For the first time since I arrived in Nepal, I cooked rice and tarkaari all by myself. And it was a success! Woot!
Rice and a vegetable dish. These are things I could cook confidently back home, no big deal. But I’m treading on new ground here. When I started, I didn’t even know how to boil milk (we get ours from the supermarket), I didn’t know how to chop vegetables (I mean, the way you cut it depends on the dish), or cook rice in a pressure cooker (we use the very obvious choice – a rice cooker). And I didn’t know how to make tea! Basic knowledge here, but Auntie had to explain to me the differences in the tea:sugar ratio between black tea (a little bit of tea, lots of sugar) and milk tea (lots of tea, less sugar). And obviously I didn’t know how much masala to add because it’s something we never use in Filipino cooking. I know my soy sauce, but that knowledge doesn’t count for much around here 😛
And the biggest lesson is: when in doubt, add more (and I mean this in the context of salt in dishes, and sugar in tea). People use so much of it here. It’s amazing how people walk around without diabetes (also from the large portions of rice) or kidney disease, or gout (from all the beans). Whereas two weeks into arriving here and my sodium levels are already on the higher end of normal. But I digress.
Another layer of complexity to this whole kitchen business is whether I should add garlic and other spices depending on whether someone is fasting or not. It’s complicated, and I don’t have this figured out yet, but I thankfully haven’t done anything unforgivable.
So that’s it! Happy news! 🙂
What about you? What is your first cross-cultural milestone?