One of the things that got us cooking in earnest was a desire to learn how to cook really good Indian food. We're still a long ways off (homestyle Indian food is a lifelong pursuit) but we've learned a lot about flavors, ingredients, and elements to help create Indian spice and savor in our meals.
As we work to become better at cooking without recipes, let's explore Indian food a little... Like other Asian cuisines, Indian cooking has a wide range of styles and regional specialties and variations in flavor. Here are a few of the basics...
Ingredients and Herbs
• Tamarind paste
• Coconut: Fresh and dried grated, as well as coconut milk
• Nuts, especially cashews
• Milk, especially preserved as khoya
• Sugar or jaggery
For a wonderful tour of the spices used in a household Indian kitchen, as well as some good storage tips and ideas, check out this kitchen tour: Devesh and Tara's Spice Pantry.
• Black peppercorns
• Green and black cardamom
• White and black cumin
• Mustard seeds
• Garam masala - a blend of the spices above. Make your own with this recipe.
Recipes and tips based on these flavors
• Basmati rice
• Paneer (homemade cheese pressed into a firm tofu-like consistency)
• Homemade or storebought hot and sour pickles
• Ghee - clarified butter
• Beans such as chickpeas
• Weekend Cooking: How to Make Curry
• Recipe: Butternut Squash & Coconut Curry
• Recipe: Lemon Rasam
• Recipe: Saffron Rice with Peas and Cashews
• The Hungry Reader: Rogan Josh in Interpreter of Maladies
• Recipe: D.I.Y. Mango Lassi
• Recipe: Indian-Roasted Cauliflower
• Quick Tip: How Do I Clarify Butter?
Your turn! What's left off? What are your favorite Indian recipes and dishes?
(Images: Sabra Krock and Faith Hopler)