Today we went on a walking tour of Little India, hosted by Preena Chauhan and her mom Arvinda Chauhan, who also run popular cooking classes in Toronto and sell their own specialty masalas. Our meeting place was the Udupi Palace on Gerrard St. where we enjoyed a cooking demonstration and a delicious lunch.
We tried some sweet paan – a mixture of ingredients wrapped in betel-vine leaves. Betel is considered to be a mild stimulent, although I didn’t notice any such effects. The mixture does provide a rush of flavour though and a unique blend of textures as well.
Preena and Arvinda showed us a variety of vegetables that are not so common outside of the South Asian community.
This building, now under renovation, was once home to a theatre that was the first South Asian business to open in what later became Little India.
It was great to meet Preena and Arvinda today, and we had a delightful time spending the afternoon learning a little about South Asian food and culture, and exploring a neighbourhood here in Toronto that I’ve spent little time in.
Anyone interested in learning more about Preena and Arvinda and their classes and products can visit them at their website. At some future date, I’d love to attend one of their cooking classes, which take place both in Toronto and in Oakville.