Mallika Basu is my new food heroine. Doyenne of Quick Indian Cooking, she’s teaching me to cook one of my favorite ethnic cuisines. I admitted to myself yesterday, after having cooked up aloo masala and a fiery coconut and cilantro chutney, that Indian food has very likely surpassed Thai as my favorite foreign eats.
Basu, in her introductory video, is right. Indian cooking really is not complicated, although it tastes and smells it. You need the right spices and a just a few unique ingredients to get going. Vegetarians can take most of the meat recipes, omit the meat, and still have a substantial meal. I’ve impressed myself with my attempts at Indian in the last few weeks. You couldn’t convince me that what I made didn’t come from the lone Indian restaurant in town. That’s how easy it really is.
Almost every spice needed- turmeric, garam masala, mustard seeds, cayenne, fenugreek, etc. – I have found in bulk quantities at my local health-food store. And they are fresh – not stuck in a bottle on a shelf for years and years. I delight in cilantro and hot peppers and lentils and eggplant. Beans and coconut and potatoes. All seen in a different light. I could go on and on, but I’ll instead show off a few of my attempts.
Thanks Mallika – if ever I’m in London we should have a glass of shiraz together! (Only if you promise to cook.)