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Saturday, May 5, 2007

Indian Kitchen




Either you like it or you don’t. While some people go gaga over Indian food and rush to the Indian restaurants on weekends and I swear by Devon Street in Chicago ( the Indian hub), some are not a big fan of the excessive spice and the lingering after taste that even strips of Listerine fail to wash away.

Unlike the prevailing concept that Indian food is all about spices and loading up on calories which so many of us deny to make it a part of our lifestyle and constantly are on a hunting spree for recipes that satisfy our palette and at the same time don’t take a toll on our waste line.

While most of the eating joints are really not an attestation to the fact that Indian food could be a low calorie meal, it’s nothing but the truth. While “curry” is the only known lingo linked to Indian food, it should one among the many.

Indian food in its true original form is one of the best known ways to have a perfectly balanced meal. I don’t mean the over oily restaurant food or frozen quick Indian dinners available in the market, though I would be lying if I say I don’t enjoy them during my crazy schedules.

If you mastered the guts to visit India and tasted traditional meals you know what I’m talking about. Whether you have been to India or just visited a family here Indians treat their guests with lot of attention and food. Its part of the culture, you are fed till you belch.

The traditional meal is balanced with grains (typically rice or naan), lentils (protein), typically two or three dishes of vegetables (seasonal), fish/chicken/egg curry and yogurt or sweet to finish it off. The restaurant food typically available here are a version you would find in Indian weddings or lavish food events and not in an everyday household meal.

Regular meals are low in oil content and the use of different spices allow for the range of available flavor. Unlike the assumption that Indian spices are all about turmeric, curry powder and cumin; it is actually a lot more. I have to admit that after all the cooking that I have done for the last ten years which started in my college dorm to avoid the tasteless food, I am still not aware of the dozen of spices that exist in Indian cooking.

After religiously watching Food Network, I think that kitchens here restrict themselves to zucchini, spinach and broccoli. What about other greens- gourds, cabbage, cauliflowers and so many others? My great grandmother lived till she was 97 and the story goes that while she was visiting my parents, a friendly neighbor said that he hated green gourd. A week later, she invited him over Sunday lunch and he praised for the next five minutes how perfect the lunch was. She smiled and said “am glad you liked the gourds”. Two of the served vegie dishes were made of it and he never realized just because it tasted so different and good. I’m not sure if I can pull a similar trick but then she was one of best cooks ever. That’s what is so amazing about Indian cooking; you can keep the original flavor or tweak it to the extent you wouldn’t know what it is.

Indian food is not all about the spices; it is about cooking infused with love and care. As in most places, food is an integral part of the culture and cooking and entertaining is part of your daily schedule, whether you like it or not.


(Pic: Courtesy Google Images)

2 comments:

Suvam said...

cool one...too good ...at least you can enlighten ur firaang folks with this...keep it up...

abijit said...

sweet....well i cant believe tarla dalal is charging to see her recipes..