Western cooking in Chennai has required some creativity. There are stores that sell Western items (like olives, cheese, pasta) and plenty of vegetables to be had, but good quality flavoring agents have been mostly unavailable and I don’t really want to purchase and cook Indian meats except for some occasional fish. The Thai curry paste tasted like Indian curry; the olive oil is low quality; and I haven’t wanted to buy a wide range of cooking items anyway for a four month stay. It’s not safe to eat a lot of raw vegetables, but we do soak tomatoes and cucumbers in vinegar water to kill the bugs and make a simple salad. No lettuce or spinach that can be found and is safe. So my housemate Karen and I have relied largely on the same simple pasta dishes, with occasional brown rice and stir fry with bad soy sauce.
I’ve come up with some new dishes, such as Mostly Indian Thai Curry, Tamilnadu Mediterranean Salad a la King, and a Hearty Lentil Brown Strange Soup. Here’s my Madras Tuna Noodle Supreme, a conglomeration of tuna, whole wheat spaghetti, and a white sauce made with Karen’s Indian health food protein mix and some cheese. Yum! Tasted better than it looks!