Monday, August 17, 2009
SPICE IT UP!!!
If one happens to visit an Indian home around lunch or dinner time the strong aroma of different spices fills the air, tingling our taste buds and sending hunger pangs through our stomachs.
Spices and condiments have been an integral part of the Indian cuisine. With different regions in India having their own specialities, the use of spices is common to all. However it is the blend of spices in different proportions that gives each dish in India a distinct texture and flavour.
The basic Indian spices that are used all most every day in our daily cooking are red chilly powder, turmeric powder, corainder powder,fenugreek powder, and a blend of all the spices called garam masala. Apart from these we have cardamoms, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, mace, cumin, asefotida, fennel seeds, onioin seeds,dried mango powder, etc.
Each of these apart from providing great taste to the food have curative properties too. From minor cold and coughs to indigestion, from aches and pains to other ailments like blood pressure, cholesterol,diabetes to name a few.
Ayurveda (the ancient indian system of studying the body), stresses on the use of herbs and spices to keep our body under control.
just to name a few:
GARLIC has been advocated to be an all rounder curative spice for high cholesterol, blood pressure, gas.
TURMERIC heals aches and pains when had with warm milk.
FENUGREEK seeds, MUSTARD SEEDS and CLOVES all help reduce blood sugar.
FENNEL SEEDS (saunf) often taken after a meal in india aids in digestion.
Adding spices to our food not only makes them tasty, they also make them healthy.
They say "variety is the spice of life" well if you ask me.....it is the spice that gets the variety.......
what do you'll think?
here is a quick and easy recipe for an INDIAN gravy. This gravy can be used as a base to cook both vegetarian and non vegetarian dishes.
basic indian gravy
onion paste: 2 cups
tomato puree: 1 cup
ginger garlic paste: 1 tbsp
green chilly paste: 1/2 tsp
salt: to taste
red shilly powder: 1/4th tsp
turmeric powder: 1 tsp
coriander and fenugreek powder: 1 tsp
garam masala: 1 tsp
oil/butter: 1 - 2 tbsp
1. In a pan heat the oil.
2. To this add the ginger garlic and the green chillypaste first (this will infuse the all with all the flavours). saute till it starts turning brown.
3. To this add the onion psate and cook till it completely truns brown.
4. Now add the tomato paste.saute.
5. Add all the spices one by one.
6. Keep cooking the gravy till you see the oil seperating. By this time the strong aroma of all the spices will fill up the kitchen.
7. At this point you can add chopped vegetables (potatoes, carrots, peas, paneer) or even pieces of chicken, lamb, fish. Add little water. Cover and let it cook.
8. One can make this gravy ahead of time and freeze it in an air tight jar for a 2-3 days.
9. For the next use, just thaw it in the refrigerator and heat it with your favourite vegetable or meat.
10. To get all the fresh taste it is best to use the gravy within 2-3 days of preparing it.
These Indian spices are available at all indian stores.
Incase anyone should try out the gravy.....I would love to hear their experience.