Indian Cuisine

Did I ever mention that Indian food has a very special place in my heart? It.has.a.special.place.in.my.heart! ūüôā (Bollywood music in the background)

I discovered Indian cuisine a decade ago while working alongside some food enthusiasts. They would drag me to every new ethnic restaurant in town.  One following week, we hit an Indian buffet and I kept hitting it week after week.  I became addicted and brought some new addicts with me.

Indian food is mostly vegetarian due to some religious practices.¬†Consumption of beef, for example, is taboo due to cows being considered sacred in Hinduism. Beef is generally not eaten by Hindus in India. ¬† Diet in India mainly consisted of legumes, vegetables, fruits, grains, dairy products, honey, and sometimes fish, eggs and meat. Staple foods eaten today include a variety of lentils (dal), whole-wheat flour (aŠĻ≠ŠĻ≠a), rice and pearl millet (bńĀjra), which has been cultivated in the Indian subcontinent since 6200 BCE. 1

I live near a very high population of Indians, so markets stuffed with their delicacies are everywhere.   The other day I bought some Dal Makhani.  It comes from the Punjab region of the Indian Subcontinent. The primary ingredients in dal makhani are whole black lentil with red kidney beans, butter and cream.  My favorite, Malabar Paratha.  It is an Indian style bread that I first fell in love with 4 years ago while in Houston, Texas. A friend who was half Malay and half Indian prepared it for dinner. Paratha is an amalgamation of the words parat and atta which literally means layers of cooked dough. Amazing!

Of course, you can not have an Indian meal and not experience one of the most amazing desserts,¬†Gulab Jamun. ¬†These are¬†milk solids that are prepared by heating milk over a low flame for a long time until most of the water content has evaporated. These milk solids, known as khoya in India and Pakistan, are kneaded into a dough, sometimes with a pinch of flour, and then shaped into small balls and deep-fried at a low temperature of about 148 ¬įC. The balls are then soaked in a light sugary syrup flavored with green cardamom and rosewater, kewra or saffron. ¬†One of my favorite desserts. I almost ate the whole can!

What cuisine has a special place in your heart?

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