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Suvir Saran

How often do you eat Indian food?

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Do you mostly make it at home?

How many items would you have at any given meal made at home for your daily meal?

Go out to restaurants?

Any particular items you like to eat more often?

If you own an Indian restaurant, can you share with us what your meal pattern is?

If you are non-Indian, could you tell us how often you prepare an Indian meal or even inspired by India meal?

Do you have or know kids that follow a similar pattern to yours in regards to Indian food?

What Indian foods do these kids find most appealing to them? Have they grown up outside of India and eating Indian food?

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I eat Indian food roughly once a week. I mostly cook it at home, but enjoy going to Indian restaurants.

When I cook at home, I make between 1 and 2 dishes.

Even though I cook it only once a week, I find some indian techniques and spicing working their way into my other dishes. Particularly the technique of cooking spices in oil to base a dish.

Ben


Gimme what cha got for a pork chop!

-Freakmaster

I have two words for America... Meat Crust.

-Mario

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I never make Indian food at home, but I'm anxious to learn!

I go out for the mediocre Indian food that's offered here about once every other month.

My children have yet to be exposed to Indian food. That is probably because there's none very close to my home. However, I eventually plan to introduce it to them a dish at a time. Some of it they'll love right away, whereas other stuff will be very strange to them. The L'il Varmints are still young, so they can be trained!


Dean McCord

VarmintBites

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My boyfriend and I make an indian meal at home 1 times a week, and usually dine at a South Indian restaurant 2x a month.

We make dal in Hyberdaad fashion-- usually add spinach or some veggies to it at the end. We make chappattis, have yogurt and pickle to go along side.

Wish I could eat more samosas :smile:

As I am non-Indian, I think the Indian influence on my cooking/menu planning has become seamless.

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I'm here to confess that eat Indian food maybe once or twice a year - in fact, I avoid it whenever possible. I know that there are many wonderful and unique flavors to be found in Indian cuisine, but 90% of the time it's just too spicy for me to eat. For me, spicy food equals pain, and I would rather enjoy a meal than live through it. It's the same thing for most Mexican food. Thai food can also be a problem, but at least I can usually vary the heat when I order ("no stars, please").

Sorry. :sad:

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I currently only have Indian food about three times a year. There's a decent Indian restaurant here in Springfield and I like their food too much. I always eat far more than I should. The main problem is that I usually have to go on my own because none of my friends here like Indian food. I have great difficulty ordering for one at this Indian restaurant because they don't have a thali plate. The closest thing is to order several dishes of Midwestern proportions, eat 1/8 to 1/4 of everything, take the rest home, eat leftovers the next day and throw out the remainder. It's expensive and wasteful, but I need all those different dishes. I don't cook Indian at home for the same reason.

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Do not cook at home - One meal a week - mostly weekends. No kids :smile:

Actually, sometimes at work, if some-one is in the mood for indian, we might go out or order in. It is more often per week when in LON


anil

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How many items would you have at any given meal made at home for your daily meal?

I think in order to fully appreciate any cuisine, you have to follow the traditional pattern of dining. Part of the appeal of 'Indian food' is the accompaniments, and the order/variety of courses. So I usually go all the way with that idea, depending on the regional food I'm serving/ordering.

Go out to restaurants?

At least twice a week. In NYC - you know the deal. In London - still much to explore, and so much more on offer.

Any particular items you like to eat more often?

Not really; I like most of what I've experienced so far. I'm trying to develop a better discernment of the different regional styles of food, at the moment.

If you are non-Indian, could you tell us how often you prepare an Indian meal or even inspired by India meal?

I've become so attuned to the cuisine that I'm probably always inspired by it now. Refined spicing routines, progressive menu planning, and providing more 'condiments' are what come to mind.

Do you have or know kids that follow a similar pattern to yours in regards to Indian food?

My nephews/nieces/cousins. So far, so good....

What Indian foods do these kids find most appealing to them? Have they grown up outside of India and eating Indian food?

As with most children - the 'fun' foods are a safe bet. Snacks, breads, and desserts. In this way they develop a taste for the spicing routines without realising it. My nephew, in particular, loves nimki, will now only eat fresh made flatbreads and frybreads, and is crazy about coconut chutney, galebi, and (my poor version of) sandesh. Hopefully, the main dishes will follow, as his palate matures....

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Depending on the "phase" I am in I will cook Indian anywhere from 2 to 3 times a week to 2 to 3 times a month, eating it out is maybe just a couple times a year. Though it is not necessarily Indian food, I use Indian spices and flavoring in other foods as well.

my kids eat pretty much anything I make, though I do tone the spice level down to medium for them.

If I am making Indian it usually consists of three to four dishes a meat and/or vegetable main with sides or either rice, bread and/or beans of some sort and always a yogurt or relish.


Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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At least once a week. Stopped making it at home as kitchen is not equiped to handle it. BTW, did anyone see the Madhur Jaffrey menu at the James Beard House? The list of dishes is enough to make my head spin!


Ya-Roo Yang aka "Bond Girl"

The Adventures of Bond Girl

I don't ask for much, but whatever you do give me, make it of the highest quality.

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Do you mostly make it at home?

No. I seldom cook nowadays, but I have made Indian food to satisfactory results from good cookbooks (Madhur Jaffrey's cookbooks, Coleman Marks' Regional Indian Cooking, et al.).

Go out to restaurants?

Yes.

Any particular items you like to eat more often?

Masala Dosas, because there's a good South Indian place near me that makes good Masala Dosas.

The answer to your primary question is I eat Indian food on average at least once a week and often two or three times a week. I sometimes go by a little corner store/taxi stand on 2nd Av. and 2nd St. in Manhattan called Pak-Punjab and get a Chatli Kebab or some such to go.


Michael aka "Pan

 

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I am addicted to marsala thosays, and eat it for breakfast three times a week.

Here in Singapore we are very partial to Curry Fish Head; I think this is not from India, but we like it anyway.

Can't cook Indian food.

Otherwise, I will eat tandoori and bryani about 5-6 times a year.

When I was a student in London we ate in or had takeaways from curry houses all the time- probably not authentic but closest to Malaysian food a that time. Vindaloo, madras, onion bhaji, pakoras.

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I eat Indian around once a week/two weeks - and I cook it around once every month.


"Long live democracy, free speech and the '69 Mets; all improbable, glorious miracles that I have always believed in."

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I probably consume it just over twice a week out of the house at my two favorite Indian restaurants and cook at home about 3+ times a week. I am a nut for the stuff... Especially, now that I got my hands on a 20 pound granite Thai mortar and pestle, I have built a large inventory of fresh spices and I can play forever with the stuff. Just haven't found any reading material on good, set spice blend recipes. I can figure out a lot by myself but I there is so much in the restaurants that I can't comprehend. The subtleties of each dish's flavours at the local traditional Indian places cannot be matched. However, I am new to this forum, and I am completely blown away by the localized sections for my favorite cuisines and my city (Montreal). I hope to learn much here, and offer what I can in return. I'll start with this site, I am sure many of you may have already come across it: Gernot Katzer's Spice Page

Regards,

Joel

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Suvir, how often do you eat Indian food?  :wink:

Last several months, it has been 3 Indian meals a day.

Has been actually great fun eating so much of it.

Back in NYC, I have it far less regularly. We eat out a lot.. and eat not that often at Indian restaurants.

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2-3 times a week. At home. Usually a vegetable curry, a dal, rice, store bought chappatis/naans, yoghurt, pickle. Pack a lunch with leftovers.

Rarely eat Indian food in restaurants. Maybe once every other month or so I get take out from the neighborhood Udipi take out place.

Go out to eat 1-2 times a week.

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I'm here to confess that eat Indian food maybe once or twice a year - in fact, I avoid it whenever possible. I know that there are many wonderful and unique flavors to be found in Indian cuisine, but 90% of the time it's just too spicy for me to eat. For me, spicy food equals pain, and I would rather enjoy a meal than live through it. It's the same thing for most Mexican food. Thai food can also be a problem, but at least I can usually vary the heat when I order ("no stars, please").

Sorry. :sad:

Much of the best Indian I've had was not spicy at ALL. It's always spicy in the sense that its heavily seasoned, but I've had plenty of dishes where curry and/or chilis--if present--were moderate, by design.

Mexican... same thing to an extent.

I think people outside of these countries, by and large, have picked up on the spicy aspects of these food and often overlook the more subtle dishes. They don't sell as well, I guess.

Now to be totally up-front--I love spicy food. But I'm generally more inclined to eat Thai, Chinese or even Italian food spicy than Indian or Mexican--although I suppose the low-point of my "spicy" scale is higher than most people's.

Oh... given the fact that there is only one really good Indian place near me, I don't eat Indian all that often anymore. But back when I worked down the street from a great place I ate lunch there twice a week.


Edited by jhlurie (log)

Jon Lurie, aka "jhlurie"

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Much of the best Indian I've had was not spicy at ALL.  It's always spicy in the sense that its heavily seasoned, but I've had plenty of dishes where curry and/or chilis--if present--were moderate, by design.

What Indian restaurants do you eat at where this "curry" you mention is being used even if only moderately.

What does "curry" taste like?

What is "curry"?

Is it a spice some Indian restaurants are known to use?

Could it be that some Indian restaurants are cooking with curry powder, and you may be calling it "curry"?

Or is it some other ingredient???

Much of the best Indian food I've had was not spice at all, either. It was hardly heavily seasoned either. And most of the Indian food I enjoy, has never had even a minor trace of curry. Some dishes, I must admit, but not very often (rare instances do exist, and those I enjoy) enjoyed by me, or not often even found in most menus, are made with curry powder, but even these, are hardly heavily seasoned, if they are really Indian and well cooked and well served.

Indian food when cooked as one would find it cooked in India (both in restaurants and homes), strives for a balance between spices, heat (not talking thermal here) and layers of flavor. It is a balancing act between produce, meat, spices, herbs and other ingredients. To enjoy it, one must be able to understand a cuisine that has subtlety smacked at its very core and also at it's forefront.

Maybe Indian food is not Indian in many of these restaurants where heavily seasoned foods may find a place of pride.

Indian cuisine is diverse. And so, in the Indian culinary genre, you will find dishes that are bold, dishes that are shy and dishes that only exist to rely heavily on the brilliance, seasoning and life of another.

Indian food also relies many a time on condiments that sate the "heavy seasoning" desired by some. The pickles, chutneys and podis (powders) give those that want heat and very bold seasoning and avenue whereby they can enjoy a meal and find what they are looking for.

"Curry" to most Indians means sauce, gravy or even a seasoning called Curry Leaf. Curry leaves impart a taste very different from that of Chilis. And actually, curry leaves are one of those ingredients that could hardly ever be too much. It is a magical leaf and its use is abundantly chronicled in the cooking of Southern India. To have enjoyed Southern Indian cuisine means to have enjoyed the taste that can only be found in some dishes where curry leaves along with some other seeds, stalks or stems are used to temper a dish or oil. I would hope the "curry" you mention is different from this great leaf, for the one I speak of, and Southern Indian cuisine has masterfully used for millennia, is hardly one that needs to be used in moderation.

In ending, what is this mysterious "Curry" and what restaurant should one go to if one were to want to sample this food that uses this "curry"? :smile:

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jhlurie, you made a very important and critical post.

In this forum, we have been talking recently about Indian food and where it is headed in the US.

Curry may be something we would need to demystify before we go anywhere.

Your post is sincere and honest, and it is our Indian restaurants and each of us people in this industry that need to be more sincere and work harder in sharing what our cuisine is all about.

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What Indian restaurants do you eat at where this "curry"  you mention is being used even if only moderately.

What does "curry" taste like?

What is "curry"?

Is it a spice some Indian restaurants are known to use?

Could it be that some Indian restaurants are cooking with curry powder, and you may be calling it "curry"?

Or is it some other ingredient???

Well, I did say:

if present

in recognition of the fact that what I WAS referring to was hardly a universal--or even frequently used--ingredient.

And yes... curry is a class of things more than it is a single thing. My casual use of it bordered on the improper, in the way that many Westerners misuse it--to refer to the sauce as if we were referring to curry powder--which I agree is not at all present in many of the things I refer to as being in "a curry". And curry powder certainly isn't a single thing, since it's a blend which can include cumin, cinnamon, coriander, cardamom, cloves, tumeric, black pepper, ginger, mustard, fennel, nutmeg, red pepper and many other things.

And none of this necessarily has anything to do with Curry Leaf (Murraya koenigii), except that its trying to imitate it, and I suppose not always faithfully.

And to complicate things even more I understand there is something called a "Curry Plant" (Helichrysum angustifolium), which is NOT the plant which Curry leaves used in Indian food come from, but which instead supplies oils for fruit flavors and scents.

Was just lazyness of speech Suvir . . . although I confess that I had to look up the difference between the curry plant and the OTHER curry plant, and also refresh myself on a few of the possible permeatations of curry powder ingredients.

Personally I blame the British, since its easier than taking personal responsibility. :hmmm: They invented the concept of Curry Powder (at least as a commercial pre-packaged entity), since apparently they had trouble shipping the leaf home.

Given this turn in the coversation, I'm going to ask next time at my favorite Indian place whether or not they are using curry leaf (then again I don't really know a lot about how well it grows around here--although I do frequently spot whole leaves of SOME type in some of my dishes, which since I've never really looked could have just as easily been bay leaves). Frankly I never thought to ask before, but if they aren't I'm assuming that they using a good enough mix of other spices--which are NOT coming mass-packaged out of a tin or something like that.

BTW: This reminds me a lot of the discussion we had once here on eGullet about Wasabi (in that case I actually had no idea that western Wasabi is not... actually Wasabi).


Edited by jhlurie (log)

Jon Lurie, aka "jhlurie"

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What Indian restaurants do you eat at where this "curry"  you mention is being used even if only moderately.

What does "curry" taste like?

What is "curry"?

Is it a spice some Indian restaurants are known to use?

Could it be that some Indian restaurants are cooking with curry powder, and you may be calling it "curry"?

Or is it some other ingredient???

Well, I did say:

if present

in recognition of the fact that what I WAS referring to was hardly a universal--or even frequently used--ingredient.

And yes... curry is a class of things more than it is a single thing. My casual use of it bordered on the improper, in the way that many Westerners misuse it--to refer to the sauce as if we were referring to curry powder--which I agree is not at all present in many of the things I refer to as being in "a curry". And curry powder certainly isn't a single thing, since it's a blend which can include cumin, cinnamon, coriander, cardamom, cloves, tumeric, black pepper, ginger, mustard, fennel, nutmeg, red pepper and many other things.

And none of this necessarily has anything to do with Curry Leaf (Murraya koenigii), except that its trying to imitate it, and I suppose not always faithfully.

And to complicate things even more I understand there is something called a "Curry Plant" (Helichrysum angustifolium), which is NOT the plant which Curry leaves used in Indian food come from, but which instead supplies oils for fruit flavors and scents.

Was just lazyness of speech Suvir . . . although I confess that I had to look up the difference between the curry plant and the OTHER curry plant, and also refresh myself on a few of the possible permeatations of curry powder ingredients.

Personally I blame the British, since its easier than taking personal responsibility. :hmmm: They invented the concept of Curry Powder (at least as a commercial pre-packaged entity), since apparently they had trouble shipping the leaf home.

Given this turn in the coversation, I'm going to ask next time at my favorite Indian place whether or not they are using curry leaf (then again I don't really know a lot about how well it grows around here--although I do frequently spot whole leaves of SOME type in some of my dishes, which since I've never really looked could have just as easily been bay leaves). Frankly I never thought to ask before, but if they aren't I'm assuming that they using a good enough mix of other spices--which are NOT coming mass-packaged out of a tin or something like that.

BTW: This reminds me a lot of the discussion we had once here on eGullet about Wasabi (in that case I actually had no idea that western Wasabi is not... actually Wasabi).

jhlurie, thanks for a great post and all that research.

Your usage of curry was hardly improper, it just is what it was. No apology was expected or necessary. It has led to great discussion and will hopefully still lead to more.

I hope threads on this forum gave you some help in that great effort you made. We have had threads on most all things you speak about.

The part below is what threw me off completely and still does:

"It's always spicy in the sense that its heavily seasoned, but I've had plenty of dishes where curry and/or chilis--if present--were moderate, by design."

The way in which you use the word curry and/or chilis did not make me think sauce, it made me think you were speaking of one ingredient.

Whilst curry powder has many spices in it, it hardly has any semblance of even one that really comes out winning. Unfortunately, turmeric is the boldest flavor in most brands. And that is hardly something Indian restaurants would want to buy curry powder for.

Also, not sure what dishes you usually eat, but if you could name a few of those that you have enjoyed or not, we could disect them in this forum and see if curry in any form would have/should have made its way into them.

It is easy to blame, but I feel one could hardly blame the Brits about anything even remotely related to Indian cuisine. They have not only embraced it, but they have lived and grown with it and seen it flourish, adapt and go back to its roots all in their own country. They invented curry powder, but the rest of the world uses more of it :sad:. They moved on, but the Anglophile in the best of us could not.

Curry powder actually is not just about the curry leaf. It was about trying to replicate an entire genre of cuisine and that is where it failed. Curry powder has no similarity at all to the very distinct and wonderful taste and flavor of curry leaves.

In NYC, very few restaurants keep curry leaves (unless they are Northern Indian). And luckily the number of those having them in their pantry is growing, since an awareness of Southern Indian foods is growing and chefs and owners are trying to add to the regional richness of their menus.

Bay leaf could have just as easily been the spice you have found in your food. Bay leaf is used far more commonly and not as moderately. But bay leaf could be used abundantly without overwhelming the flavor of a dish. It could only be an irritant on th plate.

Even the worst Indian restaurant kitchens I have gone into, use whole or individually powdered spices or both. Chaat Masala (for street foods and some other dishes), garam masala and achaari masala (pickling spice mix) are some of the pre-packaged spices you may find in most kitchens, but even those are made in house in some of the better restaurants.

We had a very interesting discussion here about the Curry Plant (Helichrysum angustifolium) as well. It is NOTHING at all like Curry Plant (Murraya koenigii) that we Indians love and use. One is a small herbaceous plant and the other is a small tree. CLICK here to read the thread we have had on Curry Leaves.

It would be great to hear names of some of the dishes you have enjoyed or not appreciated at Indian restaurants you have frequented.

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I'm here to confess that eat Indian food maybe once or twice a year - in fact, I avoid it whenever possible. I know that there are many wonderful and unique flavors to be found in Indian cuisine, but 90% of the time it's just too spicy for me to eat. For me, spicy food equals pain, and I would rather enjoy a meal than live through it. It's the same thing for most Mexican food. Thai food can also be a problem, but at least I can usually vary the heat when I order ("no stars, please").

Most foods in general are an aquired taste or you have grown up with it to like it or not like it. I really appreciate your undersatnding and honesty in acknowleding that Indian food has uniqueness in the wonderful flavors and your fear of pain in post meal.

This is where I like to introduce myself to you as a restaurateur and encourage you to eat more Indian food.

Contrary to popular belief that Indian food is being curry, hot and spicy , heavy seasonings of spices and cayanne give you that heat. Unfortunately this was mis-represented by some unforeseen Indian Restaurants in the past. Today the chefs are bringing out true Indian Sensation, a land renowned for exquisite food. A light hand on spices, herbs gives you flavors and not heat. Proper use and balance of spices gives you the flavors. Hot food is nothing to do with spices.

Kababs, Kormas for instance might be perfect for you.

Have you had the wonderful breads we offer?

What do you eat when you go to Indian restaurants?

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Thanks to everyone for their encouragement in discovering a wider range of (non-spicy) Indian food. I think one of the problems I've had is the limited number and scope of Indian restaurants in the cities I've lived, which cities also aren't known for their adventurous diners.

Another problem is the general public's seeming mania for anything spicy these days. Everything from junk food to fine dining is jumping on the bandwagon for extra spiciness, and Indian restaurants seem like a natural to cater to the demand. I would be more interested in exploring the range of Indian food, but I have been burned in the past (if you'll excuse the expression) by menus that list nothing that I can comfortably eat, and there are so many other ethnic foods to explore that don't tend to use any hot spices that I don't feel deprived.

I'm also quite ignorant of the vast array of Indian dishes and cooking styles, so I would be much more comfortable taking a risk on eating at an Indian restaurant if I had someone knowledgeable to guide me with selections. But I know it's annoying to dining companions (and embarrassing to me) to constantly have to ask which dishes are spicy, or can the chef reduce the heat on this or that item - especially when everyone else at the table loves the spiciness and eats Indian food for that very reason.

And I just want to clarify - I don't avoid spicy foods because of any gastrointestinal distress after eating them. It is the burning sensation in my mouth that is the "pain" I refer to. I've never understood why people seek out and enjoy this experience for the same reason I don't understand why many people enjoy scary movies.

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      1/8 t cumin (optional)
      1/4 t chaat masala ( available in stores)
      1 inch cube paneer
      1 T peanut oil
      pinch turmeric (optional)
       
      Heat the oil in a pan and saute the onions. Add the tomato and cook down to mush. Crumble the paneer and add the dry spices. Stir for a few seconds to warm the paneer. Add the cilantro and though I have not written it as an ingredient, I like a few drops of lemon juice. Do not overcook paneer.
      I started this topic because someone asked for Indian recipes on the new forum. I don’t think they have seen any yet. I hope they find this useful. I am enjoying it. 
      **************************
       
      I will add recipes to the list slowly. I have to however add that after a certain ‘age’ I have now resorted to having to make sure I have three things for breakfast besides coffee: a glass of water, a small portion of fruit and a small portion of some protein not necessarily meat. 
      Bhukkhad
       

    • By Deeps
      This is one of my daughter favorite dishes, being mild and less spicy she loves this rice dish.  Its super easy to make and goes well with most Indian curries.
      Do try this out and I am sure you will be happy with the results.
       

       
      Prep Time : 5 mins
      Cook Time: 5 mins
      Serves: 2
       
      Ingredients:
      1 cup rice(basmati), cooked
      1/2 cup coconut, shredded or grated
      1 green chili, slit
      1 dried red chili
      1 1/2 tablespoon oil/ghee(clarified butter)
      1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
      1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
      1/2 tablespoon chana dal(split chickpeas)
      1/2 tablespoon urad dal(split black gram)
      1 teaspoon ginger, finely chopped
      A pinch of hing (asafoetida)
      Few curry leaves
      Salt to taste
       
      Directions
      1) Heat oil/ghee(clarified butter) in a pan in medium flame. I used coconut oil here because it tastes best for this dish.
      2) Add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, chana dal(split chickpeas), urad dal(split black gram), green chili, dried red chili, ginger and curry leaves. Fry this for 30 seconds in medium flame. The trick is to ensure that these are fried but not burned.
      3) Add a pinch of hing(asafoetida) and mix well.
      4) Now add the cooked rice and coconut. Stir well for about 15 to 20 seconds and switch off the flame.
      5) Finally add salt into this and mix well. You could add peanuts or cashew nuts if you prefer. Goes well with most curries.
    • By Sheel
      Prawn Balchao is a very famous Goan pickle that has a sweet, spicy and tangy flavor to it. 
      For the balchao paste you will need:
      > 8-10 kashmiri red chillies
      > 4-5 Byadagi red chillies
      > 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
      > 1/2 tsk turmeric powder 
      > 1 tsp peppercorn
      > 6 garlic cloves
      > 1/2 tsp cloves
      > 1 inch cinnamon stick
      > Vinegar 
      First you will need to marinate about 250 grams of prawns in some turmeric powder and salt. After 15 minutes deep fry them in oil till them become golden n crisp. Set them aside and add tsp vinegar to them and let it sit for 1 hour. Now, make a paste of all the ingredients mentioned under the balchao paste and make sure not to add any water. In the same pan used for fryin the prawns, add in some chopped garlic and ginger. Lightly fry them and immediately add one whole chopped onion. Next, add the balchao paste amd let it cook for 2-3 minutes. Add in the prawns and cook until the gravy thickens. Finally add 1 tsp sugar and salt according to your taste. Allow it to cool. This can be stored in a glass jar. Let this mature for 1-3 weeks before its use. Make sure never to use water at any stage. This can be enjoyed with a simple lentil curry and rice.
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