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Old 16.11.2013, 19:16
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***The Great Big Indian Cooking Thread***

So, due to the fact that Indian cooking is now rapidly turning out to be my main secondary diet, I thought I would start a thread for people to talk about Indian cooking, and share some tips and recipes.

Personally, I now no longer use pre/prepared spice packs, and instead just have all the spices in my cupboard ready to use as I wish. However, if you do want to use spice packs then feel free as they are very convenient, and I made a thread on them a while ago here Shan spice packs (For Indian/Pakistan Curries)

Anyway, to cook Indian at least on a basic level, you of course need the right stuff. I have the following ingredients in my cupboards at all times:

Fresh produce:
  • Ghee (clarified butter, the closest substitute is called Bratbutter at the supermarkets) Bratbutter (frying butter)
  • Greek style yoghurt (thick and neutral tasting, gives curries a creamier texture and takes the sting out of the spice)
  • Red onions (large as possible)
  • Green onions (ditto)
  • Tomatoes
  • Garlic
  • Ginger (keeps very well in fridge or can be frozen also and lasts ages)
  • Red chillis (freeze them and they last forever)
  • Green chillis (same as above)

You really cannot underestimate the difference using this makes. I used to always use vegetable oil, then after switching to Ghee I found it made a real a difference to the overall aroma and taste.

Spice list
  • Chilli powder
  • Turmeric powder
  • Cumin powder
  • Garam Masala powder
  • Coriander powder
  • Whole cumin seeds
  • Green cardomon pods (I mainly buy the de-shelled ones, seeds only, saves time and effort)
  • Cloves
  • Fennel seeds
  • Black peppercorns (whole)

I buy all of my stuff from Barkats Cash and Carry in Zurich, an Indian superstore, it basically has almost everything you could ever need https://maps.google.ch/maps?ie=UTF-8...d=0CJcBEPwSMAs

Anything else I need not in the above list, then I buy on the day. Using the above list, I can make most stuff that I need to.

Cooking utensils:
  • Large heavy saucepan or pot
  • Hand blender (I use it all the time for the garlic, chilli and ginger)
  • Wooden spatula type thing
  • Wire mesh lid for putting on top of saucepans to stop stuff spitting out

Recipe Books

These are optional, you can of course Google recipes, but personally I love cook books.

EDIT - FREE version of The Curry Secret here, thanks for reminding me Homer! http://www.morpeth17.freeserve.co.uk...rry_Secret.pdf

Curry recipe:

I generally have one or two go-to recipes that give me a base with which I can make variations on depending what meat I use, and my current favourite is:
  • 500g beef (mince also works great), chicken or lamb
  • 40g Ghee
  • 2 large onions, finely chopped
  • 2x tomatoes, finely chopped (remove the hard and sour middle parts)
  • 4x cloves of garlic (finely chopped)
  • 2cm ginger (finely chopped)
  • 3x red chillis (finely chopped)
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2tsp green cardomon seeds
  • 1/4 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1tsp Salt
  • 1-2 tsp chilli powder
  • 1tsp turmeric powder
  • 1.5 tsp garam masala
  • 1tsp cumin powder
  • 4x cloves
  • 100ml greek-style yoghurt
  • 100ml water

Heat the Ghee up and then toss in the cumin seeds, cardomon pods, fennel seeds and cloves and fry for around 30 secs. Then add the chopped onion and fry for around 10 mins. Add the chopped chilli and garlic and fry for another 5 mins. By this time the onions should be brown, and the smels coming out will be making your mouth water.

Add all the powdered spices and mix it all in with the onions. Then add the meat and fry for a few minutes to seal the outsides (you don't have to, and can just drop it in later when the tomatoes and water are added and cook it for longer). Then add the tomatoes and fry them for a couple of minutes. Then add the water and stir (it's really important not to add too much water or you will end up cooking it for longer to thicken the mixture, and the meat will go touch. Add only enough water to give it a thick, gravy-like consistency).

Let that simmer slowly for 20 mins, and then add the 100ml of yoghurt and simmer for another 10 mins. Start your rice cooking at this point too.

Rice recipe

I like rice with a bit of flavour. So, I add the following to the water before cooking the (Basmati, of course) rice:
  1. 1 tsp turmeric
  2. 1tsp cumin seeds
  3. 1/2 tsp salt
  4. 1tsp garlic powder (optional)

It gives it a lovely yellow colour and the cumin seeds really add a lovely extra bit of flavour to the rice.

So there... that's my go-to recipe for curry, and to my tastes is miles better than the average curries I've eaten in Zurich restaurants! Now I just need to learn (or practise, should I say) how to make the Naans etc!

I am by no means an expert, the above is just how I personally do it, and I'd love to hear some tips and recipes from people more knowledgeable than myself. Thanks, and looking forward to reading how others do it!

Last edited by Richdog; 27.11.2013 at 20:22.
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Old 16.11.2013, 19:27
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Re: ***The Great Big Indian Cooking Thread***

A cook who is a great big Indian?

How to cook great big Indians?

Oh, and I'm too lazy to use/keep ghee, so I just mix normal oil and butter in equal amounts.
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Old 16.11.2013, 19:29
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Re: ***The Great Big Indian Cooking Thread***

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A cook who is a great big Indian?

How to cook great big Indians?

Oh, and I'm too lazy to use/keep ghee, so I just mix normal oil and butter in equal amounts.
Meh, it's not so much effort to buy it then keep in your fridge. Just out of interest, do you have a good Indian shop in Basel?
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Old 16.11.2013, 19:40
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Re: ***The Great Big Indian Cooking Thread***

We regularly go back to Leicester, which is a great help with the spices.
Sadly, my sil has 'borrowed' my original Madhur Jaffrey book- but my guru is Manjula- she started as a very ordinary housewife cooking from her very simple kitchen- and now has bgecome quite famous. I love her recipes - as she always says, namaste. I've recently bought a pizza stone so I can make nans- great. Her rooti recipe is very different to my mil's though.

www.manjulaskitchen.com
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Old 16.11.2013, 19:41
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Re: ***The Great Big Indian Cooking Thread***

Great thread!

But you missed out the two best recipe books I've ever owned, and arguably some of the finest Indian cooking available!

Vij's at Home: Relax, Honey


and

Elegant and Inspired Vij's Indian Cuisine

(Above links go to The Book Depository order pages, or try here for the Vij's restaurant page)

I'm an Indian food junkie (North, South, and everything in between!), and for me there is none finer than Vij's. It's traditional enough for me, but I think it could technically be considered "Indian Fusion" or at least nouveau-Indian (did I just make up a term there?!), since they tweak many traditional recipes for the better.

The first book is my favourite. I've had it for a few years now, almost cooked through the whole book now. Just ordered the original (Elegant and Inspired..) a few weeks ago, and loving it every bit as much.

Highly recommend these!
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Old 16.11.2013, 19:46
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Re: ***The Great Big Indian Cooking Thread***

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Meh, it's not so much effort to buy it then keep in your fridge. Just out of interest, do you have a good Indian shop in Basel?
There's one which isn't too bad, but I'm in London regularly enough that I go to the Indian hypermarkets on Brick Lane when I need to stock up with dry ingredients.

My fridge is tiny.
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Old 16.11.2013, 19:46
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Re: ***The Great Big Indian Cooking Thread***

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Great thread!

But you missed out the two best recipe books I've ever owned, and arguably some of the finest Indian cooking available!

Vij's at Home: Relax, Honey


and

Elegant and Inspired Vij's Indian Cuisine

(Above links go to The Book Depository order pages, or try here for the Vij's restaurant page)

I'm an Indian food junkie (North, South, and everything in between!), and for me there is none finer than Vij's. It's traditional enough for me, but I think it could technically be considered "Indian Fusion" or at least nouveau-Indian (did I just make up a term there?!), since they tweak many traditional recipes for the better.

The first book is my favourite. I've had it for a few years now, almost cooked through the whole book now. Just ordered the original (Elegant and Inspired..) a few weeks ago, and loving it every bit as much.

Highly recommend these!
Hmm, never heard of him (seems he has a restaurant in Vancouver) and only 1 amazon review in over 4 years since the books were released... I'm a bit wary about buying books with so little feedback. Glad to hear the recipes are good though!
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Old 16.11.2013, 19:48
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Re: ***The Great Big Indian Cooking Thread***

Ghee is actually clarified butter, not unclarified. When I followed the recipe from The Cook's book, I found that the homemade version tastes different from the Bratbutter, more... nutty. But maybe it's just me.
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Old 16.11.2013, 20:27
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Re: ***The Great Big Indian Cooking Thread***

Couple of other things you can add to the rice.
- Cardamom
- Cloves
- Tej Patta (I think it is bayleaf)

You may also want to try Kadi Patta (cant remember the english translation). It is used quite frequently in South Indian cooking. Gives a nice flavour to the 'tadka'.

By the way, the best way to cook Indian food is using Ghee. Not only does it bring the flavours out, it is also healthier in the long run.
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Old 16.11.2013, 20:47
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Re: ***The Great Big Indian Cooking Thread***

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Hmm, never heard of him (seems he has a restaurant in Vancouver) and only 1 amazon review in over 4 years since the books were released... I'm a bit wary about buying books with so little feedback. Glad to hear the recipes are good though!
Which amazon site were you looking at? At amazon.com, there are 11 reviews - sounds quite good from those, I'm intrigued.
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Old 16.11.2013, 20:53
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Re: ***The Great Big Indian Cooking Thread***

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Which amazon site were you looking at? At amazon.com, there are 11 reviews - sounds quite good from those, I'm intrigued.
Ahhhh I was looking only at the UK site. Just looked on Amazon.com now and the books do indeed seem decent.
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Old 16.11.2013, 21:57
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Re: ***The Great Big Indian Cooking Thread***

Thanks for starting this thread... and for the recipe. As I mentioned in that recent ghee thread, I've been wanting to try out new Indian recipes (preferably the creamier, Northern recipes), but I always hesitate because the recipes I've tried in the past never turned out very well. Hence, I actually just recently ordered a few jars of Sharwood's korma paste.

Curiously, for the recipe you posted above, is the curry quite spicy?

And, as for the ghee... I once bought a huge tub of Bratbutter from Migros. How long does Bratbutter usually last in the fridge? The tub had an expiration date on it, but I assume that date is meant more for the unopened product. How do you know when it goes bad?

Side note: I remember the first time I was ever introduced to Indian food. I thought my taste buds had died and gone to heaven.
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Old 16.11.2013, 22:05
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Re: ***The Great Big Indian Cooking Thread***

Ghee is the easiest thing in the world to make and the taste difference between buying Jarred Ghee and the fresh stuff is phenomenal, particularly given the excellent quality of Swiss butter. Ghee lasts forever- its like oil, in that it just is the butter fat with all the milk solids (that could cause spoilage) cooked off. I've eaten six month old ghee which tasted delicious.

Instructions here: http://www.veggiebelly.com/2012/01/h...make-ghee.html

Kadi Patta are curry leaves. Best place to buy these is the sri-lankan shop, SKT near Josefstrasse. They do make a massive difference in South Indian food.
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Old 16.11.2013, 22:16
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Re: ***The Great Big Indian Cooking Thread***

Great thread, although it is a pity that you all live away from Geneva. It would be great to meet up and cook together, sharing recipes.

I come from an Asian background and my wife is Indian, so I grew up eating curries (as you all know, they don't have to be spicy) and haven't really stopped!

There are so many dishes - aloo palak, aloo gobi, tarka daal, bhindi, bengan, karahi, rogan josh, tikka, masala, dopiaza, jalfrezi, nehari, keema, keema fry, egg curry, prawn (jinga), machli (fish),...

Let's not forget the side dishes - paratha, naan, sheesh kebab, shami kebab, peshwari kebab, samosa freshly made, pakora, bhaji,...

And the sweets - bharfi (my favourite), ladoo, chaat, halva, halva puri, jalebi, falooda, ras ghula,...

And those are just from my neck of the woods in Kashmir!
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Old 16.11.2013, 22:34
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Re: ***The Great Big Indian Cooking Thread***

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Thanks for starting this thread... and for the recipe. As I mentioned in that recent ghee thread, I've been wanting to try out new Indian recipes (preferably the creamier, Northern recipes), but I always hesitate because the recipes I've tried in the past never turned out very well. Hence, I actually just recently ordered a few jars of Sharwood's korma paste.

Curiously, for the recipe you posted above, is the curry quite spicy?

And, as for the ghee... I once bought a huge tub of Bratbutter from Migros. How long does Bratbutter usually last in the fridge? The tub had an expiration date on it, but I assume that date is meant more for the unopened product. How do you know when it goes bad?

Side note: I remember the first time I was ever introduced to Indian food. I thought my taste buds had died and gone to heaven.
Yeah the curry I posted is a little spicy, but then I love a bit of spice.

I doubt the butter would go bad by the time you use it... butter lasts ages and often goes well past the (conservative) "best by end of" date.

And I know what you mean about the taste buds... Indian food gives me multiple tastegasms.

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Ghee is the easiest thing in the world to make and the taste difference between buying Jarred Ghee and the fresh stuff is phenomenal, particularly given the excellent quality of Swiss butter. Ghee lasts forever- its like oil, in that it just is the butter fat with all the milk solids (that could cause spoilage) cooked off. I've eaten six month old ghee which tasted delicious.

Instructions here: http://www.veggiebelly.com/2012/01/h...make-ghee.html

Kadi Patta are curry leaves. Best place to buy these is the sri-lankan shop, SKT near Josefstrasse. They do make a massive difference in South Indian food.
Meh, that's one of those things I'd rather leave to convenience and buy it. Plus, the one I bought appears to have something else in it, because it has a lovely, almost perfume-y aroma to it.

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Great thread, although it is a pity that you all live away from Geneva. It would be great to meet up and cook together, sharing recipes.

I come from an Asian background and my wife is Indian, so I grew up eating curries (as you all know, they don't have to be spicy) and haven't really stopped!

There are so many dishes - aloo palak, aloo gobi, tarka daal, bhindi, bengan, karahi, rogan josh, tikka, masala, dopiaza, jalfrezi, nehari, keema, keema fry, egg curry, prawn (jinga), machli (fish),...

Let's not forget the side dishes - paratha, naan, sheesh kebab, shami kebab, peshwari kebab, samosa freshly made, pakora, bhaji,...

And the sweets - bharfi (my favourite), ladoo, chaat, halva, halva puri, jalebi, falooda, ras ghula,...

And those are just from my neck of the woods in Kashmir!
Ahhhh... I had an Indian girlfriend once who was an excellent cook and could scan my cupboards, almost randomly pick things out, and then create culinary magic. Certainly one of the things I miss about her!

Indeed it's a shame you live in Geneva, would have certainly enjoyed doing a curry cook-up and learning some new things from someone as knowledgeable as yourself!
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Old 16.11.2013, 22:42
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Re: ***The Great Big Indian Cooking Thread***

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And I know what you mean about the taste buds... Indian food gives me multiple tastegasms.
Well, some say it is an aphrodisiac.
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Old 16.11.2013, 23:18
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Re: ***The Great Big Indian Cooking Thread***

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And, as for the ghee... I once bought a huge tub of Bratbutter from Migros. How long does Bratbutter usually last in the fridge? The tub had an expiration date on it, but I assume that date is meant more for the unopened product. How do you know when it goes bad?
You don't need to keep it in the fridge at all, I keep mine in the cupboard. It's fine for several months at least, quite possibly years... think of it as super-buttery New Butter Flavor Crisco.

If it ever goes bad it'll go rancid, and you'll smell/taste that soon as you open it.
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Old 17.11.2013, 00:05
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Re: ***The Great Big Indian Cooking Thread***

A very big tip is to buy whole spices and grind them yourself, just enough each time for the recipe.

Whole spices keep for around a year. Commercial ground spices for a very maximum of 6 months from the date of grinding! When you buy ready ground spices try and buy from a busy shop with a high turnover.

When I cook a curry for guests, I throw all my powders away and start afresh. It is very noticeable in the taste. For weeks the flavour has diminished and becoming more like saw dust, and suddenly spicy curry is back again!

Another tip for all food storage: why use Tupperware type containers? You then have a container with lots of air in it, with an air tight lid on it. The food can still have plenty of air around it, so why use Tupperware!

I find it much better to keep food in plastic bags, and with spices the original bags: squeeze the air out and roll the bag up, then seal with an office paper clip or a clothes peg.

Good curries often have an onion base. You need to slowly cook the onions on a medium to low heat, stirring often, for about 30 minutes until they are soft, sweet and medium to dark brown. Burnt onions should be thrown away, and burnt curry cannot be rescued.

Authentic Indian recipes do not taste the same as the stuff sold in a British Indian restaurant. This puzzled me for many years, until I found the Indian Restaurant Cook Book by Pat Chapman.
There you will find the "authentic British curry" taste. http://www.amazon.co.uk/Indian-Resta...+curry+Chapman
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Old 17.11.2013, 08:06
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Re: ***The Great Big Indian Cooking Thread***

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A very big tip is to buy whole spices and grind them yourself, just enough each time for the recipe.
This is how it should be done! I am too lazy for that, so I grind enough for 5-6 times. I toast the seeds and then grind in a dedicated cheap coffee grinder, it gives them (and our kitchen) a lovely aroma.
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Old 17.11.2013, 08:11
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Re: ***The Great Big Indian Cooking Thread***

Nice thread, Richdog.

MY only problem is that everything and everyone in the apartment starts to smell like curry....
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