Discover Indian cuisine: Learn from locals how to cook Indian food

I always wanted to visit India, and it always fascinated me. I wanted to see the Taj Mahal even before I went to school. But after booking my tickets, I started to research the Indian food topic. I was scared of getting food poisoning. Also, I had no idea what food to eat and where from. I really wanted to discover the real Indian cuisine. So the first dinner I had in India, was an Authenticook home-cook food experience in Delhi. I learnt from a local what an Indian food menu looks like, the real taste of Indian food and saw and learnt how to cook Indian food. And then I did try the same food experience in Varanasi. Here is why you have to try the home-cooked food experience in India if you want to discover the Indian cuisine.

First of all, I have to say I am not a big fan of spices, but the Indian spices are famous. The Indian food recipes are spicy and famous worldwide, but to come to India and not see how there are made and how locals live their lives and cook their food would be a waste. I always recommend getting in touch with a local, to be your guide or just talk about his/her country. And in India, a lot of that talk will be about Indian food.

India is a very affordable country and learning about Indian food is a must. That’s why I started researching Indian food experiences and discovered Authenticook, a platform which offered real Indian cooking class and dining experiences hosted by a local family. This is the kind of experiences I am after, because the people who do this, do it for the love of sharing their culture with others, and are open to questions. Otherwise, it’s hard to find genuine people to talk to. This is especially hard in touristic spots, where everyone wants to sell you something.

Me, Edi and Moushumi in South Delhi

How does the home-cooked food experience in India work?

Once you decided to go for the home-cooked food experience in India, you just need to book the experience on the Authenticook website, pay for it and then show up at the designated time and location. The hard part will de be to decide what kind of Indian food do you want. Each host offers a pre-established menu, but you can also ask for something a bit more special if you have any special dietary needs. For example, I asked for a vegan menu and both of our hosts were extremely kind to adapt their menu for us.

As the first dinner in India was a home-cook dinner hosted by Authenticook, I can say I was much more confident for my Indian trip and food experiences. I am saying this, because India is famous for its street food diversity, but also because most street vendors don’t speak English and requiring explanations in India is a topic I don’t want to get in right now.

As a general fact about Indian cuisine, I can say that it all has a purpose in the process of cooking. The Indian spices, the masala, the Indian food appetizers, the order of all of these. Everything serves a purpose.

Cooking at our host’s home in Varanasi

Learn real Indian recipes with Authenticook

If you want the real food experience in India, look no further. This is the best option and you will love the Indian food menu the hosts provide. If you are vegetarian, be reassured that the Indian cuisine will delight you with vegetarian food and you will ask for a second plate.

Indian spices. Discover Indian cuisine: Learn from locals how to cook Indian food Authenticook experience

The main ingredient in real Indian recipes is masala. What is masala?

Basically, masala means a mix. But when talking about Indian cuisine, masala is the famous mix of the most used Indian spices, but they are roasted and then grided into a fine powder. The spices most commonly found in masala are coriander, cumin, cardamom, black pepper, fennel, mustard seed, red chilli pepper, cloves and turmeric.

Indian families all have their spices (and more) in their kitchen and then masala is treated just like any other spice and added after the rest of the spices have been added in the cooking pot. It is exactly how any Indian recipe begins. Spices first, food later.

Discover Indian cuisine: Learn from locals how to cook Indian food Authenticook experience

Learning all about Indian cuisine from locals

I got to have a better understanding of how Indians eat and why they eat the way they do because I was able to learn about Indian cuisine from locals.

How do I know all of this about Indian spices and masala? Thanks to our hosts: Moushumi in Delhi and Richa in Varanasi, who we found through Authenticook.

Again, talking to locals will enhance your experiences in India and set the bar high if you ever decide to visit an Indian restaurant outside India. I remember I did that some years ago, and the food was so spicy. There was no explanation on what spicy means and how to eat it. And while I was in India, I can say I truly enjoyed Indian food, the Indian spices in my food and the kind people who guided me through my meal choices. And for this, I have to thank my Authenticook hosts, Moushumi and Richa.

I have to warn you, Indian families are the friendliest and most welcoming. They will go out of their way to welcome you and make you feel comfortable. So be prepared to ask a lot of questions and receive a lot of information about Indian cuisine and India in general.

Who is the Authenticook Indian food experience for?

The Authenticook food experience is for everyone who enjoys a real home-cooked meal experience, good food and loves meeting locals. If you want to cultivate your knowledge about Indian culture and Indian food, there is no better way than to cook and serve a meal together with a local. Families, couples and group of friends are all welcome.

You will find the answers to the questions as ” What is garam masala?” and “How to make masala chai?” from your Authenticook host.

Authenticook is for those who love human interaction and for those who want to learn about it. India is like no other country I’ve been to, and even if you are not a foodie, the food is a big part of the culture. Immerse in it, embrace and learn from it.

Iulia Vasile

Iulia is a travel expert, blogger, engineer, freelance copywriter, and a curiosity-driven personality. She sees travel as the ultimate tool for self-improvement and personal growth, and that's the main topic of her blog,

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