While I was excited to take a cooking class in Jaipur, what I found so much more interesting and valuable to me was being the way that I felt integrated into the family dinner. After cooking, sitting around the diner table with the parents to my left and the older children to my right I had the odd the feeling of being part of the family, if just for a passing moment or two. The food was of course wonderfully put together and quite enjoyable! I added most of the recipes to the bottom of this post.
The Good: Attended a family dinner at someone’s home and was integrated into the family dynamics, watched how to cook lots of interesting Jaipur Indian food, conversations with the family, got to be in a locals home.
The Bad: It was more of a cooking demonstration with an opportunity to learn
How to organize your Jaipur Cooking class: Organize the jaipur cooking class through your guide
The Setup of the Jaipur Cooking Class
We knocked on the door of a typical Jaipur home and were greeted by two big smiling, friendly faces who appeared to be quite excited to see us! Since we were unsure what the experience would be like, being welcomed into their home like this was an instant relief. We entered and were escorted to a room with a two seater platform with pillows on it that faced the cooking area. The cooking area appeared to be a table that could be folded up and put away, but at this moment they had a stove-top burner on the table that was hooked into a gas canister to provide heat/fire. The rest of the room was fairly barren with only a few pictures or religious items on the walls.
The Jaipur Family Members
In addition to the man and woman who greeted us at the door, they introduced us to their 14 year old daughter and one of their cousins who was 20. Everyone’s English was perfect and there was a lot of curiosity between us and them leading to excellent conversations about what they were learning in school, what their goals were, where we had traveled, what New York City was like and of course the media that everyone enjoyed.
The Jaipur Cooking Servant
The one thing that surprised me, was that they had a servant helping them. I thought that it was odd because they were not a rich family, in fact they reminded me of my family growing up. Doing well enough, but not exceedingly so. I was reminded of how average families in China often had butlers and servants, but it was a cultural thing that I didn’t question even though I was curious about it.
Sitting across from the cooking area we started by discussing the spices and the chicken – which was being marinated on the table. We were allowed to have tastes of each of the spices to better understand the unique flavors of Jaipur and how they were combined to create the tastes of the evening.
Jaipur Cooking Class – the Cooking!
In the midst of our happy conversations, they were actively cooking and answering our questions along the way, teaching us about how they made a home cooked meal for the family. While the simple things like Chapati bread was a regularly cooked item, for us it was quite different and tasty – along with the comments from the younger family members, “we have this like.. every night”. What made it cool was that they took the dough and essentially put it directly on the flame where it puffed up to an excellent tasting meal accompaniment. They let me give it a try too.
Jaipur Cooking Class – Takeaways
The meal was good, but nothing compares to the feeling I had of being at home. That feeling mid-trip of not eating out at a restaurant or in your hotel but instead joining a family for dinner in their house. That is what the best part of this cooking class was. The recopies I now have to make at home will always bring me back to that time, to the feeling I had while cooking and eating it with my temporary Jaipur Family.