Saturday, January 15, 2011

Asian Indian Food

The staples of Indian cuisine are rice, atta (whole wheat flour), and a variety of pulses, the most important of which are masoor (most often red lentil), channa (bengal gram), toor (pigeon pea or yellow gram), urad (black gram), and mung (green gram). Pulses may be used whole, dehusked – for example, dhuli moong or dhuli urad – or split. Split pulses, or dal, are used extensively. Some pulses, like channa and mung, are also processed into flour (besan).
Most Indian curries are cooked in vegetable oil. In northern and western India, peanut oil is most popular for cooking, while in eastern India, mustard oil is more commonly used. Coconut oil is used widely along the western coast especially in Kerala; gingelly (sesame) oil is common in the south as well. In recent decades, sunflower oil and soybean oil have gained popularity all over India. Hydrogenated vegetable oil, known as Vanaspati ghee, is another popular cooking medium. Butter-based ghee, or desi ghee, is less used than formerly.
The most important or frequently used spices in Indian cuisine are chilli pepper, black mustard seed (rai), cumin (jeera), turmeric (haldi, manjal), fenugreek (methi), asafoetida (hing, perungayam), ginger (adrak, inji), coriander (dhania), and garlic (lehsun, poondu). Popular spice mixes are garam masala, a powder that typically includes five or more dried spices, especially cardamom, cinnamon, and clove. Each region, and sometimes each individual chef, has a distinctive blend of garam masala. Goda masala is a similar sweet spice mix, popular in Maharashtra. Some leaves are commonly used, including tejpat (Bay leaf), coriander leaf, fenugreek leaf, and mint leaf. The common use of curry leaves and curry roots is typical of all South Indian cuisine. Sweet dishes are seasoned with cardamom, saffron, nutmeg, and rose petal essences.

(excerpt from Wikipedia)

Indian Naan (Authentic Asian Indian Flatbread)


  • 2/3 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
  • 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup ghee
  • 2 tablespoons plain yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons kalonji (onion seed)


  1. Whisk the warm water with the yeast and sugar until the yeast is dissolved. Cover and let stand in a warm place for 10 minutes.
  2. Sift flour and salt three times into a large bowl add the yeast mixture, half of the ghee and all the yogurt. Mix into a soft dough then knead on a floured surface for about 5 minutes or until dough is smooth and elastic. Place the dough in a large greased bowl, cover and let stand in a warm place for 1 1/2 hours or until the dough is doubled in size .
  3. Punch down dough then knead for 5 minutes. Divide dough into 6 pieces. Roll each piece out into 8 inch round naans.
  4. Cover an oven tray with foil and grease the foil. Brush the naan with a little of the remaining ghee and sprinkle with some of the kalonji. Cook naan one at a time under a very hot grill for about 2 minutes on each side or until puffed and just browned.

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