Cooking With Kurma

Kurma Dasa

Kurma's South American Tour

Cooking With Kurma > Travel Diary > South America

Part Four: São José do Rio Prêto, Brazil

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Day Fourteen

click for larger imageThe menu for this morning's class consisted of some of my favourites. Avyakta, with the aid of his wife (who was translating), had spent the evening before typing up the recipes in Portugese. The star of the show was the ubiquitous pushpana rice. I say ubiquitous not because it is a common dish - far from it - but because I have been cooking it everywhere in South America. 

click for larger imageThe rice is a delectable Mogul-inspired dish of saffron infused basmati rice with a whole range of sweet and hot spices, plus a host of nuts and dried fruit like cashews, almonds, raisins and sultanas. Also appearing were gobi aloo bhaji, tender chunks of potato and cauliflower fried in ghee and deluged in ginger, chili and black pepper-infused sour cream. Absolutely decadent, but I thought the sensual Brazilians could handle it. And they did! Only a couple of students spoke a little English, but the universal language of food and cooking transcended whatever linguistic shortcomings got in our way.

click for larger imageI shared the art of chapati making, and together we kneaded the dough, rolled out little nuggets into beautifully thin breads, and cooked them slowly in cast-iron pans, before finally puffing them over naked flames and brushing them with butter while they were still hot. We also cooked some spicy, flakey Malaysian curry puffs, filled with peas, potatoes, sweet potatoes and carrots, all diced very small, and a nose-tingling tomato chutney - too hot to bear and too sweet to resist. A cooling corn raita accompanied the meal, and for dessert, more of those yummy strawberry malpouras. The local strawberries were very large and very sweet, with lots of flavour and aroma.

click for larger image We also prepared a spicy tea - called masala chai in Hindi - which Avyakta's wife translated as Cha Quente com Condimentos. So melodic! The class was small but enthusiastic, and everyone enjoyed the cultural experience, and relished the lunch with gusto. To top-off the action-packed day, some crew from the local Channel 7 TV network came and interviewed me for their program Tudo Aqui (roughly translated as 'everything is here'). We shared the food from the class with all the crew, who waxed lyrical between voracious bites. Tomorrow we will drive to São Paulo for the next leg of our Brazilian adventure. But now it's time for a little rest from all the action.

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