Indian cuisine is more than just a palette of flavours – it offers an immersive experience that brings together tastes, traditions, and memories. Yes, I am Arvind, your friendly neighbourhood blogger, who resides amidst the serene beauty of Sydney, Australia. After countless attempts, I have finally achieved a degree of proficiency in cooking Indian meals that'd put the master chefs from the land of spices to a good competition. But guess what? It wasn't rocket science. I did not have to perform a set of complex manoeuvres or decode any secret recipes handed down through generations. Simple, everyday Indian recipes carried me through, and today, I'll be sharing the same with you.
Indian food may seem complicated, with its complex textures, layering of flavours and wide array of spices, but don't be overwhelmed. The first step towards mastering the art of Indian cooking is understanding the essential spices. These could range from cumin seeds, cardamom, turmeric, chilli powder, to name a few. These are the unsung heroes that bring the main ingredients to life regaling your plates with the unique flavours that Indian cuisine is known for. Don't fret if you don't have all of them in. Start with what you have, find your favourites and gradually build your spice rack.
Dal or lentil curry might seem like a mundane dish but in the context of Indian cuisine, dal is indispensable. It's wholesome, hearty, and comforting—a reflection of the simplistic and warm nature of India. The basic dal recipe starts with boiling lentils with some turmeric and salt. The fun begins with something called 'tempering'. It involves sizzling some spices like cumin seeds, chopped garlic and dried red chilli in hot oil and pouring this sizzling mix over the cooked lentils. The result is a bowl full of comfort with flavours dancing on your taste buds. I fondly remember the first time I mastered this dish and felt a strange satisfaction in the simplicity of it all.
When talking about Indian food, how can one omit biryani? Just the thought of biryani makes the mouth water. Let's break it down to its simplest form - it's rice cooked with marinated meat and spices. But how you flavour the meat, cook the rice and put it altogether in a spectrum of saffron, mint, and fried onions with aroma wafting off the pot makes all the difference. My tip is to slow cook biryani because, like a good wine, it gets better with time. Remember, patience is the key ingredient when making a good biryani!
Roti, an Indian staple, although apparently simple, often comes with a learning curve. To put it simply, roti is just dough made from wheat flour and water. However, the trick lies in getting a perfect round shape and puffing it on the flame. My initial attempts at roti were more like abstract art forms, each having a shape reminiscent of some continent or another. But with practice, I got there. So, keep calm, roll on, and believe me, seeing your first perfectly puffed roti feels as satisfying as landing your first job.
Now let's sail towards the shores of Paneer Butter Masala - the poster boy of Indian vegetarian dishes and my vegetarian friends' favourite. It's paneer or Indian cottage cheese simmered in a creamy tomato gravy. It might sound a bit daunting, but believe me, it's less complicated than building an IKEA table. The trick is to keep tasting and adjusting the flavours during cooking. A little sugar does wonders in balancing the spices and richness of the gravy. There's an incident from last year when I had thrown a dinner party and Paneer Butter Masala was on the menu. Guess what? One of my dear friends joined the ranks of vegetarians for the evening just to devour this delicacy!
Last but not the least, let's talk about Chicken Tikka Masala - a dish that ties together the spice-enriched legacy of Indian cooking with the tang and comfort of a creamy gravy. Yes, it's red, hot, and drool-worthy! At its heart, it's just grilled chunks of chicken soaked in a creamy, tomato-based gravy. But, the magic lies in marinating the chicken in curd and variety of spices before grilling it. Here's a fun fact – despite its deep roots in Indian cooking, Chicken Tikka Masala was actually declared a national dish by Britain. Ah, the love for Indian food knows no borders!
Remember, the essence of Indian cooking lies in the journey rather than the destination. Let's embrace the scattered spices, the occasional messes, and the trials and errors as parts of this fun-filled ride. So, buckle up and let's start this culinary journey through the lanes of Indian cuisine together. Happy cooking!