I realized how cheesy I sound as I typed the headline to this post but it is apt and so it shall stay. I got a couple of e-mails from people who read my blog (thank you, you wonderful people!), demanding to see more easy Indian recipes, stuff you will not find in normal Desi restaurants here. Loosely translated: No Paneer, Tandoori, Dosa or Idli. While the demand did shock me, it also made me secretly happy that people here want to go an extra mile towards some normal Indian cooking. Yes, we don’t always make fiery gravies and tame rice-cakes but balance our palate with other delicious food too.
so before we begin, here is a list of a few basic Indian ingredients you will normally find in any Indian store near home (oh, we know you know our secret hang-out!):
Turmeric powder: we use this for color, flavor and the goodness in this fights cancer.
Chili Powder: And we don’t mean the tame ones. We love our pure cayenne pepper powder and take it with us everywhere.
Tamarind paste: Tang is the word when it comes to it and we use it everywhere we need something sour. This is also the key ingredient in our Sambar, Rasam and a few Chutneys. Back home, we buy it in slabs which comes with seeds. We soak in water, squeeze the juice and use it. The tamarind pulp in bottle you get in stores today saves you a whole lot of time now.
Ground cumin and coriander seeds: if you have cooked Mexican, you probably have both these magical ingredients in the pantry already. They have a warm flavor and we add them in a lot of Indian foods.
Urad Dal: is it a condiment? Is it a pulse? It is both and it is white in color. Broken or whole, it doesn’t matter but this pulse is used to cook and garnish.
Rice: I cannot tell a lie, we love our rice. Basmati, Sona Masoori or Ponni (these are types of rice), we can live on rice without complaining… forever. Normally, we use Sona Masoori or Ponni for everyday use and reserve Basmati for fried rice, Pilaf and Biriyani (due to its unattractive nutrition value)
So there you go. The basic stuff you need to buy on your next grocery shopping.