Friday, August 15, 2008

Tell-A-Tale (Part 15): HairyBerry's Delhi Belly

Recently, after my trip to India, I discovered the meaning of a Delhi Belly. Rather unpleasant, I must say.

But did I get myself a Delhi Belly when I was there?

I was awed, yes, AWED by India’s thalis, vegetarian or not. It was all about the variety. Tasty varieties. From the very touristy version to the Rajasthani’s, every set was an explosion of colours and flavours. Consisting of tangy starters, flavoursome mains (rice included) and sweet desserts (imagine gulab jamun…with ice cream!), it was completeness at its best. I’m still AWED.

Familiar sights. The ever-filling rotis; naan and parantha. But don’t expect anything lesser than those with fillings like mashed potatoes, mint, onions, mixed vegetables and paneer (cottage cheese). A good complement to the spicy curries.

Some snacks to munch while awaiting the mains? Gladly. Pyramidal samosas filled with minced lamb or chicken, decorated with crunchy vegetable cubes and a generous amount of spices. Too spicy, say you? Perhaps a milder, smoky vegetable sheekh will tantalize your tastebuds. Remember to dip it into that chilled, mint raita (dahi) for a taste of culinary juxtaposition. Or perhaps some juicy momos, crispy-skinned fried paneer...or simply, savoury papads?

Delving into the mains, the all-time favourite briyani rice is the best bet. Saffronized long-grained rice, laced with aromatic spices and purified butter. The taste lingers. But of course, one should never forget the pulaos as well. Dig deeper, and one may find pieces of chicken, mutton or simply, eggs for added flavours. And how is it possible not to complement the rice with the rich, spicy, crimson-hued Mughlai Chicken/Mutton? Let the combination of cinnamon, cardamom seeds, garam masala, star anise and yoghurt bowl you over. There’s also the familiar soft, charred tandoori chicken for the unconvinced.

We can’t possible neglect the ubiquitous yet distinctive South Indian cuisine. The endless sides including dahi vadai, onion bajji, appam and ghee paper masala dosai will keep one entertained. When it comes to rice, specials like bisi bela bath (a blend of spiced rice and lentils), pullogare (tamarind rice) and chitranna (lemon rice) sure provide a good exposure as to how interesting life is beyond the plain, white rice.

Youngsters (or youngeesthanis, they call it) prefer to be hip. And hipsters eat what’s cool. And happenin’. Like the Maharaja Burger from I’m Lovin’ It. Think Big Mac, where beef is substituted with curried chicken patties. Pizza? Yes, Indianized with toppings like kadai chicken and murg mussalam. The masala lemonade’s definitely for the adventurous at heart. And Khan ChaCha at Khan Market got the huge crowd goin’ with their snacks like the mutton seekh kabab roomali roll and chicken tikka roomali roll.

When it comes to desserts, sweets are seriously sweet. No in-betweens. I can’t forget that cooling kulfi on a summer’s night in Jaipur. Frozen milk, embedded with nuts and candied fruits, it was divine. That hot, firm rawa kesari bath sets a nice, sweet tone to a scrumptious South Indian meal. Like falling into Willy Wonka’s factory, India’s dessert shops are full of shapes and colours. And immensely sweet. From a plain milk cake to the green coconut barfi to a crunchy badam pista to the what I call sweet muruku (syrup drenched deep-fried batter called jalebis), one can be assured of a sugary high.There is also the Swiss confectionary pioneer, Wenger’s, to provide pastries like fig tarts, coconut macaroons and cheesecake tarts, which are equally sweet and rich.

What is a trip to India without a cup of chai? Smooth, aromatic and sweet. A sip of India.

In most restaurants, when one asks for the bill, a tray (or bowl or plate) of cumin seeds and rock sugar is presented. A natural mouth-freshener.

So, to answer the earlier question on whether I developed a Delhi Belly in India.

Yes, I did.

A good Delhi Belly at that.

None of those unpleasantnesses.

But one full of colours, spiciness and flavours.



J2Kfm said...

that was a whole lot of food ...
amazing array, so colourful, so delicious.

gimme a belly or two anytime. :)

Ciki said...

really .. u didn't get the real bad dehli belly? iv got2 get tips from you.. coz i'll be there inext month - sept! touch wood.. i hope to be as lucky as u. but i am known to have a week stomach when travelling.. haha.. not use to non-Msian bugs. any tips how not to get the runs?

ling239 said...

so much food !!
and they are so colorful....^_^

Unknown said...

i never really get to eat indian food a lot, but i guess we should always be more adventurous and try diff food. haha


choi yen said...

I saw something like dumpling (gao zi)~~

The cumin seeds & rock sugar can eat?

Bernsy said...

your thalis' pics were awesome...

LiquidShaDow said...


Looks like Delhi was great for your belly. I noticed that in one of the pictures, there is a egg dum briyani. I was just wondering since the process of dum briyani imparts the ingredient into the rice, how does it work out for the egg version?

Anyway, if you're game for our Indian food here, feel free to let me know eh?

fatboybakes said...

OMIGOD. i am sure lemongrass will be hopping onto the next flight to the subcontinent to discover her culinary roots. GORGEOUS.

Camemberu said...

WHOA. the food looks belly good indeed!!!!

Jun said...

at least u din get a hairy belly hahaha...

HairyBerry said...

j2kfm, yupe, i felt it was colourful as well! haha, talking about bellies, i wish i can pass mine to someone else! haha!

cumi & ciki, nope, no delhi belly at all! ;D perhaps i can email you on some reliable brands of mineral water and all lar. actually, i feel that the food in india is ok. as long as they look hygienic. a reference to the travel guides like lonely planet will be helpful. oh, bring along some 'poh chai' pills. the best remedy, anytime, anywhere! ;D

ling239, hehe, i think if i stay there any longer, i will come back 5 kgs heavier d...haha!the food is definitely colourful! and yummy as well! :D

brad, yupe, i agree! we should be more adventurous when it comes to food ;D i think there are a few good indian restaurants in singapore as well. am looking forward to it! ;D

mimi, oh, the gao zi is called momo. it's a signature dish from nepal. it's like xiu long bao, without the soup. ;D there's a shop in kl that serves momo as well. it's called the Khukri. ;D

bernsy, thanks for the compliment, dude! aiyoh, the taste is even better. the vegetarian version is damn shiok and not too spicy as well. quite affordable and gerenti kenyang one!

liquidshadow, yeah, i thought of that as well. i guess they must have cooked the eggs on top of the rice and peeled the shell off just before serving. darn, i should have asked the staff there. haha! hey, you game for indian food in singapore? ok, will email ya!

fatboybakes, i was like promoting india to lemongrass and i dont think she's interested at the moment. how about you? september's a good time to go there...heard MAS is having sale now. it's like RM600 cheaper than my ticket! argghhh! and thanks for the gorgeousness! ;D

camemberu, hehehe, belly belly good indeed. hmmm, perhaps we can call it bellywood from now on. sounds like a culinary funland! the main actors will be the bryani and chicken mughlai! ;D

jun, actually hor, i always have a hairy belly. hehehe...ok, too much information. dun wan to spoil your breakfast, or lunch..errr, dinner as well..haha!

backStreetGluttons said...

your excellent descriptive pixs of real India Indian Cuisine will have your good friend LL waxing lyrical for sure

for that keen attention to ancient details you are hereby awarded the
coveted bsg Photographic Award for:

explicit touches of fine ancient cuisine outside the Far East , 3rd Q 2008

congratulations !

Lyrical Lemongrass said...

In response to FBB and BSG, what for wanna go to India when I produce pot after pot of the same good stuff in my kitchen?? :-P :-P :-P

Seriously though, your pics take the cake lar. Beautiful angles, and splendid colours. I bow down before greatness.


Live2Talk said...

The food sure looks rich in flavor and spices. So are you now the unofficial hairy expert err i mean chinese expert on indian cuisine?

sc said...

when i read the beginning of your post, i thought you had bad diarrhea when you were in india! :p man, the food looks so beautiful and colourful! really befits the bollywood land!

Bernsy said...

really have to intro to me the good indian stuff here in KL wei....

Kenny Mah said...

I rename this post: Breads. Rice. Pizzas. Desserts. Aiyo, I'm getting a Delhi Belly just from looking at them pictures alone! :P

Did you really eat ALL that food???

Unknown said...

oh man! i will visit India to eat all those stuff!

I love Indian food.
They look much nicer than any of the indian food I posted before. haha...

I love those cumin and rock sugar 'breathe fresheners'. In Singapore, some have cardamon too.

Lovely lovely lovely post!!!

Tummythoz said...

Wow, and you can remember all the dishes' names! *bow low low*

Christine said...

the belly is all worth it..u'll never get anything the same here huh..colorful array..distinctive taste...and very single particular details..voila man

Jason said...

Such an awesome parade of art and food. Is that a summary of what you had throughout the trip or just in one day????

HairyBerry said...


sc, oh, me too! i brought a dozen of poh chai pills there. took two bottle (out of kiasuism) but that's it! it was not as bad as i thought! and yes, the food was excellent! just like the movies...oh, and actresses ;D

bernsy, oh, me looking for the real deal as well! well, i guess brickfields' kinda good. i lurve indian food at sentul. the one next to the st. james church at jalan ipoh's kinda good as well! but where to get good north indian food ar? hmm, must consult LL d...hehehe...

kenny, bingo! well, you left out meat though. ;D haha, i'm salivating thinking about it as well! long live delhi belly, well, the good one la..hehe

yupe, i did eat ALL the food. with my travelling friend, that is. there are somemore in the archive but i was too lazy to upload all..ehehe

keropokman, too bad got no budget airline that flies to delhi. i heard chennai's a good place for south indian cuisine! *wink wink*

no lar, i believe the indian food we have here in malaysia/singapore is mostly southern-inspired. hence the difference in presentation. must look for a good northern one! ;D

oh, i din know that cardamon is part of the freshener! hmmm, saya mau cuba lar! ;D

tummythoz, hehe, thanks for the compliment. actually, i just write what i can remember. there are many that i have forgotten as well. but the taste lingers lar...woah, so jiwang hor, me..hehe

christine, mucho gracias! well, i think if the food is good, it will stay in the mind for quite sometime. perhaps that's why i remember some of the details. i miss the food!

jason, hahaha! confirm it's a summary. one day eat liddat, i think it's not delhi belly already. maybe exploded belly..hehe..yeah, now that you mentioned it, some of the presentations did appear rather artful! good eye, you! ;D

Precious Pea said...

Food looks good! So colourful and appetizing. Did you get any spices home? I heard they have lots more there that we can't find here.

Big Boys Oven said...

lovely just lovely spread of food discovery you have there, such a temptation . . lovely food culture!

HairyBerry said...

precious pea, yupe, yummy indeed! ;D i didnt get any spice back leh, cos my lugagge full of books ppl selling saffron on the streets also...aiyah, should have bought some...misssed! ;<

bigboysoven, yes, you are right! lovely food culture indeed! i'm inspired to do a mughlai chicken...but must find time lar...hehehe

Rarebeet said...


MMMMMMM. 3 weeks to go! Thanks for sharing all the info, it was very helpful. When I am licking whats leftover of my thali, I will think of you. Not in that way. Ah. Uh...

HairyBerry said...


anytime, paps, anytime. ohhh, sounds yummy! haha! oh, dont forget the mughlai chicken/mutton as well...oh, and the bryanis!

Unknown said...

Fantastic pictures, I found them whilst doing a Wenger's search!
I'm off for my third three monther in India soon. I find that my diary is very nearly all about food also.
Thanks for the inspiar=tional photographs again,
Chris, Cambridge, UK

HairyBerry said...

thanks for dropping by, Chris! Have a good time in India! :D