Author Topic: Indian Food  (Read 1626 times)

Online denny

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Indian Food
« on: September 11, 2015, 11:05:32 PM »
I really want to learn to cook Indian food....at least in part so I'll eat more vegetarian meals.  Does anybody have a reccomendation for a good book for a beginner in Indian cooking?
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Offline homoeccentricus

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Re: Indian Food
« Reply #1 on: September 11, 2015, 11:19:10 PM »
http://www.amazon.com/Madhur-Jaffreys-World-Vegetarian-Meatless/dp/0609809237/ref=pd_sim_sbs_14_1?ie=UTF8&refRID=13NR9PMQ6YX021MTC534&dpSrc=sims&preST=_AC_UL160_SR138%2C160_ very good vegetarian recipes, mostly from India but also from other countries. It's one of the only cook books I use regularly. If you want nice pictures of dishes, get another one. Very well written.
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Offline Alewyfe

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Re: Indian Food
« Reply #2 on: September 11, 2015, 11:54:18 PM »
we eat a fair amount of Indian cuisine. I actually studied breadmaking (naan, Puri,
chappati, etc.) with an Indian woman before we moved out here as i figured there'd be a dearth of good Indian food in rural Oregon.
I'll check my books and mail you a few recommendations. Costco recently had a large Indian cookbook for sale. I bought a copy and have not used it yet, but it looked like it had fairly decent recipes. You can find pre-made spice mixes for just about any kind of ingredient -  vegetables, dahls and pulses, by various companies at the Indian food stores. They are pretty good and really easy to use. Check out Sunrise mkt., and the indian store on 29th just off willamette.
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Offline mchrispen

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Re: Indian Food
« Reply #3 on: September 12, 2015, 12:10:01 AM »
I have found most books on Indian cuisine are pretty, well, Americanized. Not that it's a bad thing, but if you are looking for real family recipes full of flavor and tried and true... you won't find it in a book.

Best thing is to find a native, make friends, and cook together. Indian food is not, for the most part, easy. I was fortunate to have a colleague from Delhi transplanted into San Fransisco - fascinating to hit curry shops and various restaurants in SF that he thought were 'home-like' and the food was far more interesting than just plain hot curry.

Hint - spice is important, but process is even more important.
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Offline kmccaf

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Re: Indian Food
« Reply #4 on: September 12, 2015, 01:04:55 AM »
There are lots of great Indian recipes in How to Cook Everything Vegetarian by Mark  Bittman. Also, just a great book. Changed my life in fact. I can't imagine what my household cooking would be like without that book.
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Offline narvin

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Re: Indian Food
« Reply #5 on: September 12, 2015, 05:36:27 AM »
I've found some good recipes, videos, and information on this site: http://vahrehvah.com/
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Offline reverseapachemaster

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Re: Indian Food
« Reply #6 on: September 12, 2015, 06:20:41 AM »
Saying you want to cook Indian food is pretty much like saying you want to learn how to make European beer. Most of the Indian cuisine you find stateside is a mishmash of various parts of India. There's many different styles and techniques across the country. It's hard to find restaurants or cookbooks that are specific to regional specialization and when you do it's often Punjabi (which is delicious) or the British-safe versions served in touristy areas that are tempered and semi-bland. The other side of that coin is that most cookbooks will cater to that paradigm and provide recipes from around India and generally recipes for things you find in restaurants stateside.

The threshold test for a decent Indian cookbook is whether the ingredients listed are all available in your local chain supermarket outposts. Even your whole foods or whatever premium chain supermarkets you have won't carry all the ingredients you need. You will need a good local Indian grocer or liberal use of internet purchasing to stock your pantry for Indian food.

I'll recommend two books that I use that you should be able to buy. One is Indian Fast Food which is not the most exciting book but the recipes are simple, fairly quick to cook and are reasonably legitimate recipes. You might find this book at your local used bookstore. I went in a local Half Priced Books and found like five copies for like $6. It's a small book so it won't last long but it's a great introductory book. I still use my copy. Another great book is 50 Great Curries of India. I picked this up maybe six months ago from the clearance rack at B&N for like $10. It is just a great book. It's actually more than curries but the bulk is curries of all sorts. The recipes are involved and take time but they are solidly authentic. The author does a really good job of exploring various Indian regions and provides recipes out of regional cuisines you have probably never tried unless you happen to know people from that particular region and culture.
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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Indian Food
« Reply #7 on: September 12, 2015, 02:38:53 PM »
Agreed. Access to the right ingredients is half the fight. Luckily there are a few Indian groceries around here. I dabble but don't own any Indian cookbooks, so I try to find recipes online from actual Indian cooks when I do. I like these so far :

http://www.harighotra.co.uk/

http://maunikagowardhan.co.uk/cook-in-a-curry/

http://store.indianfoodsco.com/indian-spice-blends-spices-cooking-grocery-ic-sb-0    -   They sell spices as well.
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Online denny

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Re: Indian Food
« Reply #8 on: September 12, 2015, 03:59:45 PM »
Thank you all for the recommendations!  I'm gonna start checking them out!
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Offline homoeccentricus

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Re: Indian Food
« Reply #9 on: September 12, 2015, 04:54:06 PM »
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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Indian Food
« Reply #10 on: September 12, 2015, 08:00:37 PM »

http://www.harighotra.co.uk/

The masala prawns recipe looks awesome!

I've made that. Really tasty.


EDIT -  The (lamb) Rogan Josh recipe from that site is excellent, too.
           http://www.harighotra.co.uk/indian-recipes/mains/lamb-rogan-josh
« Last Edit: September 12, 2015, 08:04:49 PM by HoosierBrew »
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Offline pete b

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Re: Indian Food
« Reply #11 on: September 14, 2015, 02:09:46 PM »
Madhur Jaffrey's World Vegetarian is great.http://www.amazon.com/Madhur-Jaffreys-World-Vegetarian-Meatless/dp/0609809237/ref=pd_sim_14_1?ie=UTF8&refRID=0QNEACZSNDMVF0ZS03YE&dpID=51A6ptm%252BXNL&dpSrc=sims&preST=_AC_UL160_SR138%2C160_  Not exclusively Indian but it sounds like that's not your biggest priority.
I manage the kitchens at a large meditation retreat center that serves only vegetarian food and we serve quite a few Indian meals so I can give you a few basic tips:
1. Buy whole seeds for spices: cumin, fennel, coriander, brown mustard, cardamom pods, fenugreek etc. You'll be tempted to buy them by the pound if your excited about getting into it but onjly buy what you will use fast. Almost every Indian meal starts with toasting whole seeds in a cast iron skillet then grinding with a mortar and pestle or electric grinder. It only takes a minute of hands on work and your house will smell fantastic.
2. Make ghee. Its easy, it stores indefinitely, and its indispensable AFAIK
3. Learn to make Indian breads: Naan, chapati etc. Even if you don't bake they are super easy and some, like chapatti, can be mixed up and cooked on the spot, no need to rise for hours. A baking stone or large cast iron skillet is helpful.
4. Paneer is super easy to make and super expensive to buy, so make it if you like it.
5. Get a little rice cooker. You can measure some basmati, rinse, measure water and turn it on at the beginning and now you have a component of the meal being cooked for you not taking up a burner.
« Last Edit: September 14, 2015, 05:43:17 PM by pete b »
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Offline erockrph

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Re: Indian Food
« Reply #12 on: September 14, 2015, 05:29:59 PM »
4. Paneer is super easy to make and super expensive to buy, so make it if you like it.
I've been following this thread closely, but didn't have much too add since my "Indian" cooking is largely based on store-bought curry powder and garam masala that I doctor up a bit. But I am wholeheartedly behind Pete on paneer. It's super easy to make, and once you make it you will want to use it in about everything.
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Offline curtism1234

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Re: Indian Food
« Reply #13 on: September 14, 2015, 06:30:46 PM »
I could go for some lamb tikka masala  :o ;D ;D ;D

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Re: Indian Food
« Reply #14 on: September 14, 2015, 06:32:48 PM »
I'll recommend two books that I use that you should be able to buy. One is Indian Fast Food which is not the most exciting book but the recipes are simple, fairly quick to cook and are reasonably legitimate recipes. You might find this book at your local used bookstore. I went in a local Half Priced Books and found like five copies for like $6. It's a small book so it won't last long but it's a great introductory book. I still use my copy.

I just picked up a used copy on Amazon for $4.02 (including shipping).  Thanks for the recommendation.
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