The foundation of Indian cooking involves the use of spices, which make each savory or sweet dish complex and profound in flavor. Individual spices are combined with others in an Indian recipe or to form specific mixes known as masalas (for example, garam masala, vindaloo masala) which is either dry or in paste form.
Common spices and flavoring ingredients found in the Indian kitchen include turmeric, coriander seeds, cumin, mustard, bay leaves, cloves, asafoetida, carmon seeds, mango powder, tamarind pulp, and dried fenugreek leaves. Cinnamon and cardamom are also used in Indian sweets like the balushahi (deep fried pastries shaped like glazed doughnuts). The spices can be prepared from scratch or bought ready to use.
With the spices and flavorings mastered, the cook then learns the basic cooking techniques in Indian cooking. To cook food in its own juices under a covered pan, steaming (dum) is applied. To sauté in preparation for the addition of other ingredients, the Indian cook accomplishes the bhunao (sautéing). To deep-fry the pakora, the cook does talina (deep-frying). To cook marinated meats in a brick oven, the cook operates the tandoor (grilling).
Recipes for Indian cooking in this collection include a sampling of appetizers, main dishes, desserts, and flatbreads. The biryani is a colorful rice dish mixed with vegetables, nuts and spices. The bhindi masala is a spicy okra dish usually served with roti bread. Into the garam masala, turmeric, coriander seeds, cumin are added. Aloo matar is a classic Punjabi dish made with potatoes and green peas, made colorful and flavorful by cumin, garam masala, red chilli powder and turmeric.
We have recipes for chapatti and baati, unleavened Indian flatbreads to serve as perfect accompaniments to the rich sauces of Indian cooking. Break them into pieces and dip into the sauce or fill each flatbread with the dish so you get to taste India in one bite.