I spent last November in India on a 300hrs yoga TT. I think it has been one of the happiest months of my life. Of course, when I got there I had a bit of cultural shock and events didn't play in my favor. I first spent the whole flight squeezed again the window because an old Indian man stared at me for the whole flight, saying that he loved me and started to come closer and closer... Once I got to New Dehli, I queued for 2 hours in line at the custom and missed my connection. I finally arrived in Bangalore, I jumped on the rickshaw and I got the only driver that didn't speak English (very unusual) and thought I was gonna die in a car crash every 2 minutes. He got mad and started to tell me to relax because I was visibly nervous saying "oh" "ah" "God" every car we overtook. I mean, we Italians are crazy drivers but nobody can beat Indians :-)
The first night, since the school was closed because I missed my plane and arrived later, the taxi dropped me at a house and I got really mad at myself. "Why couldn't you go to the school in Goa, on the beach, with nice accommodations, lots of western people??!", "Why do you always have to push yourself out of your comfort zone? What do you have to prove?!". This was my first night in India. I was miserable, tired, and hungry. The next day they showed me my room and I felt even worse: a dark dirty room I can't describe. Luckily after two days, another room was becoming available so I spent 2 nights in a hostel and went back for the beginning of the course. The new room wasn't nice but I had no choice. I surrendered myself, spent a day cleaning everything I could possibly clean, burn a lot of incense, and made it a bit cozy. As I always say, every negative situation has a positive side. In fact, my room brought me to meet an amazing person, Diana and we became very good friends.
That said, when I adjusted, I started loving it. There is something magic in India: the colors, the smells, the food, the people. I was practicing a lot of yoga, meditation, and pranayama that helped me to reach a very calm mental state but I think that the biggest part came from the energy that there was in Mysore. I have never been so peaceful (and who knows me know how restless I am all the time). It's a magic place where I can't wait to go back. I liked Indian food so much that after a month, when I got back and had dinner with my best friends, I begged them to go to Cittamani, an Indian restaurant in Milan. I was obsessed with their food: creamy, spicy, fresh, tasty, colorful. Everything was so amazing that didn't make me crave any meat, fish, or alcohol (one month record!)
I wish I had time to take cooking classes to learn from the woman who was cooking for us but the training was super intense.
Since I am a carb person, one of my fav things is their bread: Naan, Paratha, Roti, Dosa, Chapati... I tried different recipes and found the perfect one for Naan from my food blogger friend Robisinwonderland. It's delicious and fluffy and it's great because I can use my sourdough discards.
INGREDIENTS: (4 naans)
150gr sourdough discards
1 spoon of honey
100gr white yogurt
1 teaspoon baking soda
Mix the yogurt with the sourdough and honey
Add flour and salt
Knead for about 4 minutes, till is not sticky
Let it rest till it grows into an oiled bowl, covered for 4/5 hours at room temperature
Divide the dough into 4 balls and flatten them
Bring a pan (I use a cast-iron skillet) on hot and cook one naan at the time with a lid on the first 30 seconds on medium heat, continue without lid for another couple of minutes and flip it
I usually cook Naan when I prepare a curry. I season my Naan with melted ghee, garlic (sometimes) and my za'atar that I love. I use the rest of the yogurt to make a dip just mixing it with a finely shredded cucumber, garlic, salt and pepper.