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 – 1/4 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 tbsp
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!