“Indian food has an uncanny charm and those who once taste Indian food find that all other food is insipid and tasteless in comparison.”
—Mrs. Balbir Singh, Author of “Mrs. Balbir Singh’s Indian Cookery”
One of the biggest misconceptions about Indian food is that it is too spicy (hot). The beauty of cooking your own Indian food is that you get to choose how much heat works for you. Restaurants too, often offer different levels of heat, so don’t hesitate to ask them to serve you food that is as spicy as you like it. Please don’t overlook this glorious cuisine for fear of the heat from chilies.
Another misconception is that the food typically served in Indian restaurants in the West is representative of what an Indian actually eat. This simply is not true.
“Indian food has been shrouded in mystique and subjected to a mockery which has served to alienate many Westerners from the cuisine.“
—Sameen Rushdie, author of “Sameen Rushdie’s Indian Cookery” and sister of Salmon Rushdie
Also daunting can be recipes with long lists of ingredients and many steps. These can frighten away even the most adventurous cook. I am here to help you get started, with a little hand-holding. You will find weeknight recipes, streamlined but delicious all the same, without requiring too much time at the stove. Or satisfying weekend cooking projects, with more ingredients and traditional steps, Many of us interested in learning to cook Indian dishes don’t have an Indian grandmother, mother, or mother-in-law to walk us through our favorites So my hope is that this website can be that resource for you.
I am also intrigued by taking familiar Western favorites (burgers, pizza, shepherd’s pie, ice cream, pasta, desserts, etc.) and adding an Indian twist. We are fortunate now that so much of the Indian pantry is easily found in our local grocery stores. But I will also include links to help you with those harder to find ingredients.
I want to convince you that you too can cook Indian food. The beauty of this cuisine is that it is forgiving, and it is delicious whether you cut your ingredients perfectly or not. If you are out of spinach for palak paneer, use mustard greens, or even collards. It is immensely satisfying to be creative and to put your own stamp on things. Your final dish may not taste exactly like a restaurant’s, or a grandmother’s version, but it will be tasty. Cooking Indian food at home allows you to tailor dishes to your taste, and bring healthy, addictive meals to the table.
My goal is to provide you with tested recipes so that you can recreate them for your family and friends. And, most importantly, have fun doing it. You may have eaten or cooked the most delicious version of a dish, but if it isn’t easy enough, you won’t make it again. I also believe that recipes are starting points. After you have cooked a recipe and understand the cooking methods used, and the flavors typical of a particular dish, you can make the dish your own. You are, after all, the chef (chief) in your own kitchen. Most importantly, be patient because practice makes perfect.
If you love Indian food, it is time to get cooking. Once you absorb the rhythm of the steps, you will be at ease in no time.
“The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you’ve got to have a what-the-hell attitude.”
― Julia Child