Results tagged Indian from David Lebovitz

Raita

cucumber-tomato raita

There’s a pretty interesting Indian community in Paris and I’ve taken to walking around areas in Paris like La Chapelle and rue du Faubourg Saint-Denis, poking my nose into noisy restaurants and trying to figure out what those colorful and oddly shaped fruits and vegetables at the produces stalls are. There’s all sorts of stuff in those shops and I’m particularly taken with something that’s green and leafy – about one meter (about 3 feet) long – that I can’t figure out what anyone would do with it, let along try to navigate getting it home through the sometimes difficult to navigate sidewalks of Paris. But I’m too timid to ask.

But I was not too timid to accept an invitation into the kitchen of Beena Paradin, who heard my plight as I’ve been trying to recreate Indian dishes at home, with ups and downs. On the downs, it feels like there’s something I seem to be missing; the liberal spicing, perhaps. Or the “feeling” one must absorb when trying dishes from another culture, which usually involves letting go of our notions of how food should be seasoned and spiced, and adapting to a completely foreign way of cooking.

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Green Tomato-Apple Chutney

green tomato chutney

Not to stereotype, but one of the great things I’ve noticed about Indian cooks is that whenever you make or try out one of their dishes, instead of combing through the ingredients or instructions looking for cultural missteps, they’re always thrilled that you’re interested in cooking their cuisine*.

A while back I made Tandoori Chicken, which was one of the first – and only – Indian dishes I have ever made. Sure it’s not very inventive, but it was fun learning about the spices and other ingredients on my trip to the Indian market, and folks left a lot of encouraging comments and tips in various venues for me, offering advice and enlightenment.

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Tandoori Chicken Recipe

tandoori chicken

Not to simplify some of the world’s great and highly-nuanced cuisines, but much of their flavors can be accomplished at home by just stocking your pantry with a few of the essential ingredients. The first time I made a tagine, I’d never mixed spices together like cumin, turmeric, cinnamon, and saffron in one dish. But what came out of my oven about an hour later reminded me exactly of the ubiquitous tagines served in Morocco that I’d had. After all, a tagine is basically just a simple braise; it’s the handful of fragrant spices that give it the flavor of the Kasbah.

There’s a lot to be said for authenticity. And for those who want to be absolutely authentic, next time you’re going to make a pie, begin by harvesting and grinding the wheat yourself.

Me? I’m happy to open a bag of flour*.

ingredients

I don’t know much about Indian food, and was never much of a fan. For the most part, so much of it was too soupy and saucy for me. I just don’t like food swimming in lots of liquid.

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