Some best German foods for Indians to give a try in my experience

I am basically a non red meat eater, so most of the dishes in Germany are ruled out for me. Still I love certain German food which I really enjoy. This blog is mainly for people who are preparing to come to Germany or new to Germany, who are scared and have lot of questions about German food for you and your kids. I am completing 6 years in Germany now and I can assure that not only you and your family survive but also you can keep your taste buds happy. One important thing to keep in mind that you should be ready to come out of your shell and start to explore German food without judging by comparing with Indian food.

I have divided the German foods into 2 sections, On the go cheap breakfast foods and Restaurant foods.

On the go cheap breakfast foods:

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A typical breakfast in Germany starts off with bread (Brot) or bread rolls (Brötchen) with various spreads and toppings. Which are not expensive and easily available in bakeries. German breads are really worth to try.

1. Butter Brezel/Bretzel (Pretzel ): One among my favorite is Butter Brezel/Bretzel (butter pretzel).

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2. Spinat Käse Brot (Cheese spinach roll): My second favorite is the Spinach roll, These crescent rolls stuffed with spinach and cheese make for a quick and simple breakfast, lunch, dinner or appetizer recipe. These cheesy spinach rolls are so yummy, the kids won’t even mind the spinach.

3. Schneckennudeln (German Cinnamon Rolls): It is a traditional south-west German pastry but I eat for my breakfast most of the time. It is a traditional Swabian recipe and it consist of ground nuts filling, which is my favorite! There are also different kinds of filling like almond, raisin, poppy seeds, hazelnuts etc.

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4. Croissant: Croissants are staple of any Sunday brunch in Germany, and thez are sometimes referred as Hörnchen (little horns) because of their shape. Croissants are often enjoyed with jam or Nutella.

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5. Salami: Typical German breakfast consist of meat and especially salami with bread. Salami and Wurst are the most attractive thing for children. Even you have never exposed these in India, Children get easily attracted by this as soon as they enter Germany. We as a Indian family who doesn’t prefer red meat will always go for Geflügel-Salami (which is made from duck, turkey and chicken).

Restaurant foods:

The best part in German restaurants is they serve a bowl of salad with most dishes. Do try different types of salads while you are Germany. Some German foods which I really find good for my Indian taste bud without red meat are as follows

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1. Spätzle (German noodle): It is the most common meatless dishes found in Germany.  If you enter German restaurant and ask for noodle, you will get Spätzle. They are made with eggs. If you are a lover of cheese then you can get Käsespätzle (cheese noodle). You can aslo get Spinatspatzeln (Spinach noodle).

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2. Kartoffelknödel/Kloß (Boiled potato dumplings): You get different types of Knödel made with bread, flour, meat, cheese, potatoes etc. It comes with salad and sauce. Make sure to order vegetarian sauce  because once I didn’t give any preference to sauce and ended up with meat sauce.

3. Kartoffelpuffer (Potato pancakes): They are shallow pan-fried pancakes made from grated or mashed potatoes mixed with flour, egg, onion and seasoning. Sometimes you will get it as a side dish to a main course of meat or fish, or sweet with apple sauce, blueberries, sugar and cinnamon.

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4. Schnitzel (Meat cutlet): They are thin pounded meat dish which is fried. It’s my daughter’s favorite  dish and luckily it is made with duck or chicken. It doesn’t need any sauce and kids love with ketchup and mayo and it comes with fries.

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5. Lachsfilet mit Butterkartoffeln salat:  As my family love to eat fish, we always tried to find a good German fish food. I would this dish is pretty good and also Cord and Salmon pan fry is also my favorite.

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There are more food items to add to this blog. Will definitely add some of my other favorite German vegetarian foods too in my next blog. Please leave your favorite German foods in the comments below so, that the newcomers to Germany will benefit from it. Stay tuned for my favorite German street foods in coming blogs.

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Must need household things for those who are new to Germany

When I came to Germany to start my life here, as an Indian few things were new for me and there were no proper guide, when it comes to household things. I couldn’t find any sites, forums or blogs related to it. As most of them live in rented apartments and it’s always necessary to keep the house clean and tidy to the core, because we can expect landlord visits and there are more chances for us being kicked out of the apartment, if your apartment is untidy.  I am not going to discuss about any cleaning products here. I am just gonna say about few affordable household things which will make your life easy in keeping your house clean. And I would say these things are pretty much considered as must haves in every German household.

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1. Stove Scraper (Herdschaber):

We Indians cook a lot and obviously it will lead to mess. The Glass stove tops become sticky with oil what we use. For me it was the best life saver and every time when I use, it makes my stove top brand new again. Use a damp cloth or paper towel to remove any excess crumbs or other mess. Next, add a liberal amount of the liquid cleaner and scrap it out.

2. Microfiber cloth (Mikrofasertuch):

It’s one of the best household thing for the whole house. It’s available in all stores. It can be used for cleaning stove tops, kitchen cupboards, sink, doors, television etc.. It can be used without cleaning products for a wide variety of cleaning tasks and it’s reusable. I will link my favorite and affordable brand.

3. Garbage bag stand (Müllsackständer):

This is very useful for places in Germany where waste separation is done. I use it especially for plastic waste (Plastikmüll). It’s cheap and works great for me.

4. Rubber Toilet and kitchen sink Plunger (Saugglocke pömpel):

 

This is a must have household thing when you enter Germany as we cannot afford for plumber here. This plunger is good for sinks both in bathrooms and kitchens but can also be used in bathtubs.

5. Stainless steel sink strainer (Küche Spüle Sieb Stecker):

 

This strainer is very for every Indian household as we tend to more solid debris. This strainer is highly recommended to filter out the solid debris in the water system. There are plastic and rubber strainers are also available.

6. House shoes (Hausschuhe):

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House shoes are more common German thing here and it’s really a must have in winter. It not only keep your feet warm but also protects your carpet from getting dirty.

7. Duster (Staubmagnet):

This is my favorite and handy cleaning thing. The duster is pushed onto the handle and holds it quite well. My daughter loves to clean with it. I especially like to use it to clean my keyboard and the electrical appliances as it can easily reach even the small gaps and dust well.

I just randomly covered few basic household things which is very useful when you move in to Germany. Will upload more in future. I hope it will help someone who is planning to move or newcomer to Germany.

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Engaging kids in home. Ways that I follow

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Back then, in my childhood I used to always play outdoors, of course it’s India and especially I am from South India and the weather there always is favorable for outdoor games and yes weather plays a main role in engaging kids. Here in Germany, after having my daughter I realized, how hard it is to engage a kid in home especially in winters. Her terrible two drove me crazy and I was constantly thinking for ideas to engage her. Kids have a lot of energy to let out. Being a minimalist parent I don’t want to invest more on toys or expensive stuffs, while we have a lot of things around us which bring joy to our kids.  So, Parents here you go, take a look at some of my ways to engage kids indoor.

Be with your child. I know, not every parent has enough time to spend with their kids. But, when you do have time to spend with your child, do things that they enjoy. Giving our time is a big thing that we can do for our  kids. Even simply sitting near them and staring at what they play matters a lot to a kid. In case if you are working parent, avoid bringing work home with you. In case you have to, then allow your child to sit with you and do some coloring or do puzzles etc. But all they need is your presence.

Fun Reading sessions. My daughter loves books in any form. Sometimes she take my novel and start pretending to read :). Reading sessions are really a good way to engage kids and also make them to start their interest in reading at very young age. Since early on, I have been reading books to my daughter. After I finished reading a story book to her, I would always tell her it’s quite time now for mommy and you to read the book by ourselves. And she will just stare the pictures of the book and keep saying the words from the stories which I read. It’s a good way for improving their memory and creative thinking.

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Involving kids in household chores. I would say it’s one of my favorite task because it always makes my household chores less stressful by seeing the cuteness of her doing those chores. Give chores which excite them. For example, I say my daughter to clean the television because it shows you your favorite cartoons or wipe the mirrors as it shows your beautiful face everyday to you etc. Involve them in kitchen for putting veggies in respective baskets and cooking. My daughter roll her own tiny Chapathis (Indian bread), sometime peeling carrots with my assistance and baking with kids are always fun. Involving them in house hold chores make them to teach cleanliness, discipline and also how to look after themselves and the house.

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Painting. Which kid is not the fan of painting, be it hand painting or with brush. My daughter sometimes do it on her face too. It’s okay to be messy while having fun. Creativity starts from colors and using them on papers , so encourage kids to paint more and don’t forget to encourage them by showcasing their creativity on walls or doors or like me by hanging it in a notice board.

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Doing exercise together. It’s a great way for both to have fun. We laugh a lot while we do mommy daughter exercise. There are a lot of videos out there which you can play in TV and just do by seeing it. It is quite a good way to be fit and also incorporate healthy activity for the kid in indoor. For us sometimes exercise sessions will change to dance sessions too :).

Make use of old cardboard. Before you throw away those cardboard of your new washing machine arrived in, you need to check out all of the brilliant things you can make with them. Amazing play houses for no cost can be made for your kids. My daughter used to stay in that for whole day and play. It doesn’t need to be so perfect (your kid doesn’t need that too).

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Her dolly sleeping in the cardboard house

Do a magic show. I made her a backdrop with two chairs and said mommy is ready for your show, that’s it my daughter got so excited to make her own show.  It made her to think all interesting things for the show like shadow puppets, magic toys arrives from shopping basket etc., which was so fun and it really encouraged her creativity.

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Magic show – She asked me to close my eyes and took toys from the shopping basket 🙂

Role play. Every kid has their favorite story and favorite character in it. Find the stories which they are obsessed with and start playing a role play, It’s not only fun but also helps them identify good from bad while encouraging bravery.  You can choose a superhero or a fantasy characters such as unicorns, dinosaurs, princess tales etc. Along with being fun, using imagination in their play improves their creativity. It’s not necessary to buy those costumes, just make those with what is available near you. Kids will never complain about it for sure.

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Role play – Little red riding hood (obviously I am the Wolf :))

Do try these methods, they are cost-effective, develop the skills, bonding and also engage them in home. Please do follow me and share you experiences in comments which might help a lot of people out there.

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My first winter experience in Germany as a migrant from a warm country like India – tips which I gained over the years

I was born and brought up in southern part of India. It’s the place where the weather is always warm. Back then I felt cold in winter which was around 20 -25 degree Celsius but after experiencing winter in Germany I changed my mind from cold to warm 😋. In my home town even in winter we can survive without wearing any winter clothes. I always thought cold weather will be good as I experienced extreme hot weathers. Back then I imagined snow as a beautiful glaze of sleet, crystal, snow flake etc. Now after 5 years of living in Germany and after 5 winters, the thought has slightly changed in my mind. Even though I love snow and I always eagerly wait for the first snow and excitement I get to see the snowfall never went down, but getting into the snow or freezing weather on a daily basis has definitely proven wrong about my imagination which I had back then. It’s always beautiful if you are inside the home with heaters on and sipping a hot tea and watching snow or cold breeze through the window. On the other hand getting up at morning 6, where it’s pitch dark outside, me doing house chores and dressing with multiple layers of clothes which added extra kgs to the weight and dressing my kid in same way and taking her to kindergarten daily is not a joke.

I remember going out without covering my head in minus degrees, made my ears numb. I didn’t realise the importance of boots until I slipped in snow with sport shoes on. Went out without mittens in very cold weather which made my finger tips pain like someone prick with the needle. I am the person who never used chapstick back in India but here, after experiencing a bad lip crack followed by bleeding made me realise its importance in winter , which now is like an organ for me which always stays with me. In addition to all I got a best gift called sinusitis which says hi in all winters and it’s terrible. Over the years I learnt to suffer less from sinusitis. One by one I learnt how to survive winter, the skills got strong when I had my baby girl. Through all trial and errors now after 5 years I somewhat manage to adapt my body in this cold weather which made me to write this blog and help my fellow immigrants who lived their entire life in a warm country like mine and experiencing new winter weather. Here are few tips from my experience to you guys.

Stay active. I know when winter blows in, you want to pull the blankets over your head and go back to sleep but there is no reason you need to take a break from physical activity when temperature drops. Actually there are advantages in staying extra active in winter.

  • As it’s not humid like summer which make you sweat more and exhaust soon so walking or running extra mile is added advantage.
  • Exercising more results in burning extra calories.
  • Great way to take some vitamin D.
  • Getting fresh air and exercising with intake of vitamin D boosts immunity from cold and flu.

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Dress in layers. Dressing in layers is the key to keep you safe from cold weather hazards. They help trap the heat and form a kind of insulation. Avoid layering in cotton because when you sweat, the inside moisture is trapped and will make you feel colder. Invest on moisture wicking fabrics and a good waterproof jacket to help to keep you warm in rain and snow.

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Stay hydrated. Winter never indicates us to drink water even though our body needs it. I always forget to drink water during the beginning years of winter season as I don’t get thirst and ended up in headaches. Keep hydrated as much as possible to maintain fluid balance. Symptoms of dehydration in winter are chapped lips, dry cough, nosebleed, headaches and acne.

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Avoid sickness during winter with household things and nutritional foods. I always struggle with sinusitis every winter. Over the years I learned some home remedies to prevent it and helped to ease if I got a sinus infection. The wise method is to invest on a good humidifier. It’s a life safer for me and my daughter during cold and flu. Second thing I noticed is to eat food which gives immunity during winter season like vitamin C rich foods, herbs and spices, yogurt, lots of vegetables like mushroom, dark leafy greens, broccoli and non veg like salmon, chicken soup etc. One thing which also helped is steam. Regular steam inhalation reduce the inflammation.

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Give some care to your drying eyes and skin. Best thing to take care of your eyes and skin is eating omega-3-fatty acid rich foods like fish, eggs, milk, yogurt, soy milk etc. Invest on good moisturizer during winter for your skin. Don’t forget the sunscreen, it’s important even for winter. As I said earlier proper hydration keeps skin retain moisture. Blink you eyes often to avoid dryness due to harsh winter weather.

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Fresh air. Let the fresh air circulate your home once in a while which is healthy for you as it takes away the trapped moisture inside the house which lead to mold formation. The fresh air circulation is always more comfortable and feel good. If you have a baby or kid who has not started kindergarten then just take them out everyday to get fresh oxygen.

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Invest on good boots. I remember falling down with my sports shoes walking on the snow melting ice. Walking on a melting snow is too dangerous that too with a flat base shoes hence, invest on a snow boots or even sport shoes which helps your feet keep their grip on the ground.

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I hope these tips are helpful for people like me who has been migrated to a different country with winters totally different from the homeland being super cold and snowy.

Stay warm and stay healthy

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