Going to Yanbu? Make sure you pack these...

Thursday, December 04, 2014

What should I pack from India?

When I disclosed my plans to move to Saudi to my family and friends - they all were quick to start advising. With these advises, a  preconceived notion  that  everything in gulf is expensive, you will not get items to make your home food, there are no blender to make chutney, pack all the spice powders, take a pressure cooker, ... etc... etc.. etc. was born. I was tired of hearing these unsolicited advice from all the aunties, neighbours, acquaintances. The worst is when you are caught between your family and your man. He travels light and expects me to do the same. But I am moving to a new place and setting up a home, so I thought we needed to carry a lot of stuff.

So I asked him one thing which I felt was important and if that is available, then rest assured everything else also would be available. - any guesses?

I asked, "Do you get urad dal and idli rice to make idlis?" 

Honestly, when I asked this, I had never made idli batter before. But I love idli and samabar. He confirmed that we do get the stuffs to make idli as one of his colleague is from Chennai and he does it very often. So problem solved!

I was the happiest soul when he said,  "Just get a few cloths and all your shoes!" - :-)

I packed most of the cloths I had and most of my lovely shoes and a yoga mat (which btw is resting in a corner ever since) My mom insisted I take the smallest pressure cooker as its just two of us. She also made the diamond cut chips and unniappam. I could not say no to her and so packed all of that. My MIL gave me a bottle of lime pickle and some bambino vermicelli to make his favourite dish (fearing I might not get that here). He was reluctant to take all of these but I convinced him. Didn't wanna make the mothers feel bad.

Happily arrived at the Kingdom with my lovely shoes all carefully packed lest it loses its shape. It took us almost a month to have the kitchen up. Now we had to fuel it - so off to the supermarket here - I was so happy to find every little thing I know to cook. :-)

So here in Yanbu, a few things are hard to find or stocks don't last forever:

  1. Asofedita (hing) - I haven't found this yet! - but we are ok.

  1. Chakki atta (fine wheat flour) - This is not there in any of the supermarket. However we did find a small time mill that sells this.

  1. Dried red chilli - I bought a pack and its over, I don't remember from where I got it. But it isn't available yet.

  1. Sambar powder - he got it from a small shop

  1. Curry leaves - are available but doesn't last for long. So I dry, crush and stock. It gives the same flavour.

  1. Pressure cooker Indian style - Thanks to my mom I still use what she gave. I did buy from here and haven't used it more than once. I am not comfortable with it at all.

  1. Turmeric powder

  1. Fenugreek seeds

  1. Garam masala - I tried making my own by grinding the spices but just that haven't mastered it. But I have in stock now...

But this shortage didn't really stop me from cooking any of the Indian food. There is always ways to find an alternative or substitute. Moreover, I look at this as an opportunity to learn to cook what the locals eat. It was fun to try something new with spices that I had never used before. More on that later...

When you have time, experiment and learn new things. 

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