Indian food has an incredible range of seasonings and uses them in just about every way there is. It’s a style where I could never name a favorite dish because I’ll never have time to even try all of them, and I keep encountering new dishes that are better than all the rest I’ve had.
Weird coincidence. I was just about to fix some lunch/breakfast and it’s definitely going to be chicken, garlic, garam masala, peas, and chickpeas over rice.
You aren’t kidding – I can’t think of anything less than delicious from the entire subcontinent, at least that I have seen pictures of or eaten. Never been, but it’s a bitching thing, the way it can all come together.
Next culinary adventure: Ethiopian. If you like Indian food, chances are very good that you’ll like Ethiopian. Not because they’re the same (they’re not), but because they share that complexity of flavor profile.
When I was growing up my friends all hated their veggies. I couldn’t understand why until I started eating over their houses. Without fail their moms would serve these limp unappetizing boiled veggies with absolutely no flavor and then insist the kid eat them. I’m convinced this is why so many people don’t like veggies, because of their early exposures.
They’d come to my house, and be afraid of the heat, but we never had much heat - “spicy” just means “full of flavor” - and be thrilled at how good the food was.
Indian food is by far my favorite. It’s very expensive here in the FL panhandle. There’s this website, Show Me The Curry, that has instructional videos. I was delighted to discover that paneer is actually pretty easy to make yourself!
I’ve done a lot of Indian cooking at home because it’s quite expensive (and also I want to eat massive amounts of it). I’ve had good luck with butter chicken (and anything else in the same sauce), but my dal never tastes quite right. Who has a good dal recipe?
Definitely agree here - you can sample a ton of different dishes and find out what you like. Also, when you bring friends who have never had any Indian food, they can branch out. Generally, I’ve found, there’s the ‘safe’ dishes of rice, naan, and Tandoori Chicken, which even some of my extremely picky family members ate and enjoyed.
OK, I’m no slouch with a skillet, a grill, a pot…how hard is some of this stuff to make? I’ve tried Indian food several times and always liked it.
Also, give me a rundown on essential herbs/spices in Indian foods that are available at normal grocery stores so I can stock up. Is there a way to emulate tandoor without the tandoori oven (is that the correct term?)?
The big spice is cardomom. Used in lots of dishes, and difficult to find at the regular grocery (well mine anyway).
I made my own oven. There are plans online. It can be done with a terra cotta pot. There are a lot of recipes for using an oven to make tandoor. Not quite as good as the real thing, but still pretty good usually. There are a few other exotic spices, but plenty of common ones are used also, and plenty of substitutions can be made. Read lots of recipes, even for the same dish. You’ll start to get the idea of how things work and what you can do with the seasonings.