Getting a facial in India isn't exactly a relaxing experience.
On my recent trip to New Delhi, I headed over to a local salon for a facial, a moderate salon, nothing too outrageous.
As soon as I arrived, there must have been like 5 guys just standing around waiting for customers to arrive. I quickly scanned the room searching for a woman in sight.
Once I came face to face with my esthetician, I inquired about their cheapest facial which would be the Fruit Facial, however she glibly persuaded me into getting one of their best facials, the Lotus Gold Facial which would help me attain a glow. Well, you can't put a price tag on beauty, and me being me, I gullibly complied.
Excitedly I followed her to get my facial. Once I settled down, the esthetician then attempted to persuade me “several times” into getting my face bleached, and I refused “several times.” She insisted my facial would turn out even better if I get my face bleached, and I refused again. By this point I was a bit ticked off… aaaaaand my thought process went something like this:
OMG, do I have facial hair? I know I’m Indian, but is it that obvious?
Why else would she keep insisting I get my face bleached?
Should I just get my face bleached?
I'll have such a nice glow.
But what if I breakout or my skin turns red? My skin's quite sensitive.
She's so annoying!
As she started working on my facial with bright lights hovering above me, the questions came on. Of course, I knew this was coming because in India it is inevitable to walk into a salon without being asked a MILLION questions, especially because they can easily spot that you aren't a local. I've had my fair share of salon visits to know this for a fact.
Here is how it went (translation available):
esthetician: aap kahan rahete hain? Where do you live?
me: South Extension - New Delhi (my mama has told me - never say you are from outside, or NRI)
esthetician: aap yahan kisi se milne aaye hain? Did you come here to visit someone?
me: haan, family ko milne. Yes, to visit my family.
esthetician: aapne kabhi facial karvaya hai? Have you ever had a facial before?
me: haan. kyon? Yes. Why?
esthetician: nahi, aapke bahut blackheads hain. No, you have a lot of blackheads.
me: haan, thoda time ho gaya hai. Yes, it's been a while.
esthetician: aap single hain? Are you single?
me: nahi, shaadi ho chuki hai. No, I'm married. '
esthetician: acha, aap young lagti hain. Oh, you look young. (finally, a compliment!)
me: thank you.
esthetician: aapke bache hain? Do you have kids?
me: nahi. No.
esthetician: nayi nayi shaadi hai. So you are newlyweds?
me: Yes. (truth is - my husband and I just completed 3 years of marriage, but I just didn’t care to explain
to her that LADY, I don’t want kids, yet! I’m sure that would instigate another 20 minutes of conversation.)
Once I reached home, I repeated the entire story to my niece, Umang (a Delhite). Her line and I quote, “why didn't you just tell her to shut up and do her job?” Ahhh, but much easier said than done. The truth of the matter is that when in India you have to be firm if you want to get things done, the polite attitude usually doesn't cut it. And as a visitor, it's hard to implement the “firm attitude” with someone who is being nice, and so I foolishly answer all the questions I'm asked, and then bitch about it later.
And now, this delightful Indian dish, Mushroom Masala, that I cooked up in my very own kadai that I purchased while in India.
NUTRITION: Mushrooms are a very good source of Vitamin B6 and Protein. Cilantro is a good source of Vitamin C and contains small amounts of Vitamin E.
- Sunflower Oil – 2 tbsp
- Cumin Seeds – 1 tsp
- Turmeric Powder – ¼ tsp
- Red Onion – 1 medium (chopped)
- Baby Bella Mushrooms – 1 8 ounce box (sliced & halved) … feel free to use regular msuhrooms
- Plum Tomatoes – 2 (chopped)
- Fresh Cilantro – 1 bunch
- Dried Red Chili – 1
- Garlic – 2 cloves
- Coriander Powder – 3 to 4 tsp
- salt to taste
- water – 2 to 4 tablespoon
1. Start by chopping an onion.
2. Heat a pot/kadai on medium heat until hot, add oil, once hot, add the cumin seeds and turmeric powder.
3. Once the seeds sizzle, add the onions. Season with salt. Stir.
4. The onions will cook for about 10 minutes until browned.
5. In the meantime, slice & half the mushrooms.
6. Back to the onions, this is what you should have.
7. Add the mushrooms. Stir. Allow the mushrooms to cook for about 15-20 minutes on low-medium heat.
8. Chop the tomatoes. Set aside.
9. Make a cilantro paste by blending the cilantro, dried red chili, and garlic.
10. Here is how the mushrooms should look.
11. Add the tomatoes, cilantro paste, and season with salt. Stir.
12. Add the coriander powder. Stir.
13. Cover with a lid and cook for about 10 minutes on low-medium heat.
14. This is what you should have.
15. At this point you can add a touch of water to pick up all the goodness at the bottom of the pan.
16. Serve with roti/naan. DELISH!
Telling me that I look like Isla Fischer from "Confessions of a Shopaholic" is the biggest compliment ever. Thank you!
I don't find facials relaxing...even here in Los Angeles! All I can think about is how I hope my skin won't break out and how I can't wait to get to my To-Do list.
In India you have to be firm...otherwise they totally take advantage! I have little experience over there but everybody tells me this is the case.
Love mushrooms! This is a fantastic way to whip up a veggie dish. 🙂
can totally relate to the story. even when bargaining what i felt was a rude way is pretty normal according to my relatives. i try to talk like locals, but somehow everyone's so smart they figure out i'm not from town.
i'm fond of anything with mushrooms. especially can't forget & can't find anywhere the taste of Mushroom-Mattar-Makhni I had at the restaurant Korma Sutra in Kansas City.
I also tend to be super polite and complain later. It's a problem, haha.
@Ameena - I know the feeling.. I'm so lazy about my salon appointments, I'm always so anxious to leave and think about what I'm going to do next. I think going forward I should plan a facial with a friend to see if I feel differently.
Yeah, you do have to be firm, not a good place for me because I can't be firm unless I know someone.
@Nisha - I know, eventhough I can speak Hindi, it's very obvious from the way I speak/walk/act that I'm not a local. I love mushroom mattar.. coming soon! Btw.. your name is my name! 🙂
@Bonnie - you're welcome.
@Josie - yup, same here. 🙂
Thanks for dropping by!
I've visited your blog several times before, didn't know your name is Nisha. Well, hello there! 🙂
Parita @ myinnershakti says
I can relate to this story in so many ways! The hair thing, the acne thing, the marriage thing - you're not the only one!!! I think you handled yourself really well. 🙂
Beauty experts and salon personnel are trained to scrutinize and try to sell their services. Not trained to say you are beautiful, you do not need to do anything! So they can be too pushy at times and too blunt. Not so fun. You are more even tempered than I would have been.
Anyhow you did have a wonderful Masala dish, a great way to prepare mushrooms-yum!
This mushroom masala looks so delicious! I love that kadhai. Need to visit India to get some of those cute bartans.
Visiting a salon in India is stressful rather than relaxing. They are always very curious and love to talk. I think they feel they are trying to be friendly. But honestly all I like to do is just go in there, get it done and get out. It is what it is. Well, at least it is reasonable.
Kiran @ KiranTarun.com says
Getting facials done is almost like a nightmare these days -- there's no concept of "shut up, and just get your work done quietly". I thought I paid for getting a "relaxing" massage as well.
I guess not.
On the other hand, that mushroom masala has made me drool, which is a good thing 🙂
Baker Street says
Mushroom and peas in a masala gravy is a regular feature in my house. This one looks just like that. Absolutely delish.
Hahah this made me laugh because I can so totally relate! Shortly after moving here, I realised that the 'nice girl' attitude is not going to cut it! It's sad but I have to sometimes restrain from even saying 'please' and 'thank you' to avoid "giving away" I'm an NRI and hence being taken for a ride. Especially with some people at work, the only way to get things done is to be firm...and even though I feel like a b1tch in the process, I guess it's just a part of adapting to the new (well not-so-new anymore) environment! I have to say, I'm impressed you speak Hindi so well especially as I'm sure it's difficult to practice living abroad!
This dish looks delicious- love how meaty mushrooms taste!
Fashion Meets Food says
What a unique recipe! I am always looking for something new to try! xo
masala looks yummy n spicy dear...perfectly done..nice.
The Head Caterer says
Massala one of the most popular curries in the uk , it's lovely and you can very it.This dish looks great and the photo of the food is done very nice.
@Khushboo - Yes, saying please and thank you is second nature to me, it's so hard to refrain. You have to change if you're living there, so it isn't easy for me to adapt to the "not-nice attitude." Yeah, I speak Hindi pretty well, my entire family does so lots of people to practice with. 🙂
@David - Thanks, that's huge coming from you. Yup, Indian food is quite popular in Europe. Thanks again!
Thanks everyone for your kind words.
Mushroom masala looks inviting. Thanks for dropping and giving a such a new comment.
I like the sound of a mushroom masala!
Thank you Anu & Kevin
I've recently started following your blog and I am amazed! I tried your Punjabi Bhindi and my Punjabi husband LOVED it. Yesterday I tried this Mushroom dish- I was low on coriander so I substituted with spinach, which I hardly ever eat let alone cook.
It was a wonderful success and now, I'm going through your recipes to incorporate more veggies in my diet!
I know I'm late to the party but I had to share... I went to a salon to get my nails done. Well, I'm middle eastern and we spent THE ENTIRE TIME arguing about how I'd look "so much better" if I would let her wax my eyebrows. Now don't get me wrong, I've got very thick eyebrows and I've got quite a few hairs above my nose but I don't mind my thick eyebrows. I kept demurring and she just kept at it. Every single time she looked at my face, she would say it again. Of course, she was this tiny, petite, hairless, lovely Asian lass and I probably looked like a yeti to her but... Anyway, I can SO sympathize! 🙂
@Unknown - haha.. I hear ya. You can definitely feel the pressure when you feel most vulnerable.