I'll never forget my first lesson in mixing my own batch of curry. I had watched my various Bengali and Gujurati friends cook, and thought I was ready to give it a try. SOOOO, I started throwing in the spices into the pan, then added the vegetables. The supervisor of the day was Dhiren (later my boyfriend), and he tasted the batch right after I had added the veggies, and declared it inedible: "Many mistakes can be fixed, but not the overuse of turmeric!" He then unceremoniously dumped all the vegies into a colander, rinsed the spices off, and had me start over!
I love Indian food, and even though I now do not often have the time to cook a whole Indian meal with lots of courses, but I do enjoy cooking a feast on special occasions (Alas, not many of our American friends seem to appreciate this cuisine, being sceptical of anything too foreign or spicy -- I think they're missing out!)
My bookshelf includes Madhur Jaffrey's Foods of India, which my husband bought for me after I kept on checking it out from the library over and over -- he figured it was cheaper than paying the overdue fines... This is one of those recipe book with lots of gorgeous pictures that makes you just want to pack your suitcase and travel to that country!
And now for some recipes. First of all, there's the staple of all Asia: rice. Cooked plain, or with just a tad of butter (ghee) and a few select spices. There's a huge variety in flavors added, such as onion, garlic, lemon, tamarind, coconut, etc. (NOT all in the same recipe, mind you!!!). But first, you gotta know the basics of cooking rice, and I point you to a wonderfully written account by my Philippine friend Megatonlove in her post entitled Prat du jour -- she's a new blogger and wonderfully talented writer!
Here's a new recipe I intend to try out soon:
Rice 2 cups
Cashew nuts, roasted and powdered 3 tbsps.
Salt to taste
Dry grated coconut 2 tbsps.
pinch of turmeric powder
pinch of asafoetida
Mustard seeds 1/4 tsp.
2 red chillies
Oil 2 tbsps.
few corriander leaves (we call this cilantro)
Heat oil. Add mustard seeds, red chillies and asafoetida. Next add the cooked rice and the remaining ingredients. Mix well. Sprinkle chopped corriander leaves. Serve with cheese curd.
AND SOME NEW RECIPES TO TRY:
And the next couple of vegetable recipes are from Glaciervalleycsa.com --their wonderful recipes can be found in their weekly publication the Glacier Grist. Go down to the bottom of the bar on the left side and click on the issue number listed for the recipe (there is also an index to all their wonderful recipes).
Indian diced potatoes with greens (Glacier Grist #11)
Indian-spiced roasted potato salad with carrots (Glacier Grist #1)
spicy indian cabbage & yellow split mung beans (Glacier Grist #22)
Last, but not least, a new way to cook cauliflower (a vegetable that needs all the help it can get, as it is, admittedly, rather boring!)
Curried roasted cauliflower
cauliflower, cut into floretsoil (such as peanut or sunflower oil)
curry powder, salt
Toss the cauliflower with oil, then add spices. Spread on a roasting pan and bake around 400F until done.