Last week, I did a blog post about international cuisine and how it plays such a crucial part in our culinary experience. I figured my own culture deserved its blog post, so I wanted to get a little bit into Indian cuisine and some of the things I love. Growing up, food was a significant portion of every important event in my life; from holidays to birthdays, it all revolved around the meal. Since joint families are prevalent in Indian cultures, I was able to experience the cooking from my grandparents, aunts, and my mother, which allowed me to experience away variety of Indian cuisine.
Now, although my specific religion would traditionally be a vegetarian-based diet, my dad, who was a big proponent of eating everything, introduced us to all sorts of different Indian dishes as well. One thing to keep in mind when cooking Indian food is that many spices and ingredients are the same; it’s just a different method for preparing them that changes a dish completely. You can’t talk about Indian cuisine without talking about the variety of spices and the different aromas and flavors that they bring to the plate. One of the most versatile spaces is a gram masala which is a blend of multiple spices. Although this is a blend available in most grocery stores, it can also be made home with a mix of your herbs. Blending your own is very common in an Indian household, and it will vary from region and family, giving it its unique flavor. Some of the essential spices include chili powder, cumin, coriander, turmeric, cinnamon, and cloves. That list can go on for days and can get quite substantive so take a look at this link that breaks down a few of the most popular spices and flavor profiles.
As I said earlier, cooking Indian dishes just depends on the cooking method. A dish can have the same ingredients but be roasted in the oven or pan-fried on the stove, and it will just end up being completely different. When it comes to cooking methods, dishes are primarily made on the stove and add a medium to low heat where they can simmer and bring out the spices’ flavors. Indian cooking is quite forgiving for first-time chefs; it can be something that can be saved if you think you messed it up. One of my favorite dishes is Aloo Gobi which is cauliflower and potatoes in a potent spiced seasoning. It is a simple dish but is the definition of comfort food for me.
Hopefully, this is inspired you guys to cook some of those fantastic Indian dishes that are available; here’s a link to some great recipes if you want to give them a try. If you’re looking for any of those Indian spices, most of them are found in the local grocery stores or check out and see if you have a local Indian market in your area. At the very least, if I inspired you to go out to an Indian restaurant and try some dishes, you never have let me know on Twitter what your thoughts are. Let’s all keep it cooking.