“Would you like some more?” My smiley host Moushumi asked as she watched me devour the Dimer Devil, a boiled egg coated in spicy mashed potato, breadcrumb-ed and deep fried to perfection. Of course, I said yes. It’s been less than 24 hours since I’ve arrived in Delhi, India, and the hospitality I’ve been receiving got me feeling right at home. I found Moushumi’s cooking experience while I was researching for cool things to do in Delhi. That’s when I came across Authenticook, a website that connects travelers with talented home chefs across India. I always love meeting locals wherever I go. Add food to the mix and I am 100% going to be there. After spending a day in Moushumi’s house, I left on a full happy stomach and a new friend who lets me call her my “Indian mama”. If you are looking for an authentic dining experience in India, without fear of getting the infamous “Delhi belly”, Authenicook is the place to look.
*Big thanks to Authenticook for sponsoring my experience. All opinions expressed in this post are my own. This article may contain affiliate links, which means, at no extra cost to you, I may earn a commission if you make a purchase. Thanks for supporting!
What is Authenticook
Authenticook is a platform with a mission to empower women and local communities by letting the world witness their talents. Travelers are welcomed into the homes of local families. Through cooking and dining together with the hosts, guests can learn about regional cuisines and have a wonderfully immersive experience. I was able to chat via email with the Authenticook founder, Priyanka Deshpande, who was very warm and gracious. She explained that “the food that is prepared at homes is very different from what is available in restaurants and some of these dishes and cuisines are getting lost with time. Authenticook believes that exploring a diverse country like India can be complex but food is a medium that connects us all.” Isn’t that beautiful? Had I had more time on my India itinerary, I would have loved to do Authenticook again in a different city. I guess there is always next time!
Priyanka was kind to offer The Blessing Bucket readers a 10% discount for booking an Authenticook experience. Use the referral code VIOLA-AC-10 when checking out on www.authenticook.com
My experience with Authenticook in Delhi India
When I first arrived at my Authenticook host’s neighborhood in South Delhi, I was honestly a bit nervous. It was only my second day in India and I was still getting used to the overwhelming city that is Delhi. But as soon as I entered Moushumi’s home, the beautiful setting put me at ease. I was greeted by the house help and treated to a refreshing glass of lemonade. (Boy did I need that lemonade. India is hot y’all!) I sipped on the cool drink as I sat on the couch, admiring the family photographs on the wall and the cute plants.
Very soon, Moushumi emerged with a big smile. She welcomed me with a hug and right away made me feel very comfortable. We sat down on the couch and started chatting. It was interesting to get to know Moushumi’s story. She told me that she was originally from Bengal, the eastern part of India. That’s why her specialty is Bengali cuisine. Moushumi loves food and travel. She has been to more than 19 countries! Her husband currently works in Lebanon with the UN and she enjoys meeting people from all over the world right in her home. We really got to connect through our talks, before we even got to the food.
For the appetizer, Moushumi introduced me to Dimer Devil, the addicting egg snack previously mentioned. She had already prepared the boiled eggs coated with mash potatoes and breadcrumbs. Together, we deep fried them at a cooking station that was set up in the dining room. Moushumi turned the eggs constantly in the sizzling oil. It really takes patience to make sure all sides of the eggs fried consistently. The wait was over when the Dimer Devil turned golden brown. The texture of these little round balls was perfectly crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. Ooh so satisfying to bite into and absolutely delicious with some mustard sauce. I wolfed down two of them in one go!
The Side Dish
The second cooking demo of the day was Aloor Dum (or Dum Aloor), a Bengali side dish. I learned that this dish is popular in Bengal, often eaten with Luchi, a puffy flatbread. I watched as Moushumi skillfully stirred the baby potatoes around in the pan, adding in spices like cumin seeds, green chili, turmeric, ginger, salt, and sugar. The smell was so fragrant that I already knew it was going to be a very flavourful dish. I got to try my hands at stirring as well. I am a bit of a self-conscious cook but Moushumi was very kind in guiding me. After about 15 minutes or so, our Dum Aloor was ready.
The Main Affair
I was surprised to find out that a lot more food was prepared than the ones that we cooked. Moushumi’s helpers were working hard in the back kitchen and they started bringing out bowls and bowls of dishes. The cooking station was taken away and the table was transformed beautifully for dining. I loved how colorful the set up was, with the bright table clothes, banana leaf, and of course, yummy looking food.
My Indian mama started explaining all the dishes and serving me food enthusiastically. Just to give you a small sampling of this extravagant Bengali spread, some of the courses were: Sorse match, a fish dish in mustard gravy; Kosher Mangsho, mutton slow cooked with traditional Bengali spices, Veg pulao, a fried rice dish, Luchi, and the Aloo Dum we made. I was impressed with the taste of every dish, and also felt so spoiled that this whole feast was for me. Moushumi insisted that she will eat later after I’m finished. She watched and chatted with me, making sure that I was happy. Such an Asian mom thing to do. 😛
It seemed like I already ate 5670 courses before we got to dessert, which was also the last cooking demo of the day. The sweet treat we ended on was Patishapta, thin crepes stuffed with coconut and cane sugar. And with that, our Bengali feast came to the grand finale. I was completely stuffed.
A Cultural Experience in Delhi Foodies would Love: Summary
It was hard to leave Moushumi’s home. One because we really had so much fun in the four hours we spent together, and two because I was practically immobile after so much food. But finally, after lots of photo taking, my Indian mama helped me call an über and we said our goodbyes. This is a true Delhi foodies experience I would recommend to anyone. I was so glad I found Authenticook. After all, the only thing that can be better than trying new foods in a foreign country is trying new foods with friendly locals who can guide the way!
Interested in trying out Authenicook? Make sure to use the referral code VIOLA-AC-10 when checking out on www.authenticook.com for a 10% discount, exclusive for The Blessing Bucket readers.
“Do we really want to travel in hermetically sealed popemobiles through the rural provinces of France, Mexico and the Far East, eating only in Hard Rock Cafes and McDonalds? Or do we want to eat without fear, tearing into the local stew, the humble taqueria’s mystery meat, the sincerely offered gift of a lightly grilled fish head? I know what I want. I want it all. I want to try everything once.”― Anthony Bourdain
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