I moved to Singapore for five years after growing up on an island fishing village in Philippines. I hadn't experienced any dishes of other cultures. My dad was a fisherman so we survived on everyday seafood and rice. As long as we had garlic, salt, and pepper! We were very lucky to have soy sauce!
My first month in Singapore was the greatest challenge. I worked for a very religious and wealthy Indian family and I struggled with the new foods. I couldn't take these Dahls, Sai bajhi, Kichdhi, and other weird looking dishes.
After a few months of tasting and trying, Indian food became my favourite. I grew to love this food! I began to appreciate the spices and the fully rich flavours. I also loved watching how they prepared their food.
I finally visited India in 2010 and lived there for six months. The family I worked for were doing a "Rasayana", or life rejuvination, at the Ayurveda Health Centre in Bangalore. We stayed at the Ayurveda Centre for three months. The entire place was surrounded by herbs and trees that I had never seen before. Cinnamon, Eucalyptus, and all sort of nut trees, Ceylon teas and all different kind of herbs and spices were planted all over the place. I was so excited!
(Rasayana is a traditional ayurveda therapy practiced to restore the vitality of your body to it's fullest capacity and to keep the body fit at any stage of life. Ancient Indian people used this therapy for individual body-constitution, a natural youthfulness, happiness, purity and inner growth. Interestingly, this practice is only effective when a person’s behavior is equally uplifting, their lifestyle is in harmony with nature, and the food and air they breathe is full of 'Prana.’)
Our first week session involved everything ranging from customized oil treatments, personal massages, custom-made meals, meditative practices, oral medication and supplements and herbal steams to various other hand-picked methods for delivering optimum care.
According to Ayurveda, it is best to sip water throughout the day as opposed to drinking a lot at one time. Try sipping a small amount of warm or room temperature water during your meal instead of drinking excessively before or after.
Practicing being a vegetarian for three months was one of my best experiences and drinking Indian Chai every morning and afternoon was absolutely divine.
3 tbsps. black tea
2 cups water
1cup whole milk
3 tsps. granulated sugar
3 cardamon pods
2 star anise
small piece of cinnamon stick
half inch of ginger
1.) Bring water and milk to a simmer with the spices in a medium saucepan. Reduce heat to lowest setting and add tea and sugar.
2.) Steep until tea takes on a deep, pinky-tan colour, about 5 minutes stirring occasionally. Strain into a cup. Enjoy!