What do you think of when someone talks about Indian cooking? Curries and spices are so hot that will set fire in your mouth. Do you have the same feeling? To tell you the truth, Indian cooking is far more than that. The food involves more around flavor than pure heat. In the world of cooking, Indian cuisines are generally given the title of being ‘exotic food’. They are cooked in rich spices, garnished to look decorative. Indian cooking is not only delicious, but also pleasing to the eyes.
The spiciest Indian cooking is said to come from its southern regions. Overall, Indian cooking can be divided into 4 basic groups, mainly the northern, southern, eastern and western Indian region. And within those four parts are regional variations depending on cultural influences and climate on the state.
If you want to start Indian cooking at home, you will start to have a basic understanding about the basic spices in Indian cooking. Spices such as turmeric, cardamom and cumin are the common ones. Spices that are toasted and ground fresh are of course the best but those might be too difficult for a green-hand. You can also find recipe books on Indian cooking along with other popular cuisines which covers some basics understanding of the culture behind Indian food.
Even though some Indian food is traditionally packed with ingredients like oil and ghee that most of us avoid for health reasons, Indian cooking methods and food surprisingly become popular and warmly accepted worldwide. As Indian food is mentioned, curry is inevitably thought as synonyms with Indian food and ‘curry powder’ is thought of as its key ingredient. This all-important powder is actually a mix of spices collectively known as garam masala and is added to dishes along with other spices to enhance their flavor and aroma. While the basic ingredients used are the same, each household has its own proportions so that the result will often differ greatly. The better the ingredients used, the tastier the resulting dish is. Most Indians still prefer to prepare their own garam masala just prior to cooking because there is nothing to beat the flavor of fresh garam masala. And it is also true that any Indian dish is complete along with a serving of rice, or the Indian bread known as ‘roti’. However, a complete Indian meal would comprise of appetizers, which are usually the fried or baked snacks. This leads into the main course that comprises of one or two vegetable dishes, along with pulses or a curry, curds blended with salad vegetables, or simply sprinkled with some spices, rice and ‘roti’.
Many people who shy away from trying Indian cooking think the ingredients are hard to find. In fact, this is no longer a problem since Indian spices can be bought in most supermarkets and available in specialist Indian or Asian grocery stores. Most Indian food does not require special cooking utensils so there is no need to buy too many things for a start.