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  • Writer's pictureseimaistato

Cooking with Shashi

Udaipur, Rajastan, India - agosto 2023

Shashi started her cooking lessons in 2010 when an Irish tourist told her that her cooking was exceptional and gave her the idea to share her passion with all those tourists who, like us, love Indian food.

And so, somewhat by chance, she started this adventure.

Born in a village in the state of Rajasthan, in the north of India, Shashi, like many girls in that part of the world, was educated from an early age to know how to cook and take care of the house.

In an arranged marriage, she married a man from Udaipur (one of the most beautiful cities I have ever visited), but unfortunately, a few years later, he passed away. Because of her caste Shashi was no longer able to marry another man, but above all she was no longer able to work, except secretly.

Taking up cooking lessons in her home changed her and her two children's lives.

At the time, she did not know English, did not have a suitable kitchen and was not familiar with teaching. She had one lesson a week, when it was good.

Today, thirteen years later, Shashi works every day: two cooking lessons every day, one for lunch and one for dinner. She knows English perfectly, learnt by cooking and chatting with her students and has a perfect kitchen to accommodate everyone.

Hers is a strictly vegetarian cuisine, with an immense richness in the combination of flavors. Her day is divided between preparing all the necessary ingredients in advance and washing the dishes when the lesson is over.

It was supposed to be four hours and ended up being five and a half hours of class. We cooked all the dishes first and then sat around the table to enjoy our dinner. One of the best (and plentiful) dinners we had during our trip to India.

We learnt how to pound and make all the spices properly (fun fact: Indian spices can be made fresh at home), we kneaded and cooked excellent chapatis, naan bread and paratha. We learnt how to make their famous vegetable paneer cheese from the beginning.

We created several different side sauces including the delicious mango chutney and the famous 'magic sauce'. I have never cut so much onion and garlic in one dinner.

All while having a masala tea, which turned out to be one of my favorite drinks of the whole holiday, in between chatting. That evening we not only learnt how to cook some Indian dishes, but we entered Shashi's home, welcomed by her family, discovering things about their culture and land that we had never imagined. It was our second night in India and we were already madly in love with it.

(For a few years now you can also find her cooking lesson in the lonely planet!)


Indian spices

Cooking together



Veggie dishes


After 5 hours

Having dinner together

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