Saturday, July 23, 2011
Here in Bangalore, the kitchens are quite a bit different from what I am used to at home. Here the kitchen is essentially a bunch of cabinets and a sink. No stove, no oven, no dishwasher, no hot water faucet, and no clean water (water filters or delivered water is a must here).
Today we did our best to make the kitchen functional. Jason had already purchased a refrigerator and microwave from the previous tenants, so that was definitely a good start. But we were still missing quite a few things, like - well everything.

Our first large purchase was a standard cooking stove for Bangalorians. Here's a photo below.

I'm not sure if you can tell by the above, but the stove is basically a set of four hotplates. The unit sits on the cabinet, and is powered by a gas canister, similar to the tanks connected to outside barbecue grills in the States, only about twice the height. We apply for a gas account with a private company here and exchange the tank when it is empty for a new one.  I've heard from our neighbor that Indian nationals can apply for a subsidized account with the local government, and one of our taxi drivers said that petrol (automobile gasoline) is also subsidized and much cheaper than the $3.75ish a gallon we shell out in the States.
But I digress.
Since we got one of the fancier cooking units (they come in smaller sizes and you can get single burner, double, etc) we got a free set of pots and pans thrown in. I was excited about this, because we plan on hiring a cook I'm really not sure what she needs to make a meal. We plan on making our experience here genuine, and asking her to prepare some local favorites before insisting she learns to cook "American style". I'm hoping we like the food well enough that I don't have to teach her any new dishes, because frankly, I'm pretty clueless about cooking on a gas grill, and my recipe repertoire is already dented when I can't use beef. We're a pretty bland, meat and potatoes kind of family, but my hope is that we can all learn to love fruits and vegetables while here.

Anyway, from what I can tell, Thanksgiving turkey sized ovens are almost non-existent here, and the only chance we have for baked goods is through a small, toaster-sized version. That eliminates one of the two things I know how to cook - frozen pizza. The other -  spaghetti  - was already out because of the no beef thing. I guess I can make it with tomato sauce only. Or substitute chicken or pork and see if Jason notices. :)

As for the water filter, Jason got a pretty fancy one of these too. Reverse osmosis, UV bacteria killing, lots of other things I don't know what are...the works. I'm assuming the water is good to go after all of this.

We also bought a 6 person set of dishes so we can finally stop using all of Jason's paper plates. (Yes 6 place settings, this means anyone is allowed to visit....we'll be able to feed you at the same time!) I'd complain about not having a dishwasher too, but I gotta say, I am really enjoying having a maid that takes care of the the dishes every morning. I try not to think about the fact that since we haven't yet been approved for a gas account, all of our dishes are being washed in cold water only. Wish us luck on that process, the gas rep is supposed to stop by tomorrow.


Amy @ Hungry Hungry Hippos said...

Came across your blog on Expat-blog and love it! I'm an American in Hyderabad who has been here for a year and since I LOVE cooking (er... eating?) I was really interested in this post! We are very lucky to have an American-style oven but I think the gas burners will definitely do the trick for most cooking you need done. If you hire a cook/maid you will definitely need a pressure cooker (for dal and such) and a blender so she can make the ginger-garlic paste that's the root of most dishes. A very wide, short-rimmed pan specifically for parathas and chapatis is also invaluable! Some cooks also prefer a chapati press to make roti, but others prefer to use their hands. Happy Indian cooking :) :)

Lorenda said...

Thanks! Our new cook starts tomorrow, and she's promised to take the entire family on a shopping expedition. We'd already gone grocery shopping at one of the large retail stores, and when I told her the name of the place (SPAR), she dismissed it as "foreign food".

I had to laugh and tell her "foreign food is all I know!" so I'm really looking forward to tomorrow.

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