Saturday, October 30, 2010
How To Make Delicious Indian Food
If you want to surprise your family with something different for dinner then a unique and delicious Indian dish might be your perfect choice. However, being a non-Indian you might wonder why the ‘Chicken butter masala’ or the ‘Goan fish curry’ that you cooked did not taste the same as your Indian friend made it when you visited them. The distinctive taste of all true Indian dishes comes from the unique preparations and methods that are used to make them. This is true not only for Indian dishes but for any authentic cuisine that originates from different parts of the world. If you attempt to prepare an Indian dish in American style then of course the taste will turn out to be more American than Indian.
One of the secrets to make authentic Indian dishes is to add the right amount of spices, particularly for non-vegetarian dishes. Even a pinch more can offset the taste of the dish. Another tip to make your Indian dish taste more Indian is to buy the spices from an Indian store. This is because the origin of the spices used also makes a difference in how the dish tastes.
For instance, for Indian dishes that require tamarind you have to make use of Indian tamarind and not, say Thai tamarind. This is because Thai tamarind tastes much sweeter than Indian tamarind.
If you want to make classic Indian dishes like chicken curry, it is better to get ready made masalas required for that particular dish from an Indian store. Trying to put together the complex mix of different spices in right proportions by yourself might not turn out as good as you expected.
India is a tropical country where coconut is found everywhere and not surprisingly in most of the Indian dishes. Most Indian recipes, especially South Indian cuisine has either scraped coconut or coconut milk as one of the main ingredients. If you are trying to make an Indian dish that requires coconut it is better to buy the real coconut instead of making do with the readily available coconut powder.
To make Indian dishes with better results, it is better to follow recipes from authentic sources created by Indians. You can find numerous mouth-watering recipes from the various Indian recipe websites.
Roasted Eggplant Chutney
Spices and dals are roasted in oil till golden brown and ground into fine powder using a spice blender. Large eggplant is roasted on direct flame till its charred. Then the roasted eggplant pulp is mashed with ground spice powder and garnished with cilantro and curry leaves.
Makes: around 2 Servings of Roasted Eggplant Chutney.
Large Eggplant 1
Chana Dal 1/2 tsp
Urad Dal 1/2 tsp
Coriander Seeds 1/2 tsp
Mustard Seeds 1/4 tsp
Cumin Seeds 1/4 tsp
Whole Red Chiles 1 – 2
Tamarind 1 inch Piece
Turmeric Powder a Pinch
Curry Leaves 4
Cilantro few Sprigs
Oil 1/2 tsp
Method of preparation:
Wash and finely chop the curry leaves and cilantro.
Heat half a tsp oil in a pan, add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, chana dal, urad dal, coriander seeds and red chiles in order.
Fry till aromatic or until all the ingredients are golden brown.
Cool the ingredients to room temperature and grind into fine powder along with tamarind and salt.
Wash and pat dry eggplant.
Place the eggplant directly on the low flame turning occasionally until the skin is completely charred on all sides.
Cool the cooked eggplant and remove the charred skin with the help of wet hands.
Discard stem and remove the roasted eggplant onto a bowl (around 1 Cup).
Pulse the roasted eggplant pulp, ground masala powder and salt briefly for 5 seconds.
Remove the eggplant chutney onto a bowl and garnish with curry leaves and cilantro.
Serve roasted eggplant chutney with steamed rice or with roti.
Notes: Make sure eggplant is cooked well while roasting.
Suggestions: If eggplant is not cooked well, put it back on heat or cook covered in a pan till done.
Variations: You can also temper the chutney with mustard seeds and curry leaves.