Lunch with Friends in Chandigarh: Methi Muttar Malai and Aloo Gobi

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Last Updated on April 27, 2018 by

Not long after breakfast, we were sitting with Sharan and his business partner Rajiv, our previously virtual friends. They were the reason we had come to Chandigarh. Sharan had completed a small software project for me (to help put the finishing touches on our photo gallery) the year before. After the project, Sharan and I continued to stay in touch.

When he found out we were coming to India, we received an invitation to visit.

After we spent time in their office, Sharan and Rajiv invited us to wait out a power outage at their apartment.

They and their living quarters, an open one-floor plan shared by five young guys working in the IT and telecom sectors, represented the real-life profile of the Indian IT and outsourcing boom that you read about in newspapers. All of this – the office, the apartment, the outlook – was the face of India’s young and rapidly emerging middle class.

We sat down with Sharan and Rajiv together on a bed-cum-couch and continued asking questions of one another. Like all good discussions, however, we weren’t going to get away from this one without a good dose of eating. These guys were living away from home and they and their roommates employed a live-in Nepalese cook to help with meals.

Home-Cooked Lunch in Chandigarh

Although we were still stuffed from breakfast, we couldn't resist when tin bowls of aloo gobi (potato and cauliflower curry) and mutter methi malai (peas with fenugreek leaves in cream sauce) appeared in front of us. The spread was rounded out by a bowl of fresh curd (plain yogurt) and punctuated with the regular arrival of two freshly baked and buttered chapatis (flat bread made with wheat flour).

Aloo Gobi and Mutter Methi Malai
Aloo Gobi and Mutter Methi Malai, home-cooked goodness.

Ah, aloo gobi, the good ol’ standby. I don’t particularly like it, actually. In my book, potatoes are filler and aloo gobi almost always features a gross imbalance of them.

This version was a revelation: chock full of cauliflower, tomatoes, and spice. Cooked just so, its masala base put all others in memory to shame. Not to be out-shined, the mutter methi malai was creamy, rich, and subtly spiced. It was so good, I quipped that I wanted to put my hands together in prayer and do a swan dive into it.

Audrey and I joked that if we had the same cook, we'd never leave the house. We also threatened to kidnap him.

Between handfuls of masala stuffed chapati, we shared stories of our travels in general, experiences in India in particular, and our transition from San Francisco to Prague to homeless travelers.

ndian Friends on Motocycles
Friends on their motorcycles in Chandigarh.

But we were curious about these guys. What about their families? Histories? Work? How did they like working with American clients? Changing Indian culture? Relationships? Life in Chandigarh?

Over lunch, we covered these topics and more and received our glimpse into how quickly segments of Indian life and society are changing under the new rules of globalization.

After lunch, we hopped on the backs of Sharan’s and Rajiv’s motorcycles and rode into town. We were thankful that Chandigarh sequestered its cows on its outskirts – fewer obstacles to dodge.

After spending two days and several meals together, we were sad to say goodbye; we sincerely look forward to returning some day.

While our face-to-face visit began in their office, it was the meal that really sealed our friendship. As it unfolded, we lived out a proverb: we shared food, we shared stories, we shared ourselves.

About Daniel Noll
Travel and life evangelist. Writer, speaker, storyteller and consultant. Connecting people to experiences that will change their lives. Originally from the U.S. Daniel has lived abroad since 2001 and most recently has been on the road since 2006. When he's not writing for the blog you can keep up with his adventures on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. And you can learn more about him on the About Page and on LinkedIn.

2 thoughts on “Lunch with Friends in Chandigarh: Methi Muttar Malai and Aloo Gobi”

  1. Dan, You are totally awesome… You are a great blogger I must say…. I enjoyed reading your articles on chandigarh specially… Because m living in chandigarh too from last 4 years. I am working as a internet marketing manager in a IT company here. You are inspiration for many travellers,,,, even I love to travel But here rarely I manage to get leave from office,,, I live far away from home… Basically I am from ferozpur, Its in punjab at india and pakistan border. “keep travelling keep posting”

    Best wishes.
    Akash (sky)

  2. Thanks so much for your kind comment, Akash. Am glad you found us and also our articles about our experiences in Chandigarh. It seems like quite an IT industry has grown in the Chandigarh/Mohali area.

    I wish you all the best in you work and travel!

    We will keep traveling and posting. Stay tuned.


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