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Indian Food

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Monica's article in the Economic Times of India

Restaurant critics, food writers and the general public have all offered their views for many years on what Indian food means to them. Debates have been held, dinner parties have been ruined and many a food writer has been rebuked for his/her opinion on authentic Indian versus fusion Indian.

Then of course, there is the evergreen debate on what the future holds for Indian cuisine abroad – is it hot now? Where will it be in 10 years, asks Monica Bhide.

After cooking for three years in America's food hub, Floyd met a chef who shared his passion for infusing top-notch ingredients with exotic flavors. Gray Kunz, chef of New York's venerable Lespinasse and the man Floyd credits as his mentor, welcomed the newcomer's ideas.

Floyd rose from chef de partie to executive sous chef during his five years at the world-famous restaurant. "When I arrived at Lespinasse, there were only four Indian spices in the cabinet," he recalls. "When I left, we had incorporated over twenty-five." Bon Appetit named Floyd as one of ‘The Innovators’ in its 2003 Annual Restaurant Edition.

Some examples of what is served at IndeBlue - A few examples among the 20 selections offered at Inde Bleu as first, second, or third courses include petite Provençal naan with sundried tomato chutney; wild mushroom dosa (crispy Indian crêpe) with a bleu cheese gratin and white truffle oil; scallops scented with cumin on a bed of braised chicory; and veal-stuffed gnocchi served with chanterelles and infused with a fenugreek-chardonnay sauce.

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The first smell one recognizes when entering Divine Cuisines retail store in Kittery, Maine, is curry.

A few months later, Howe received a phone call from a student who was given her menu. The student was living with two other culinary students who happened to be from India and was absolutely enthralled that a catering company in Maine was offering Indian cuisine.

One of those students was Rajesh Mandekar, who was working on earning his second culinary degree after cooking at two Indian restaurants in Manhattan, at the Park Plaza Hotel in Boston, and on a cruise ship for three years traveling the Caribbean.

Mandekar makes everything from scratch, including his own curry and spice blends. The food does not contain any additives or preservatives. It stays fresh through the vacuum packaging and can be heated up in the microwave or a pot of boiling water. The result is restaurant-style Indian food at home for half the price ($6-12).

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Turning over a new Leaf in Boston

"Most Indian restaurants include only tandoori chicken or tandoori shrimp on their menus. Curry Leaf offers more variety," said Roberta Hershon, the restaurant's publicist. For example, the vegetarian barbecue menu includes tandoori subz shaslik -- a medley of grilled cauliflower, potatoes, green peppers and onions enhanced with fengugreek leaves and cumin seeds ($12). It also offers tandoori bharwan mirch -- grilled green peppers stuffed with homemade cheese and topped with hand-blended spices ($12).

San Francisco - San Carlos' Saffron Indian Bistro

Butter chicken stands out at the buffets (which cost $9.95 at lunch Mondays through Thursdays, and $12.95 for an expanded selection at lunch Fridays through Sundays and at dinner). Those who shy from spiciness will embrace its rich tomato sauce, which lets the pieces of shredded chicken hold up nicely in the steam table.

The expanded buffets include a couple of "Chinese Indian" dishes, which rotate among various items. The two I tried on my Sunday visit, chow mein and chili chicken, were good, with tomato sauce and onions giving a nice texture to the spicy flavor of the chili chicken.

The palak gosht, boneless lamb in creamy spinach, also has good flavor, but pieces of lamb were scarce. Among the vegetarian dishes, the spinach has a particularly nice spiciness, and the bhindi masala is a good, milder okra dish

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MAYBE it's a climate thing, but we Scots have a serious love affair with spicy, aromatic food.

One of my favourite aspects of eating curry is the accompaniments. Aside from rice you have pickles, chutneys, naan, pitta and pappadums which all add to the experience. And once you've added in your side dishes and salads you've usually got enough food for a week. But beware - the longer you leave it the hotter it gets.

Recipes by Andy McGregor, chef/proprietor at Blonde Restaurant

Vegetable curry

(serves four to six)

Curried goat

(serves four)

Lamb or pork vindaloo

(serves four to six)

Fragrant fried rice

(serves four)

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Jewel in the Crown, a soothing Indian restaurant in Newburyport, MA

It looked like a fresh baguette on a plate, but it was actually the Masala Dosa I ordered for an appetizer, a large, slightly crunchy crepe, made with rice and lentils, and curled around a filling of potato and onion ($8.95). Served with a small bowl of vegetable soup, called sahmnhar, and a bit of light green coconut and yogurt chutney, it was intimidating. I looked at it, puzzled, as my waiter began to walk away. "Oh, wait!" I called. "How do I eat this?"

Palace of Asia - NY, has moved

The restaurant is in a remote new strip mall. Sukhdev Kabow, chef and owner, transformed the tired menu into a spiffy new one and, better yet, the food went from hunger-driven default choice to really good cooking, food to anticipate and worthy of a detour. He was aided by his wife and partner, Meena Kabow, and a business partner, Nick Manekshaw, who also helps to shape the menu. The three have opened another Palace of Asia in Wilmington, Del., and plan to open another Palace restaurant early next year in Philadelphia.

The main dishes, though, are the ones that will pull you back to Palace of Asia. Mr. Kabow's palak panir, one of the best I've had in recent memory, features tender house-made cheese and a two-to-one ratio of broccoli to spinach. A runner-up is the tandoori Cornish hen, a plump morsel marinated in ginger, garlic, cayenne, cumin, coriander, paprika and yogurt before it is further tenderized by the fire.

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The Bombay Deluxe restaurant brings warmth to Anchorage- Alaska

Everything on the buffet is labeled, but the labels don't hint at what's in store. Indian food is about spices - cardamom, cumin, cinnamon, turmeric, curries, chilies, ginger, and others foreign to my kitchen. I loaded a plate with vegetable korma, tandoori murg (chicken marinated in yogurt and cooked in the tandoor) and sagg (basically creamed spinach), while my coworker dabbled in naan with raita (a cucumber-yogurt sauce) and chicken with cauliflower.

The saag was a standout. Thick and mellow with hints of garlic and ginger, it was substantial. I blended it with rice and chicken. I dragged my naan through it. I wanted to take a bowl of it home. The tandoori murg was subtly spiced and juicy, a feat for a meat under a warming lamp. Chicken with cauliflower tasted like a rich tomato-based stew; shreds of chicken and large pieces of cauliflower danced in a mildly spicy sauce.

Just the smell of Indian food makes me think warm thoughts. I don't know if it's the rich oranges and reds, the heat of curry, or the heaviness of cream sauces. I do know that I've found a new favorite way to end a winter day: Log on to bombaydeluxe.com and choose an á la carte adventure.

Baba serves fresh and fast Indian food in Oakley - Cincinatti

The exterior of Baba India in Oakley may not look impressive, but inside you'll find the same delicious food you've come to expect from Ambar in Clifton and Akash, downtown. Jessi Singh owns all three, but Baba is his newest endeavor: It opened in December 2003.

"People came (to Ambar) and liked the food and kept saying we had to open a restaurant in the Oakley area," says Singh. "We just listened to what our customers had to say."

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Ethnic trends, health benefits drive boom in spices

First came a run on garam masala. Then tandoori blends. Then, after a tout by a TV chef, annatto seeds started flying off the shelf.

It wasn’t a fluke. Triggered by new appetites for ethnic flavors, TV food shows’ taste for the exotic, and the perceived health benefits of spices such as turmeric, the once-stagnant spice trade is booming.

In the last 20 years or so, Americans have doubled their spice consumption from 2 to 4 pounds a person — and the trend appears nowhere near slowing.

Curry is hot. Cardamom, once a wallflower, is suddenly a rock star. Your mother’s cinnamon is getting a makeover.

Last year, the Smithsonian Institution added a spice component to its 39th annual Folklife Festival on the National Mall.

“The hottest restaurants in New York are Indian,” said Wilder, who conducted a spice seminar for the Albertson Cooking School at Yangming restaurant in Bryn Mawr, Pa., recently. “They are even opening an Indian restaurant in Georgetown, S.C.”

Indeed, it was an Indian seasoning blend that drew Wilder into the spice business 25 years ago. She discovered Indian cooking through a friend who grew up there and who pined for foods cooked in the high heat of India’s cylindrical brick and clay tandoor ovens.

Finding a bottled blend of “tandoori” spices, he shared the find and the recipe. When the shop closed, leaving no source for the seasoning, Wilder set about copying it. Soon she was selling her Tandoori Spice Rub at local bazaars, then marketing it to a few food stores.

Her fledgling business and spice repertoire grew until, in 1981, she left her teaching job for a career in the spice trade.

“Then Macy’s found me,” Wilder recalled. Soon Dean & Deluca began stocking her spices.

“That recipe for tandoori seasoning, copying that blend, taught me so much about spices,” said Wilder, who now runs a $3 million business supplying more than 300 private-label and custom-blended spices to chefs and stores such as DiBruno Bros., Clemens and Wegmans markets, and other gourmet stores in the mid-Atlantic region.

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Yeah, that really is odd. Rasam is tamarind-based! But the article in general was a very good read.

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Well, rasam frequently has tomatoes in it,

and is sometimes not tamarind based,

but the main ppoint is that it's not "curry"

(whatever "curry" is...)


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Why have one section for indian food, when we can have one for the whole subcontinent? What about Bangladeshi or Pakistani food? Is that also supposed to be under Indian food?

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Foreign food chains in India

Bennigan’s Grill and Tavern, an Irish-American fast food chain that opened its first Indian outlet in Delhi last year, plans to open 12 more outlets in the next five-six years. 


And then you have the newcomers. Utah-based Tacomaker, for example, is out to put global flavours on your dining platter. 

While connoisseurs may scoff at shahi paneer pizzas and aloo-tikki burgers, observers assert that going Indian is a must. “Absolutely”, agrees Vikas Athri, director development, Om Pizza & Eats, master franchisee for California-based Papa John’s Pizza chain. 


“You have to Indianise your product. Except our dough and fresh tomato sauce that comes from California, everything we use, the cheeses, vegetables... is Indian,” Athri adds. 

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Masti Grill in New Jersey

Appetizers are a tasty mix of vegetarian and meaty, and pretty to see on the plate. Table favorites included the cauliflower, potato and eggplant dipped in a smooth chickpea batter and deep-fried; the samosas, with a filling of potatoes, green peas, raisins and cashews spiced with ginger, garlic and house-made garam masala, then wrapped in a pastry and fried; and the chicken wings that pack heat from ginger, garlic, red chilies and cayenne and are much more interesting than our own Buffalo version that needs blue cheese dressing to complete the experience.

Goan shrimp curry, typically flavored with cumin, coriander, ginger, garlic, chili powder and coconut milk, was more interesting than the fish version that was mistakenly brought (and noticed, mentioned and replaced by the server). The tilapia (shall we call it the new tofu?) did its duty and sopped up the agreeable blend of cilantro, coconut and curry leaves in Mr. Desai's Goan-style fish moilee, and worked well with rice that was served alongside. Other table favorites included a Parsi-style dish of tender lamb cubes in a plum-flavored gravy and a rich blend of goat in a deep green spinach sauce.

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India's Vegetarian Cooking, by Monisha Bharadwaj

Today, her love of Indian food is illustrated in her new book, India's Vegetarian Cooking, which contains more than 130 mouthwatering regional specialities. She has included notes on choosing chillies for heat and flavour, different varieties of rice and lentils and the spices used in quintessential Indian vegetarian cookery.
Cabbage with five spices

This recipe can also be made with cauliflower or red cabbage.

Spinach with cottage cheese

Indian cottage cheese is known as paneer. It is made at home by curdling full-fat milk and hanging up the milk solids in a piece of muslin to drain off all the whey.

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Indian in Connecticut


Indian Fire!

July 11, 2006

By DON STACOM, Courant Staff Writer

There are times when "hot and spicy" simply isn't enough, when even a Szechuan beef or a habanero-laden Mexican chili won't give enough sizzle.

Clearing out those sinuses and torching the throat calls for genuine firepower. It's a job for something Indian - a searing vindaloo or some incendiary curry dish


4 Orange St., New Haven

(203) 777-1177

Chicken jalfraize, $17

This light, vibrant entrée is big on red chili peppers, tomato and onion, along with roasted coriander, cumin seeds, sliced ginger, a dash of cinnamon – and more. Order this "hot" and you get a meal packing serious fire, but individual flavors stand strong.

Edited by Episure (log)

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Indian Restaurant Rasika makes it to Esquire magazine's 2006 list of the 20 best new restaurants across America.
Vikram Sunderam came to America from Bombay about a year ago, bringing his culinary skills to Rasika, a new Indian restaurant in Washington with a modern edge. He wasn't expecting an accolade from a national magazine. But he got one anyway

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Careful Hands Forging Tandoori
HAVE you ever held your hand over a tandoor at full blast? It’s no fun at all. The tandoor, the top-loading oven from which a whole subcuisine of Indian food springs, gets superhot: at Earthen Oven, on the Upper West Side, Durga Prasad’s tandoor reaches 700 degrees. ...The lamb chops luxuriate in a bath of yogurt, garlic, ginger, ground cashews and spices for more than a day before they are skewered and plunged into the tandoor. Order them medium-rare and marvel at the precision. The center of the chop is ideally tender, moist and pink while the marinade outside is cooked into a silky cloak that’s one with the meat itself. The scant flesh running the length of the rib is transformed into charred lamb candy, the bones begging to be gnawed clean.

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Tiffin - Indian delivery in the city? Inquirer - 7/29/2007

"The name, Tiffin, was inspired by the lunch courier networks of Bombay, in which barefoot deliverymen called dabbawallas bring multichambered metal boxes of freshly home-cooked meals to office workers each day. And the heart of Narula's operation was dedicated to creating a changing, daily selection of three complete box meals inspired by homey specialties rarely seen on typical restaurant menus."

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Hook up with Atul Kochhar, from the Mayfair restaurant Benares, to cook some spicy Indian summer snacks

London is currently hosting the India Now Festival – it's on right through the summer and ends in September – and it celebrates the 60th anniversary of Indian independence with a great selection of Indian art, music, fashion, film, food and theatre. So I thought it might be a good time to hook up with Atul Kochhar, from the Mayfair restaurant Benares, to cook some spicy Indian summer snacks. When I was cooking alongside Atul on the Great British Menu, he showed me how a little bit of British influence in the hands of a brilliant Indian chef can really work. He's a great guy who is really highly rated by his staff at Benares and his customers alike.


Coorgi mince puffs (from Karnataka province )

Deep fried prawns coated with vermicelli (Jhinga Til Tinka)

Crab salad with coconut and curry leaves (Salada de caranguejos)

Kumquat chutney (Chote Santrae ki)

Crispy fried John Dory with cucumber salad, crushed peas and grilled tomato chutney

Chickpea, mango and coconut salad (sundal)

Hara kebab

Edited by Episure (log)

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My Karma -Indian Bistro

Most of the food is first-rate, in fact. Tikki, three silken potato pancakes the size of biscuits, are served with yogurt and a bowl of perfectly cooked, fresh chickpeas so fine they might have deserved top billing (and at $5.95, the dish is surprisingly substantial). Biryani is often tossed off as not much more than a tricked-out pilaf, but even the vegetarian version at My Karma was incredibly rich in flavors: cinnamon, cardamom, fresh coriander, mint and chili, along with whiffs of saffron, a dash of jaggery and raisins, and perhaps rose water. (The basmati rice, both plain and flavored, is routinely excellent.)

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Hi @kapoorkaran441and welcome to the forum!


I love Indian food too, and although I am very inexperienced, I try to cook it at home.


Perhaps you would care to read and share your thoughts on my recent topic Indian Vegetables. I recently got access to Indian ingredients, and some of the vegetables are completely unfamiliar to me. I would be grateful for your advice.

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