Add some spice to dinner with Indian cuisine
Cooking recipes from different cultures such as India is an excellent way to add something new to your regular diet and can help you be more adventurous in the kitchen.
The options for new dishes are nearly endless and whether you’re using a recipe or just following your instincts, there’s plenty of fun to be had in the kitchen.
Particularly in the UK, Indian food has been embraced by people of all backgrounds who love the regional dishes and warming curries prepared at their favourite local restaurants and takeaways. Many people love Indian food but are weary of making it at home because it seems difficult; in reality though, many dishes use the same basic ingredients and can be prepared in advance without much hassle.
Elements of Indian cooking
India is a huge country, so naturally, the term Indian cuisine covers a wide range of regional dishes and flavours – the most popular dishes in one part of the country can be totally different than in another, but even so there are flavours and ingredients that unite the Indian style of cooking and feature in many of the most iconic dishes around the country.
Roughly speaking, Indian cuisine can be divided into four major regions; North East, South, West and East. Dishes vary from region to region but can be similar in style thanks to the use of common spices and ingredients like aniseed, cardamom, cumin, coriander, saffron and turmeric. Having the right spices at home is crucial to the taste of the Indian dishes you will make, but the good news is that once you have them in your kitchen they will last a long time and can be used again and again in a nearly endless number of combinations.
By region, some of the most popular foods you might want to try at home include:
North East – Chapti, rice, biryani, naan bread, tandoori chicken, baati, dal, samosa, kofta and chana masala.
South – Dosa, bajji, payasam, sambar, biryani and masala dosa.
West – Puri, Bombay fry, vindaloo, chaat, panipuri, dahi vada, and kombdi vade.
East – Dal, bhaji, muri laru, bilahi maas, goja, maasor tenga and koldil chicken.
Finding the best Indian recipes
Indian food at first can be more intimidating because of complex names and exotic ingredients. Thanks to its popularity however, it’s easy to find the spices and other staple ingredients you’ll need at the large supermarket chains, and there are also specialty stores that carry the more unusual ingredients.
A great way to ease into cooking Indian food is with a curry; at the heart of Indian food is masala, which simply means a mixture of spices or foods. Wet masala is cooked from a base of ingredients like onion, tomato, garlic and ginger. Once your curry is simmering away, you can quickly make a serving of rice and naan bread.
Guides like BBC’s Good Food are a great starting point and have a section of Indian recipes complete with pictures and easy instructions to help guide you along the way. You can browse the recipes on offer and choose based on factors like how long it takes to make or how difficult the dish is to prepare.
Celebrity chefs are also a great authority on popular Indian dishes with a twist. Jamie Oliver has more than 20 unique recipes on his website to choose from, while chef Sanjeev Kapoor has an entire website devoted to Indian cuisine and his favourite recipes, offering up expert tips about how you can create his dishes for your friends and family.