Indian Gourmet Night

Next weekend we will be hosting our "gourmet club" and the theme is Indian! I have to say that, next to Thai, this is my favorite type of ethnic food. When we were living in Bangladesh I thought we would encounter more "Indian" type flavors (since Bangladesh used to be part of India), but we did not. Even though we were invited to the homes of several "locals", the food did not seem to have the same flavors as what I know, to be "Indian".

Below are some photos from Bangladesh where, markets and spices etc. are similar to India. One of the best (local meals) we had there was at the home of the family in the photo. The gentleman in the middle worked at our school and the others are all part of his family.

Top left - our fellow staff member and his family. The others were taken on a trip to a local market.

So ... to get thinking about Indian food I've done a little research:

India is a big country and each region has its own unique specialties in the food department. When you Google "Indian food" or "Indian recipes" the possibilities are endless! 

It's all about the Spice

Basically, it's the spices that make this mind boggling array of dishes uniquely "Indian". Curry powder, used in many recipes, is actually a mixture of spices: turmeric, chili, fenugreek, cardamon, cumin, coriander, saffron and mace. Garam Masala (masala - means spice mix) is called for in many Indian dishes and is also a blend of spices. Most Indian families blend their own "Garam Masala" so quantities often vary. Garam Masala consists of: cumin, black pepper, cardamon, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. The difference here is the blend of savory (cumin, pepper etc.) and sweet (cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg) together. "Tikki" Masala is Garam Masala plus - ginger and mint. So as you can see - it's all about the spice!

Cooking oil and sides

If cooking oil is required, vegetable oil such as sunflower or canola is commonly used. Some recipes may call for "ghee" (we often saw this in stores in Bangladesh or Sri Lanka), Ghee is actually clarified butter. Since many dishes are a mixture of meat and or vegetables in a flavorful sauce they are usually served with rice as a "side" or perhaps naan bread to soak up the juice. Traditionally basamati rice is used.

Chutneys, and pickles are also traditional accompaniments to the Indian dinner table and of course you gotta love samosas!

Popular Dishes

So here is a list of some popular Indian dishes:
  • Butter Chicken
  • Rogan Josh (lamb or beef in a spicy sauce)
  • Vindaloo (a spicy curry dish with either beef or chicken)
  • Tandoori Chicken
  • Malai Kofta (mashed potato balls in a cream sauce)
  • Palak Paneer (spinach and cottage cheese)
  • Chicken Tikki Masala
  • Chole (chick pea curry)
  • Paneer Makhabi (Indian cheese in a tomato sauce)
The list above could be endless! 

If you begin to research Indian cuisine, you will not find a lack of information ..... it can be overwhelming! I've posted a link to three websites below. is a popular website featuring contemporary as well as traditional Indian food. Indianfood offers a lot of information about the culture and regions as they pertain to food in India. All Recipes - Indian Food is very user friendly (especially for North Americans) and it even has videos for may of its recipes! If you follow the link below you will find specific categories such as: main dishes, sides, appetizers and desserts ..... too easy!

So put on your "shalwar kameez" (ladies) and your "punjabi"(men) and try out a taste of India!

A typical (middle class) kitchen in Bangladesh. This lady cooked us some delicious potato pancakes!
My grade 7 language arts class all dressed up in their shalwar kameez and punjabis! 



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