How I Fell In Love with Indian Food

The first time I got really interested in the Indian culture is after reading the book A passage to India by English author E. M. Foster in my English Literature studies. His portrayal of the racial oppression and deep cultural misunderstandings that divided the Indian people and British colonists is what inspired me to want to learn more about Indian history. So, I started my research. Another thing that struck me the most in the book is Foster's depiction of the architecture. I watched documentaries, read books and tried to get a glimpse of their amazing world. However, I realized that the best and the right way to experience it is by actually visiting India.

In the meantime, I shift my focus on their food. Now that was something I could get a taste of. The first thing I did is I went and bought all the spices I could find. I fell in love. For months I experimented with food, trying different recipes and implementing the spices into every meal I could. I literally put curry in a sandwich, which I must admit, after trying it, it doesn't taste the same without. And finally, I found my 4 favorite spices, to which I dedicated one of my previous blogs about Indian Spices.

Ever since then, Indian food is very often found on my dining table. This time, I will give you my 2 favorite recipes that are easy to make and will introduce you to the vibrant, intensely colorful world of this cuisine.

Southern Indian Chicken Curry

Required Ingredients:

- pitta bread

- 1/4 cup of yogurt

-1/2 cup of milk

- 2 peaches

- 1 pound of chicken breasts

- a pinch of salt

- 1/4 teaspoon of mustard seeds

- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

- 5 tablespoons of lemon juice

- 1 piece of ginger

- 3 cloves of garlic

- 2 red onions

- 2 jalapeno chilies

- 4 tablespoons of corn oil

Preparation 

Time: 60 minutes

1. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Place the onions in skillet and cook for 5 minutes. Add the jalapenos, garlic, ginger, and 4 tablespoons of the lemon juice and cook for additional 5 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a plate.

2. Drizzle the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil to the skillet and raise heat to medium-high. Put the chicken in and stir-fry until golden, for about 8 minutes. Mix it with cayenne, coriander, cumin, mustard seeds, and salt and stir-fry for 2 more minutes.

3. Add the peaches, onion mixture, and 1/2 cup water and simmer for 8 minutes. Stir in the coconut milk, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer gently for 2 minutes. Taste and drizzle the remaining lemon juice, if necessary. Serve with the yogurt or pita bread, or both, if desired.

Indian Vegetable Stew

Required Ingredients:

- 3/4 cup of yogurt

- 3/4 cup of fresh cilantro leaves

- 1 pound of baby carrots

- 1 can of tomatoes

- 1 can of chickpeas

- a pinch of salt

- 1/2 cup of water

- 1 pound of new potatoes

- 1/8 teaspoon of cayenne pepper

- 1/4 teaspoon of cardamom

- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon bark

- 1 teaspoon ground coriander

- 1 teaspoon ground cumin

- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds

- 4 cloves of garlic

- 3 onions

- 1 tablespoon of olive oil

Preparation:

Time: 60 minutes

1. Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Put the onions and cook until it begins to brown for 5 to 6 minutes, stirring often. Throw in the garlic and continue to stir for about 1 minute. Add the cumin seed, ground cumin, coriander, cinnamon, cardamom ,and cayenne; cook while stirring until it is fragrant, for 30 to 60 seconds. Throw in the potatoes, water, and salt; bring to a simmer. Cover and cook for 10 minutes.

2. Add chickpeas, tomatoes, and carrots; stir to combine. Bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and simmer, partially covered, stirring occasionally and adding 1/2 cup water if needed, until the potatoes and the carrots are tender, for 30 to 35 minutes. Stir in the cilantro. Serve with yogurt, if desired.

For a while now, I am fascinated by everything India has to offer- their culture, history, and food. Now, the one thing left for me is to go there, which I plan to do in the near future and experience everything firsthand. I can't wait.  

   

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