Hello, my name is Alonna and I am happy you are here. I have been passionate about food all my life. Do you know how they say to create what you wish was available to you? Well, I wrote a book about the food of my hometown of Philadelphia: the best butcher, bakeries, farm markets, etc. Now I am doing the same here: creating a resource I wish that I had. As an adventurous and accomplished home cook, I am having the time of my life, cooking through the many regions of India, learning different cooking methods and the many ways of using spices, pulses, and creating unforgettable food, if I may say so myself.
My earliest memories of food were my grandmother and mother’s cooking. They prepared simple meals from their garden. Both were feeding a large family so there was no time for frills, but meals were hearty, healthy, tasty, and served with love. Coming from a Pennsylvania Dutch tradition of dishes “spiced” just with salt, pepper, a little onion, and parsley is the exact opposite of Indian food. Which probably makes me appreciate the intricacies of many masalas even more.
The Origins of My Indian Stove
The idea for this website was running into so many people who love Indian food but would never consider cooking it for themselves. They claim it is too complicated and calls for too many ingredients. Years ago, my revelation about Indian food was actually how easy it is to make dishes that taste as good, or even better (and healthier) than dishes you order at a local Indian restaurant.
Besides being endlessly enticing, one of the beauties of cooking Indian food at home is that once you get a few steps under your belt, and the inexpensive basics of an Indian pantry, you are on your way using the kitchen equipment you probably already have, with possibly a minor purchase here or there.
My sources for recipe inspiration come from the 61 (and counting) Indian cookbooks that I am trying to find room for, the 115 blogs I follow, and the 66 vlogs that demonstrate my favorite dishes. I am excited by the increasing popularity of Indian cuisine in the United States. My new hometown of Albuquerque, New Mexico boasts 15 Indian restaurants and 2 Indian groceries for a population of 550,000 people. It is also refreshing to now be able to get food beyond the Mughlai (North Indian) based curries, delicious though they may be. I am completely besotted by the flavors of Southern India: coconut, rice, and lime-based dishes, and I love exploring the wide-ranging orchestra of spices from each region of India.
The Truth Comes Out!
Full disclosure: I am heat (from chilies) shy! My recipes all start with the minimum of dried red chilies, ground chili, or fresh green chilies. So if you appreciate hot dishes, you will probably want to double, or even triple the chili amounts. Go slow though, because you can always add ground chili at the end.
Oh, and I am passionate about taking Indian flavors and making favorite Western dishes, thus giving them more depth and added zing. My favorite meal? Chicken tikka masala, saag paneer (with my own paneer), lemon rice, and homemade garlic naan. Yes, I sense eyes rolling about chicken tikka not being an authentic Indian dish, but I haven’t met any meat eater, Indian or not, who doesn’t love this dish.
Working with me on the tech side of this website is my dear husband Eric (who I call E). He never tires of my meals and spurs me on by always being appreciative of my efforts.
All About E
Hi, I’m Eric.
I married Alonna in 1988—best decision I ever made (although she had to agree of course!)—and I have been the beneficiary of her cooking adventures ever since. For this site, I am the technical guy and photographer (my photography degree is finally useful, yeah!). I am learning to photograph food, which has its own aesthetic. Be patient, I’m getting better. The website too will get better over time: I’m grinding my fingers to the first knuckle working on it, listening to good advice, learning, and putting my new knowledge into practice.
Heidi & Emma
We have two Chinese Crested hairless dogs, Heidi and Emma, who help us live, laugh, and love. They get especially excited when they smell Indian food. They sit at our feet until we are done with our dinner because they know they will get to lick the plates. We call it the doggie prewash.