Around the world in 12 dishes – India

by Jen in around the world in 12 dishes,India,mango chutney,recipe,spice painting

We have jetted off from Russia and we’ve landed in India this month. We did things a little differently this month. While we searched out books to learn about the United Kingdom, Sweden and Russia, this month we turned to the web. I decided that the images of India are so beautiful and compelling that they would be the best way to educate my girls about India. We visited National Geographic, National Geographic Kids, Frommer’s and we love flipping through the pictures on Google. They were taken in by the images of artistically decorated elephants and mountains of brightly coloured dye powders and spices. We were so inspired by the decorative beauty that we launched into an art project…spice paintings and elephant paintings.

First, we scoured our cupboards for common spices used in India; tumeric, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, cumin, allspice, garam masala, corriander seed. We piled about 2 teaspoons of each spice into a mini-muffin tin.
indian spices in mini muffin tin

We then added about 1 teaspoon of water, until we had a paint-like consistency.

indian spice paints

My girls began painting. They were inspired to create designs reminiscent of the Indian pieces we had seen online. As she painted my eldest daughter said, “My paint brush smell delicious!” She loved this activity and ended up making many, many pictures..smelling everything as she went.

child smelling the indian spices
Indian spice painting

My youngest daughter knew instantly that she wanted to make a painting of elephants. And, she did.

Indian elephant paintings by child
Indian painted elephant by child

Now, I must admit I wasn’t really certain what to make for our Indian dish. When we eat Indian it tends to be ordered in or at a restaurant. After considering my options I landed on making a simple and sweet mango chutney. Most of the recipes I found were for making a large amount, so I modified the amounts and created a yummy accompaniment for our samosas.

Mango Chutney
(adapted from
mango chutney

2 under ripe mangoes, sliced thinly

1/4 cup sugar
1/4 garlic clove, sliced thinly
1/4 inch ginger root, peeled
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
1/4 teaspoon white vinegar
salt to taste
1. Place sliced mangoes in a small pot, heat until softened, about 5 minutes
mangoes in pot for mango chutney

2. Add sugar and mix

3. Wrap garlic, ginger and garam masala in piece of cheesecloth – drop the bundle into the sauce and cook until sauce reaches a jam consistency
sachet of indian spices
sachet of indian spices in mango chutney

4. Add vinegar and salt…cook for another 2 minutes

5. remove from heat and serve

We enjoyed our chutney with samosas that we purchase at a great local shop called the Sultan of Samosas. My girls went with my husband to pick out the samosas. When they came running out to the car, after getting the samosas, they said to me, “We totally saw the Sultan!” Very cute.

The girls and I had a great time in India. To be honest in the end, I think they like the smells of India the best…what a sensory experience. I know we will be painting with spices again, maybe we’ll try dying something with spices! If you have been following along with Around the World in 12 Dishes you will find the India passport page look here and the India placemat here.
So, the question is what has everyone else been inspired to do? Please, take a look at the other entries in the link-up or visit the other blogs that are participating. If you are a blogger and you have a post related to India, feel free to link up below. Stop by our Facebook page and share your stories there too! We love hearing from you!
Rebecca June 3, 2012 at 9:39 am

This is so great! Love!

Valerie @ Glittering Muffins June 5, 2012 at 11:35 am

Nico would LOVE the paint, he loves to smell things! I’ve been wanting to try samosas for a while too… that chutney looks yummy just like that with a spoon!

Emma @mummymummymum June 5, 2012 at 4:19 pm

i love your spice paintings and the chutney looks fantastic! xx

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