The Road to Mussoorie: Imagine if you will, a town at the foothills of the Himalayas.

The Road to Mussoorie: Imagine if you will, a town at the foothills of the Himalayas. Blooming trees of orange Gul Mohar, aptly named “Flame of the Forest”, intermix with the softer purples of the Jacaranda tree. A rickety school bus drives us across dry river beds to town, which unexpectedly boasts an eminent collection of historic schools: the Doon School, Welhams, Convent of Jesus and Mary, and my alma mater, St. Thomas Day School. Some days, snow melting in the mountains sends unpredictable torrents of cold and clear water across the roads, forcing the bus driver to turn back- to the raucous cheers of those incarcerated inside!

In a corner of the dusty school ground, is a little cafeteria selling toffee, gum and the delectable “bun samosa”. This consisted of a soft round bun, sliced only partway through, stuffed with a pea and potato samosa and served with a messy helping of Channa Masala dribbled over the open top. How I envied those with both parental blessing and pocket money to indulge in this warm and spicy comfort food! Instead, I had my buttered sandwich (albeit cut into pretty triangles) and my mother’s paranoia of school yard germs as cold consolation.

Recipe and Blog: https://madamescientist.wordpress.com/2012/04/13/chickpeas-for-comfort-spicy-channa-masala/

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84 Responses to The Road to Mussoorie: Imagine if you will, a town at the foothills of the Himalayas.

  1. Evalens Noah says:


    need driver licence !!!

  2. Rajini Rao says:


    Awesome, Joseph Post , hope you like it 🙂

  3. Mahesh K says:


    it was awesome when I visited that place..

  4. Rajini Rao says:


    In the UK? 🙂 These concoctions are all so old and varied, can one really pinpoint a specific date?

  5. Rajini Rao says:


    Hah, lucky guess (I considered the source of the question as a clue). Also, kedgeree which is a bastardized version of Indian kichdi and probably tastes nothing alike!

  6. Rajini Rao says:


    On the other hand, Chinese food in the US tastes nothing like Chinese food in India which in turn is probably like nothing in China. I’ve seen Indian recipe blogs with “Indianized” Chinese recipes for expats, lol.

  7. Rajini Rao says:


    Do you cook, Feisal Kamil ?

  8. Rajini Rao says:


    LOL on Betty Crocker, good old standby. I cook as a way to relax and as a creative outlet. Eating is secondary 😛


    To me, there’s nothing like a glass of red wine, some music in the background, and messing around in the kitchen. I have to start with a clean slate, though..so I threaten and cajole the spouse if it is not chef-ready 😉


  9. ye road hai ya dragan hai.


    great snap

  10. Rajini Rao says:


    Thex Dar , I sympathize with your wife, I tend to get quite motion sick around winding roads.


    Feisal Kamil , must check out that interesting Nasi Dagang dish..your wife made all that? Seeing the banana leaf made me all nostalgic again, dang! I didn’t think it was New Year’s, hmmm.. (but then I’m not too up to date on these things).

  11. Rajini Rao says:


    Those guys from India probably jump on any excuse to bunk work, lol 🙂 Sounds like you make a good sous chef, Feisal. Every good cook needs one!

  12. Rajini Rao says:


    LOL, it’s always New Year’s in Malaysia! Highway patrol, eh Thex Dar 😉 Trying to get your daily quota of tickets, perhaps..

  13. Rajini Rao says:


    Going green at the gills at the mere thought of biking down that road, Gnotic Pasta . I was infamous for my, er..upheavals, shall we say it politely? Happy to recruit more cooks into Indian cuisine, give it a try and feel free to substitute and change things indiscriminately (I know I do).

  14. Nayan Vaidya says:


    i love traveling and also wanted to go to masoori love to see more pic

  15. Rajini Rao says:


    LOL, imagine if someone sued me for cumin-in-the-eye? It’s almost impossible to mortar-and-pestle dry spices..they’re like missiles. The trick is to add a clove or two of garlic or some chopped ginger or onion to hold the stuff together..good way to get out your aggressions (of the milder variety, lol). Masala just means spices, right. A wasted add-on, since I’m unaware of an Indian dish without spices.


    Oh, I’m serious alright about riding on those roads..I can’t sit on a kid’s swing set without feeling a bit nauseous. As for riding those bikes..I just kept my eyes shut tight, lol.

  16. Rajini Rao says:


    Yes, Shaker Cherukuri 🙂

  17. Rajini Rao says:


    Thanks, Shaker Cherukuri ! Cooking is just another term for experimenting…and it’s all chemistry to me 😉

  18. Rajini Rao says:


    I look forward to virtual thrills from your helmet cam, Gnotic Pasta ! What’s with you guys and those revving engines? We have a biker’s bar just down the road from us on US Rte 1.

  19. Rajini Rao says:


    Yes, you plussers are a terrible distraction. The trick with R-rated jokes, Feisal Kamil , is to keep ’em guessing.


  20. fantastic view………. picture perfect

  21. Deeksha Tare says:


    I really loved the receipe Rajini Rao


    Keep them coming!!

  22. Rajini Rao says:


    Masala Chai, Gnotic Pasta ! Chai is the Hindi word for tea. I make my own by brewing a strong cup (Assam tea is black and potent). It has to be strong enough to withstand the assault of hot milk (or else you get dishwater). I add a piece of ginger, a cardamom pod (opened) and a clove or two to the boiling water and let it steep with the tea. Tea is a morning drink in northern India but is an afternoon cuppa only in the south, where locally grown coffee is preferred. The milder teas include Darjeeling.

  23. Rajini Rao says:


    As long as it’s not a “hostile take over”, I’m totally cool with that, Thex Dar . vroom away 🙂


  24. Word press ate up my comment at your blog; it must have been hungry prob because you did not leave it any channa massala. I enjoyed this post so much, with nostalgia and food interlaced.


    I could exist just on chickpeas, I love them so. I need to get some spices as my kitchen is mostly stocked with herbs (I used to cook Indian food a couple of decades ago in NYC, had a great colleague from southern India who taught me a thing or too.) My significant other is of the bland taste bud persuasion so I kinda left the world of spice behind.


    I plan on growing chickpeas, already grow white beans and flageolets (Lima wannabeans, ha). I like all the food I grow, but dry beans I regard as a special treasure.

  25. Rajini Rao says:


    Feisal Kamil , I’d not heard the term Teh Tarik. Is Teh tea? The swooping motions to mix and froth are a trademark of Indian coffee and tea too..in fact, in your video link the guy was of Indian descent and I think they were speaking Tamil in the background. It’s great showmanship and fun to watch! Gnotic Pasta , what’s the origin of Sadaf..is it Persian? I though Earl Gray was lemony. I’m looking forward to lazy summer afternoons and drinking tea..grand old British tradition.

  26. Tack Soon says:


    “Teh tarik” is a Malaysian tea generally prepared and made by Indian vendors in Malaysia and is now very popular…please see this blog for more information….http://j-rand.blogspot.com.au/2007/10/how-to-make-teh-tarik.html

  27. Rajini Rao says:


    Gnotic Pasta , I see that they carry Turkish coffee…never tried that. I can sip some potent brew and pretend that I’m in some pasha’s harem. Lol, I would be probably be kicked out for insubordination or something, still..the coffee would be worth it 🙂

  28. Rajini Rao says:


    Translation of “cowboy coffee”..boil the coffee grounds?


  29. Brent Fishman #MUSTGO

  30. Rajini Rao says:


    Got it. I fresh grind my coffee every morning anyway..although I just use a French roast bean.

  31. Rajini Rao says:


    Mahesh Sreekandath , this post was reshared in my stream and I thought of you. Well, actually I first thought of Willow Smith, lol.


    https://plus.google.com/u/0/103949261056887216874/posts/Dbh7KBEpRaA

  32. Rajini Rao says:


    Mahesh Sreekandath , take heart. You are inspiring a whole younger generation (73 million views): Willow Smith – Whip My Hair

  33. Rajini Rao says:


    A worthy goal, indeed Mahesh Sreekandath . We are untrained metal noobs. That day may yet arrive. Persevere.

  34. Rajini Rao says:


    Which one? The animated gif or Willow Smith? 🙂

  35. Rajini Rao says:


    LOL, but that’s Will Smith’s daughter..an internet tween sensation! She made more money off that song than all of Amon Wrath combined. 😀

  36. linda colman says:


    Thanks for the delicious post and enticing photographs. Your re-creation is probably better than the original.

  37. Rajini Rao says:


    Thank you for your nice compliment, linda colman 🙂

  38. Rajini Rao says:


    Thanks, Thuan Pham-Budin 🙂 I lived here when I was between ~8-12 years of age. I have wonderful memories of it. Now that you mention it, it does look like a river. Wonder how I did not see that before! 🙂

  39. Rajini Rao says:


    Mmm, sounds delicious Feisal Kamil ! The only teas I dislike are the weak and watery ones. My thesis advisor was a Brit and who drank insipid tea with great regularity. I would watch in horror as he dipped a generic Liptons tea bag into luke warm water two or three times before throwing it away. If it was herbal tea, fine, I get that it is aromatic hot water. But to do that with real tea? 🙂

  40. Rajini Rao says:


    Michelle Beissel , some spices are milder and much less aggressive than others. How about drawing out your significant other’s taste buds gradually with fennel and coriander and omit the cloves and chillies. I know what you mean. My son does not tolerate spicy food and I’m always trying to sneak it in, or titrate the level so I push up his tolerance gradually. It’s usually an “all or none response” in his spice meter, though (like an action potential firing)!

  41. Rajini Rao says:


    No rush of feel-good endorphins to mask the pain, Feisal Kamil ? 🙂

  42. Chad Haney says:


    I meant to come back to this after seeing it this morning. As usual G+ flew by with a million other things and there was hockey to watch.


    So pardon my tardiness.


    Funny how Chinese food assimilates for each country. I have an Indian colleague that used to ask where to find Chili Chicken. He finallay realized that it was a Chinese dish specific to India. I need to finish this book by Jennifer 8 Lee (http://goo.gl/48fdz). ♥ her name.


    That road looks perfectly matched for my MINI! No motion sickness when I’m behind the wheel, sometime if I’m not.


    For Thai food this is what I use (http://goo.gl/RqeIz). Dry stuff, like corriander pops out but not as bad as with the little mortar and pestel.


    I’m a bit of a tea snob in addtion to being a beer snob. Let me dig up my masala chai recipe Gnotic Pasta. My dad learned how to make it with goats milk when he was in India. So I learned to warm the milk with the spices before steeping the tea. Go to http://www.espemporium.com/ for premium tea. For masala chai, I use the cheap Assam tea from the shops on Devon St. (the Indian-town of Chicago, like these guys http://patelbros.com/gallery.html). I figure if you’re going to add milk and spices, why pay a bundle for the premium stuff?


    Great post and discussion again Rajini Rao.

  43. Rajini Rao says:


    Feisal Kamil is imagining things as usual 😉

  44. Rajini Rao says:


    Devon St/Little India in Chicago is great..an Indian friend took me on a tour. Who knew this discussion would turn out to have such expertise in tea and coffee (which a few questionable jokes thrown in)?

  45. Chad Haney says:


    Feisal Kamil the street food vendors in SE Asia are phenomenal. What’s the popular street dish in Malaysia that’s like an omelette? I remember the street vendor had a big hot plate/grill. Maybe something like this (http://youtu.be/h-EiE3QYMww). If I remember right, it was the sauce that goes over the top that makes it so good.

  46. Rajini Rao says:


    You’ve been to Thailand and Malaysia, Chad Haney ? Lucky you. Oddly, I’ve never been east of India even though I gone everywhere between India and the US. My first trip to S. Korea this fall.

  47. Chad Haney says:


    Visiting family. I went to Malaysia to extend my visa. One day train ride to Penang. Vietnam was interesting. I want to check out Angkor Wat Cambodia next time and I hope to go to KL sometime. (time to dig out more photos again 😀 )

  48. Rajini Rao says:


    Dig away! When in KL, dig out Feisal’s photos too, since he refuses to share them with us.

  49. raj Yadav says:


    where is it


    nice place

  50. Chad Haney says:


    Rajini Rao I’m waiting for Feisal Kamil to finish digging :P. He’s got all weekend.


  51. yesss food talk going on…I’m better with food than with science… 😉


    ny wayz roads to ladakh are more twisted than to mussoorie…it is said that u could spot buses going in opposite direction for hours as there….


  52. I like rajma or the kidney bean much more than chana…..should try it with some mint chutney….tasts divine…yum yum

  53. Rahul Joshi says:


    Never thought I’d feel this good about Mussoorie. Beautifully described! Rajini Rao Now I’m missing my school days 😦

  54. Darren Pinto says:


    really very very beautiful………….

  55. Rajini Rao says:


    Feisal Kamil , The Perfect Catch.mp4 is a classic, I’m surprised it does not have more views or been made into an animated gif yet. Perhaps, Kevin Staff would make one in between his Chris Pirillo spoofs 😉

  56. Rajini Rao says:


    Coffee close at hand while googling, dear Feisal 🙂

  57. Chad Haney says:


    Happy New Year (in Thailand). Here’s my post on Thai coffee.


    http://goo.gl/l5vIt. Rajini Rao is so clever and prescient; see the road to Mussoorie is a symbol of the conversations on G+ that wind from Channa Masala to tea and to tamarind beans in Thai coffee.

  58. Rajini Rao says:


    Perfect. What took you so long, Feisal Kamil ? 🙂

  59. Chad Haney says:


    Feisal Kamil Thai New Year = Songkran. It coincides with the Tamil calendar as far as New Year. It used to be calculated astrologically but was later fixed at April 13. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Songkran


    It is 2555 in Thailand based on the Buddhist calendar.

  60. Rajini Rao says:


    Did you know that Songkran comes from the Sanskrit Sankranti which has something to do with the zodiacal migration of the sun.


    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Makar_Sankranti

  61. Chad Haney says:


    It say saṃkrānti or literally “astrological passage” in the Wiki. A lot of Thai words come from Sanskrit.

  62. Rajini Rao says:


    Thai script looks like one of the four southern Indian languages (Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam). Look what I found: The Thai alphabet is derived from the Old Khmer script (Thai: อักขระเขมร, akkhara khamen), which is a southern Brahmic style of writing called Vatteluttu. Vatteluttu was also commonly referred to as the Pallava script.

  63. Chad Haney says:


    If I remember correctly, Thailand is the only SE Asian country that hasn’t been colonized. Of course the borders haven’t always been as they are today. The power of various neighbors has changed over the centuries.

  64. Chad Haney says:


    Maybe Rajini Rao can relate to this. Whenever I go home to Thailand, my relatives are always making up crazy excuses for me to not go to certain areas of Thailand. They are worried I’ll get kidnapped or something like that. They are grossly overprotective. So I’ve been to Koh Samet but not Koh Samui.

  65. Chad Haney says:


    Feisal Kamil, remind me to post my story about Koh Samet. Rajini Rao I’ll have to dig out more photos from the basement.

  66. Rajini Rao says:


    Chad Haney , that is your official homework assignment. There is no issue with travel in India. For all its problems, kidnapping of tourists is virtually unheard of. My problem is simply that of overindulgence. Every relative (and they number in the hundreds) invites us to lunch/dinner/tea (often the same day) and I quickly take on the form of a slothful Boa. We will be going this summer!

  67. Chad Haney says:


    Same with Thailand. It has happened but my over-paranoid relatives make it sound like it happens daily.


    Ditto on the over-eating. The other thing is you have to bring an extra suitcase for the the relatives. I’m not complaining. I love going back to Thailand.

  68. Phool khan says:


    wher is this Road yar

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