India’s Favorite Snacks

Filling samosas.



This fall I’m planning to go to India. As part of my pre-trip prep, one of the things I’d like to learn is more about Indian cooking.  I’d really like to understand all the spices and various uses . . . it seems like an insurmountable task, but I began to scratch the surface with a cooking class offered at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden.

Under the direction of Chef Billo Jolly we learned about some of the favorite snack foods in a typical Indian household. One of the things I loved about Chef Billo was her practical approach, she would show us the traditional method and then share today’s reality, complete with shortcuts.

We started with some basic chutneys every household has on hand – Mint/Coriander and my favorite, Tamarind. We then made Samosas and Pakoras.

There are many kinds of Samosas, the ones we made were like vegetarian empanadas and they were delicious (we had plenty to take home and share). Our Pakoras were also vegetable, similar in appearance to tempura veggies.

We learned how to make delicious Masala Chai and the multi-layered, tasty Chaat.

A bonus: Chef Billo’s husband, a recently retired architect was today’s sous chef, filling in for her usual cuisine assistant who was sick.  The two Jollys were so genuine with a natural comedic flair and left me feeling like I was part of a reality-TV cooking show. We laughed our way through their many stories about life in India and their early adventures in the US.

Laughter, good food, new experiences – who could ask for more.


For info on the terrific variety of classes at Fairchild, visit:


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