not all who wander are lost.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

the ever-elusive indian cuisine.

I love Indian food. Love, love, love, love, love it. I know for many it is an acquired I encourage you, if you don't already adore indian food, start acquirin'! My friend Sharon, who shares my affection towards this delicious ethnic cuisine, is usually the only person who will accompany me to an Indian meal. The restaurant that Sharon and I frequent is Bombay Indian Restaurant in Egg Harbor Township (3003 English Creek Ave Ste E2 (609) 646-4445).
You cannot beat their $8 lunch buffet, which is also great for "beginners" - you can sample a little bit of this and a little bit of that, feeling out your indian-palette. Of the 43 restaurants that are located in Egg Harbor Township, Bombay is rated #2, with four stars! The naan (indian flat-bread), freshly brewed Masala tea (with cream and sugar) and their fabulous rice pudding dessert are fantastic. They make the best Dal's, Curries, and Tandoori Chicken. I'm certainly not a vegetarian, but for those of you who are, Indian cuisine is for you. Vegetarianism is highly practiced in India, and is a huge part of the Hindu religion. Their cuisine is extremely influenced by their culture and religious beliefs (40% of India's population follows a strict vegetarian diet).

I love Indian food because of the amazing spices they utilize. Because India contains such extreme climates, there are many spices available to their cooking. Frequently used spices are chili pepper, black mustard seed, cumin, turmeric, fenugreek, ginger, garlic, cardamom, saffron, and coriander, all of which are amazing for your health and your well-being {though a lot of Indian food uses "Desi ghee", clarified butter}. Indian cuisine staples are rice, "atta" (whole wheat flour), and pulses ("masoor" - red lentil, "chana" - bengal gram, "toor" - pigeon pea or yellow gram, "urad" - black gram, and "mung" - green gram). Tea is also a staple in India. The tea is brewed as Masala Chai: the tea leaves are boiled with spices {cardamom, cloves, ginger & cinnamon} and milk.

Traditionally, Indian food was eaten while seated on the floor or low stools and without the use of utensils, solely your right hand (the left hand is thought to be your dirty hand). Don't worry though, Bombay gives you forks, spoons and knives -- though all you really need is the naan to scoop up and soak up all of the deliciousness on your plate.

In college, I had an Indian roomate, Raksha Nayee (aka "Rocky"). She would brew me delicious masala chai, cook me fabulous Indian feasts, and TRY - the key word being "try" - to teach me about the basics of cooking Indian food. This is no easy task, I assure you. There are thousands of spices, and the combinations just baffle my mind. So recently I purchased a book to help me in my quest, "5 Spices, 50 Dishes: Simple Indian Recipes Using Five Common Spices" by Ruta Kahate. It covers vegetables, dals, beef & lamb, chicken & eggs, seafood, salads & raitas, rice & bread, sweets, and the "perfect cup of chai". She uses the five main ingredients in Indian cooking: coriander seeds, cumin, mustard seeds, ground cayenne and turmeric - all of which can be found at your local grocery store. I'm hoping that Kahate's book will help me to nail down the ever-elusive Indian cuisine that I've struggled to create for so long.

True happiness consists in making others happy.
- Hindu proverb

So go ahead, try something new - Indian food is delicious and I promise it will make you happy . I promise.

1 comment:

  1. Hey, don't make it out like I don't eat indian food with you....whys it got to be all sharon this and sharon that, thow a nigga a bone.

    I enjoy your writing because I can read your personality in your writing, kinda like when you get so excited about something you do that little jive with you shoulders, its all I can imagine as I'm reading this, Ha, so adorable.

    True happiness consists in making others happy.
    I'm a retard.