat and drink
after you had bought something from one or more of the stalls.
Outdoor cafes were plentiful. Sometimes they were pretty
basic but mostly they served good food and drinks anyway.
Coffee and tea usually had condensed milk though - you only
got fresh milk in hotels and restaurants.
This was a slightly more up-market cafe where we just had
a coffee and masala tea on our way to Delhi. Initially masala
tea threw me. I was expecting "english breakfast"
so I thought it must have "gone off"! When I realised
that it was actually a different drink entirely, I began to
appreciate it. I especially liked it when the masala used
had a strong cinnamon flavour. I think masala tea always used