The Indian Spice Kitchen: Essential Ingredients and Over 200 Authentic Recipes by Monisha BharadwajIndian cuisine is a swirl of textures and flavors, mysteriously fiery yet beautifully subtle. This richly produced, wonderfully readable cookbook, The Indian Spice Kitchen, written by the food consultant to the celebrated London restaurant, Bombay Brasserie, takes you on an unforgettable culinary journey along the spice routes of India with over 200 authentic recipes and stunning color photographs throughout. Simple step-by-step recipes, all adapted for the North American kitchen, allow the home chef to create delicious foods with precious saffron, aromatic tamarind, and delicately fragrant turmeric, mustard and chilies. The recipes are arranged by featured ingredient in a full range of soups, breads, vegetarian and meat dishes, beverages and desserts. Among those included are Lamb with Apricots, Cauliflower in Coconut and Pepper Sauce, and Nine Jewels Vegetable Curry.
5 Essential Indian Spices
Although there are many regional varieties of Indian food no surprise, given the size and diversity of the country , the warm, flavorful spices and seasonings are almost always front and center in Indian dishes. In Indian cooking, the fragrant flavor of cardamom is used, most often in the form of a green or black pod. From flavoring basmati rice to curries and stews, cardamom pods are an essential ingredient in the Indian pantry. They are commonly crushed to release flavor, then stirred into the dish during the cooking process to infuse their signature aroma into recipes like in this basic tikka masala recipe. If you have to swap in ground cardamom, remember that 10 pods is about equal to 1. Pro Tip: Cardamom is the perfect spice for fall.
When you are first exposed to Indian cuisine, the aromatic spices might seem overwhelming. There is a mix of sweet and savory smells. There are a few core spices that are used in Indian food that give it the unique aroma that lingers for days. Curry powder, in the form that it is known in today, was invented in Madras for the purpose of being exported to England. In reality, each region of India has its own palette of spices. Most Indian spices are used individually, although in some regions, they are mixed together in different amounts to form other spices.
For example, I use more cumin and coriander than any other single spices up to 2 TBSP each in a dish , so I buy those in 2 lb. This is much cheaper than buying small quantities from the little jars in the grocery store aisle! I also avoid buying spices that have been packaged and sitting in warehouses and on shelves for months. These pre-packaged spices become dull and bland as they sit in the plastic. But buying spices from a fresh, trusted source will guarantee robust and consistent flavor throughout your dishes. I personally buy most of my spices from Mountain Rose Herbs , where I also have the option to buy organic.
Yes, yes I had to come to this post one day! I had to address this elephant in the room and answer some questions about what I stock in my Indian spice pantry. Indian cooking can be intimidating when you are starting.
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Indian food is a delicious mix for the senses: tantalizing aromas, vibrant colors, and of course those spicy, sweet, tangy flavors. But for the home cook, this cuisine can be daunting. This brings out the flavor of the spices and then enhances anything you add to them. Many Indian curries call for this strong, aromatic spice. You can find it as seeds or toasted and ground. Coriander Image: Flickr. Love Indian food?
When I was growing up, one of my best friends lived two doors down from me. Whenever she came over, my parents always tried to get her to eat Indian food but she usually refused because she found it too spicy. Fast forward several years, and now this friend of mine has grown to love Indian food. When we happen to be in town at the same time she willingly eats and actually enjoys the Indian food at my house. Thus, to help her eat delicious Indian food, I decided to do a four part series on building an Indian pantry.