Indian Food: Warmth and Spice

Posted on August 26, 2011


I absolutely adore Indian food.

Unfortunately, the closest Indian Restaurant to us is a good 90 minute drive.  Our favorite restaurant is nearly four hours away.

So, we had to figure you how to make Indian at home.

Obtaining the spices and ingredients for a lot of my recipes can be tricky.  When PapaChef is working in the closest big city, he always makes a run to the Indian export store and the Asian market.  Here spices can be obtained in bulk for extremely reasonable prices.  At the grocery story in town, a small vial of Garam Masala is about $7.  About enough to make one or two recipes.  At the Asian Market, you can get a 1 1/2 c. bag of Garam Masala of much fresher and higher quality for $4.  So we stock up.  We even put lime and curry leaves in the freezer.  At Costco you can purchase Basmati rice in bulk and that certainly helps the budget as well.

Indian food is the absolute most aromatic out there.  They use so many spices and they blend together in the most tantalizing smells.  If you drive up to our house when we are cooking Indian you can smell it all the way at the back of our driveway.  Even steamed Basmati rice emits a warm, toasted fragrance.

I have several Indian cookbooks and they are all a bit quirky.  One of them is a British made into American cookbook so the recipes have been converted from the metric system, resulting in really bizarre quantities like 5/8 cup.  I do use this cookbook a lot and I like the recipes, but it is currently out of print.  The other one I use a lot has the most atrocious amounts of oil–I have to modify a lot of recipes.  So I don’t have one “must-have” recommendation.  Any recommendations?  We have just compiled recipes from internet sources, friends, family, and cookbooks.  And then modified them to suit our tastes.

We also really like the website Show me the Curry.  This is an amazing website bursting with recipes as well as step by step How To videos.  One of our favorite recipes from this site is the Shahi Paneer.  It is so creamy and flavorful, made with cashews and homemade cheese.

I have heard that when a young Indian bride gets married, one of the most prized and traditional wedding gifts is a large machete for using in the kitchen.  Indian cooking uses many vegetables.  In fact, some areas of India are vegetarian.  For the most part, it is a healthy way to eat.

So what is Indian food all about?   Curries, rice, lentils, vegetables, spices, flatbreads……all delicious and satisfying.

I am just an infant in my knowledge of Indian cooking, but I would love to know more.  Feel free to point me in the right direction!  Over the next little bit I will be posting some Indian recipes.