India's foods vary from region to region or even suburb to suburb. They differ by the mixes of spices used, but there is one fact that the whole country is famous for and that is vegetarianism. Most of the meat dishes are influenced by other cultures. We west of India, like to brag about "the great curry we ate (or made)." But real ethnic Indian dishes are called by the name of the mixture of spices used in the dish. Like tandori, garam masala etc... So the curry dish and the curry spice mix are relatively unknown in India!
Indian families like to create their own spice mixtures, right before the cooking.
And need I mention, rice is prerogative with most of the dishes.
Vancouver 's South Side and Vancouver's Fraser and Main streets are known as streets with many popular ethnic Indian stores. Colorful fabrics and the aroma of traditional spices are something this area is well known for. I love to go there for the best ingredients for my Indian cooking. You can also find original snacks from India here.
Many important Indian festivals are also celebrated here throughout the year, like the recent Diwali, one of the most important.
I went through my Indian cookbooks and picked out -what were for me- the tastiest and most interesting recipes I could find. All of them include ingredients available in almost any corner of the world.
GARAM MASALA(one of the most important Indian spice mixes)
2 Indian bay leaves (cassia)
1 tsp black peppercorns
2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp cloves
Remove the seeds from cardamom pods. Break the bay leaves into small pieces. Put them in a spice grinder or pestle and mortar with the remaining spices and grind to a fine powder. Store in a small airtight container until needed.
Golden egg curry
2 ripe tomatoes
25 gr ghee (substitute with butter or vegetable oil)
1 onion chopped
1 garlic clove finely chopped
1 2/3 cups coconut milk
1 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
6 curry leaves
Boil the eggs for about 5 minutes, shell them. You can deep fry the eggs if you want at this point.
Peel tomatoes and roughly chop discarding cores and seeds. On a medium heat cook a onion and garlic with a ghee (or oil) until is soft. Add tomato and cook more. After about ten more minutes add coconut milk,, turmeric, cayenne and salt. Cook short and add eggs. Cook for a few more minute and enjoy.
Aloo Ki Tikki (potato patties)
Popular street food
500 g (1 lb) cut potatoes
150 g (1 cup) fresh or frozen peas
4 tbsp oil
2 chopped green chilies
1/2 red onion
2 cm piece of fresh ginger grated
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp garam masala
2 tbsp besan flour (ground chickpea flour)
1tbsp lemon juice
Cook potatoes until ready to mash. Cook peas until tender.
Mash potatoes in bowl and add peas. Cook chili, onion, ginger and spices for 1 minute and add to potatoes with the besan flour and mix. Mix in lemon juice and salt.
Make small patties and bake them until golden brown.
Serve hot or cold with some chutneys like a tamarind or coriander. They are good snack.
Chicken with spicy coconut sauce2 tbsp oil
1 whole chicken cut in pieces
1 chopped onion
1 garlic clove crushed
1 tbsp fresh lemon grass finely chopped
2 tbsp ground coriander
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp chili powder
1 can of coconut milk
1 tbsp soy sauce
1/4 cup chopped coriander
1 piece of fresh ginger
Cook chicken in a pan until brown and remove it from a pan on a plate.
Cook onion in a same pan until soft and add garlic and all the spices and herbs except fresh coriander and stir over medium heat for a minute. Add chicken to pan, coat it with a spice mix. Stir in coconut milk and add water to cover it. Simmer covered until chicken is tender.
If you prefer your chicken grilled instead of cooked, take it out and grill it until crisp. Meantime, cook coconut sauce alone in the same pot until reduced to half and at the end stir in fresh coriander.
Serve it together with a chicken and cooked rice.
Banana coconut Rice rings
with palm sugar sauce
with palm sugar sauce
1 3/4 coconut milk
2/3 cup short grain rice
2 tbsp sugar
Palm sugar sauce:
3/4 palm sugar
3/4 cup water
1 1/2 cups coconut cream
Cook coconut milk sugar and rice until tender about twenty minutes. Let stand for ten more minutes so all milk can be absorbed by rice. Spread rice over plastic wrap sheet and wrap one banana with half of the rice. Wrap both rice bananas with plastic wrap and leave it in a fridge overnight.
Prepare the Sauce: Cook sugar and water for couple of minutes, take it from the heat and stir in coconut cream.
Pour the sauce over cut rings of "rice bananas".
Recipe for this delicious, traditional street coffee, with a hints of cardamom, ginger and cinnamon, called Karalan cappuccino can be find on my Coffee page.