Favorite Indian Dishes

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Post
cbuonomo
Junior Burger
2008/01/02 11:01:48
I have a gift certificate to an Indian Restaurant and I need some menu suggestions. I have never had Indian food so please describe your favorites.
Sneetch
Cheeseburger
RE: Favorite Indian Dishes 2008/01/02 15:01:54
as a newcomer to indian cuisine you might want to start with samosas, tandoori or tikka masala, and shag/mattor paneer. samosas are turnover filled with either meat (usually ground lamb or beef) or potatos and peas. tandoori is basically the indian version of BBQ - meats are marinated first in a mixture of yogurt and spices, then cooked in a tandoor oven (tikka masala is tandoori chicken that has been de-boned and served in a sauce of tomatoes, spices, and a bit of cream). paneer is a very mild indian cheese - with spinach it is shag paneer, mattor paneer is made with peas. the cheese is cubed and pan-fried, then mixed with the veggies in a mild sauce.
none of the above dishes are very spicy - if you like spicy food you might want to try anything followed by the word "vindaloo" (vindaloo can be any variety of meat or veg in a spicy sauce). if you're lucky enough to find goat curry on the menu, try it(a little like beef stew but much more flavorful, and usually spicy too). i find that channa masala (chickpeas in sauce), bhindi masala (okra in sauce), and bhaigan bharta (eggplant w/tomato in sauce) tend to be spicy as well, and delicious. indian desserts are very very sweet - kheer (rice pudding), gulab jamun (fried cheese balls in syrup) are great. if there is mango khulfi (rich indian ice cream) on the menu don't miss out.
hope this helped - enjoy your indian culinary adventure!
improviser
Double Cheeseburger
RE: Favorite Indian Dishes 2008/01/02 16:08:47
While I can't add much to the above (nice explaination Sneetch) , since it's been awhile since I was in an Indian restaurant, let me say that Indian bread (naan) is delicious.
desertdog
Double Chili Cheeseburger
RE: Favorite Indian Dishes 2008/01/02 17:00:13
quote:
Originally posted by improviser

While I can't add much to the above (nice explaination Sneetch) , since it's been awhile since I was in an Indian restaurant, let me say that Indian bread (naan) is delicious.



Not only delicious, but in my opinion a neccessity. There is (almost) nothing better than taking a nice piece of Tandoori Naan (plain, garlic, onion, etc.) and using it to wipe up the sauce from a nice curry dish.

Sneetch is spot-on with the above mentionad recommendations. I have to say I have yet to find an Indian dish that did not agree with me taste OR spice wise, and most places keep the spices toned down unless you ask for it to be spicier.

Anyway, my two cents. Enjoy a new world of excellent food!

mar52
Sirloin
RE: Favorite Indian Dishes 2008/01/03 00:40:38
If you dislike cilantro, be sure to tell them NO cilantro or your dish will sure to be covered with it when brought to your table.

I love the rich curry dishes like Mahkni, kormas and masalas.

The kebobs are always a good choice if you are leery of the other dishes.

Don't be though as they are delicious! (sans cilantro)
myterry2
Double Cheeseburger
RE: Favorite Indian Dishes 2008/01/03 05:33:15
No suggestion...don't eat that food.
tarragon
Cheeseburger
RE: Favorite Indian Dishes 2008/01/03 05:42:15
One of my very favorite Indian foods is the Masala Dosa, which is a huge, stuffed (savory) pancake! It's not traditional pancake batter, though--it's made from rice & dal flour, and it's very delicious. Many Indian restaurants make the Dosas, even the small carry-out places. It's stuffed with a spicy potato & onion mixture, and served with small cups of sambar (a spicy soup-like mix) and a (usually) coconut chutney; very good for dipping the dosa into! It's definitely worth trying. [:P]
Sneetch
Cheeseburger
RE: Favorite Indian Dishes 2008/01/03 12:14:55
good point, improviser - how could i forget the amazing indian breads?! poori is my personal favorite - it's similar to american indian fry bread. those parathas stuffed with things are great - try the aloo paratha (potatoes inside...yum!)
the grillman
Double Cheeseburger
RE: Favorite Indian Dishes 2008/01/03 12:41:50
Darn, now I’m going to have to find some Indian food in the next couple weeks to satisfy this craving…..We tend to like the basics; tandoori grilled items, and the vegetable curries…..

One place near work has a great spicy cauliflower curry; served over basmati rice, excellent. Chicken Korma is usually boneless chicken cooked in a mild curry sauce, and great if you don’t like a lot of heat. Avoid anything labeled “vindaloo” if you don’t like hot food.

The cucumber-yogurt dip is good, too, especially with the naan (bread)

Your best bet might be to find a lunch buffet to try additional items; Sneetch had some great suggestions.
billyboy
Double Chili Cheeseburger
RE: Favorite Indian Dishes 2008/01/03 13:08:23
cbuonomo, what city do you live in? Some folks here might know of places in their area that have good Indian food. I live in NYC and know of a few places and I used to eat Indian all the time when I lived in Boston. Sneetch has a lot of great suggestions. I don't touch anything "vindaloo" as it's just too spicy for me. Nan bread is wonderful and great for mopping up sauces (which many Indian dishes come in). I love Tikka Masala and can't get enough of it. Saag Paneer and Mutter Paneer (peas and cheese as I like to call it) are one's I get a lot too. There is a similar dish of cauliflower and potatoes that I like too. Papadams are lentil crackers that many places serve and are a nice start to a meal. Indian cuisine lends itself well to vegeterians, so if you are or a dining companion is, it's a great way to go and the non-meat foods are just as flavorful as the meat based foods. Depending on where you live, buffets can be a great way to go to sample lots of different things and finding out what you like and don't like. Happy eating!!
westley
Hamburger
RE: Favorite Indian Dishes 2008/01/08 12:42:47
I love chicken tikka masala (chicken in a smooth sauce), navatran korma (mixed veggies in a creamy sauce), and saag (spinach that's been kind of pureed).

I normally love meat, but I mostly stick to veggie dishes when eating Indian. Most Indian restaurants (aside from the more upcale ones) use inexpensive dark meat chicken, which I dislike.
hotdogger
Hamburger
RE: Favorite Indian Dishes 2008/01/24 23:32:43
The Indian hot dogs are delicious.
iqdiva
Double Chili Cheeseburger
RE: Favorite Indian Dishes 2008/01/25 00:00:29
Samosas are my favorite !
zataar
Double Chili Cheeseburger
RE: Favorite Indian Dishes 2008/01/25 07:48:11
quote:
Originally posted by westley

I love chicken tikka masala (chicken in a smooth sauce), navatran korma (mixed veggies in a creamy sauce), and saag (spinach that's been kind of pureed).

I normally love meat, but I mostly stick to veggie dishes when eating Indian. Most Indian restaurants (aside from the more upcale ones) use inexpensive dark meat chicken, which I dislike.


Most of the upscale places I've been to use a lot of dark thigh meat, not because it's less expensive, but because it doesn't dry out in the long cooking process that many Indian dishes require.
chef2be
Junior Burger
RE: Favorite Indian Dishes 2008/03/03 22:28:16
Most indian Places usually have a buffet for lunch and/or weekends you should go then so you can try the most popular things on the menu.
Earl of Sandwich
Double Cheeseburger
RE: Favorite Indian Dishes 2008/03/04 05:46:35
quote:
Originally posted by Sneetch

as a newcomer to indian cuisine you might want to start with samosas, tandoori or tikka masala, and shag/mattor paneer. samosas are turnover filled with either meat (usually ground lamb or beef) or potatos and peas. tandoori is basically the indian version of BBQ - meats are marinated first in a mixture of yogurt and spices, then cooked in a tandoor oven (tikka masala is tandoori chicken that has been de-boned and served in a sauce of tomatoes, spices, and a bit of cream). paneer is a very mild indian cheese - with spinach it is shag paneer, mattor paneer is made with peas. the cheese is cubed and pan-fried, then mixed with the veggies in a mild sauce.
none of the above dishes are very spicy - if you like spicy food you might want to try anything followed by the word "vindaloo" (vindaloo can be any variety of meat or veg in a spicy sauce). if you're lucky enough to find goat curry on the menu, try it(a little like beef stew but much more flavorful, and usually spicy too). i find that channa masala (chickpeas in sauce), bhindi masala (okra in sauce), and bhaigan bharta (eggplant w/tomato in sauce) tend to be spicy as well, and delicious. indian desserts are very very sweet - kheer (rice pudding), gulab jamun (fried cheese balls in syrup) are great. if there is mango khulfi (rich indian ice cream) on the menu don't miss out.
hope this helped - enjoy your indian culinary adventure!


Excellent recommendations. I love Indian food but like Pakistani food even better. Chicken Masala or chicken tikka probablyu my faves, followed by kofta curry.
BT
Filet Mignon
RE: Favorite Indian Dishes 2008/03/04 22:43:26
My standard Indian meal: Samosas, chicken vindaloo with rice pilaf, mango chutney, raita and plain naan . And by the way, make it clear to the waiter that you do NOT want him to tame the heat in the vindaloo for an American palate--make it authentic.
BT
Filet Mignon
RE: Favorite Indian Dishes 2008/03/04 22:46:21
quote:
Originally posted by zataar

quote:
Originally posted by westley

I love chicken tikka masala (chicken in a smooth sauce), navatran korma (mixed veggies in a creamy sauce), and saag (spinach that's been kind of pureed).

I normally love meat, but I mostly stick to veggie dishes when eating Indian. Most Indian restaurants (aside from the more upcale ones) use inexpensive dark meat chicken, which I dislike.


Most of the upscale places I've been to use a lot of dark thigh meat, not because it's less expensive, but because it doesn't dry out in the long cooking process that many Indian dishes require.


I've tried a fair amount of Indian cooking at home and I generally prefer white meat (breast) but have come to the same conclusion as zataar: for both Indian and Thai curries, thigh meat is best because breast meat is far too dry.
fabulousoyster
Double Chili Cheeseburger
RE: Favorite Indian Dishes 2008/03/05 14:07:25
A side of dahl and some basmati rice, sop it up with the naan.

I just made some dahl on Sunday:

yellow dahl split peas (1 cup)
boiling water 2 cups
1/2 tsp salt
4 cloves garlic minced
1/2 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp garam masala VERY IMPORTANT INGREDIENT.
1 shallot chopped

Wash and drain the dahl. In boiling water, add the dahl and all the above ingredients. Uncovered, stir often, low flame,cook for about 30-40 minutes till beans al dente. You can add some boiling water, it will get thick!

In frying pan:

1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp cumin SEEDS
2 cloves garlic sliced

Now, let the frying pan with the oil get hot, add the garlic sliced and cumin seed cook till lightly browned. Carefully, pour that hot oil mix into the dahl, it may splatter. Mix. You now have a wonderful side with some hot cooked basmati rice and some naan. Sometimes, thats all I have is my dahl with rice. Delicious, indian, fragrant, made in your home.
You could add some spinach leaves while boiling, some hot pepper, I like it just like above.

scbuzz
Double Cheeseburger
RE: Favorite Indian Dishes 2008/03/05 15:48:04
One of my favorite dishes is Lamb Saag. It's a thick, creamy spinach sauce with the lamb chunks cooked into it. I had it just the other day.
pimple2
Hamburger
RE: Favorite Indian Dishes 2008/06/28 02:21:48
Hi fabulousoyster,

If you love dal, you will love this site where people have contributed their favorite home recipes:

http://www.anothersubcontinent.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=227&st=0&p=1311#entry1311

If you want to get a little more adventurous and branch out into authentic Indian cooking, beyond curry powder and pre-packaged garam masalas, you might discover a fantastic universe because a great many varieties of legumes, whole and split in several different ways, partially, fully, skinned but left whole, etc. are central to the Indian diet. However, India is as large geographically as Western Europe, and far more diverse ethnically, so there is NO Indian cooking, just as the food in Chinese Take-aways is NOT Chinese, or even Cantonese/Toisanese.

What you et is asrage restaurant cuisine. let me give you all an example. Smeone upthread wrote of eating "shag" another "saag." It tell me the former picked up his beaings from a restaurant run by Bangladeshis, who manae a grea may ofthe "Indian" restarants in the US. They d a pretty ba job of cooking the pseudo-North Indian Punjabi fodbut cook their own food like a dream. Unfortunately, no one will be adventurous enough to teach hisher taste bud to learn a different syle or a dferent palette of flavors. So they keep cooking 10th rate food when they are extremely talented, 1st rate cooks in their own metier.

So the gentleman who remarked that he liked Pakistani restaurants better was right on target: his tastebuds are impeccable because the Pakistanis are for the most part cooking their type of food: naans,kebab,tandoori, gravied meat dishes, each of which has special name[not 'curry']. Pakistanis from Punjab will cook all the Punjabi dishes, lamb with spinach etc. very well indeed, these are their native foods.

Dosa is specialty of southern India, often identifed with certain vegetarian cuisines in the US, and you do NOT go to Paksitani, Bangladeshi or North Indian restaurants for a good dosa. There are actually very few satisfactory south Indian restaurants in the US.
uncledaveyo
Double Cheeseburger
RE: Favorite Indian Dishes 2008/08/02 01:26:05
I really enjoy that acorn mush, and the fresh venison.
Robearjr
Double Chili Cheeseburger
RE: Favorite Indian Dishes 2008/08/02 09:42:24
I love the chicken mumtali that the Palace of Asia in Fort Washington, Pa serves. Chicken, in a coconut creme sauce with cashews and rasins. I don't see this dish at a lot of other places, so I normally go with the Chicken Korma, which taste similar although it - at least around my house - lacks the fruits and nuts I find in the Chicken Mumtali.
Earl of Sandwich
Double Cheeseburger
RE: Favorite Indian Dishes 2008/12/11 08:40:47
My fave is Chicken Tikka Masala. I like the Pakistani version best. Garlic & onions sauteed in ghee. Add chicken cubes. Add spices. Add yogurt, then coconut.
rumaki
Double Chili Cheeseburger
RE: Favorite Indian Dishes 2008/12/11 09:17:34
Some upscale Indian restaurants here in the U.S. offer "thali" platters, which give you the opportunity to try small portions of lots of things in a "balanced" presentation (typically a bread like naan or poori, poppadums and chutneys, dal and raita, some kind of rice, and small portions of a meat/lamb/poultry or vegetable curry, as well as accompanying vegetables). Usually thali platters come in either "veg" or "non-veg" varieties. I love them, especially if I am dining alone. This is much nicer that eating off a buffet steamtable.

That said, my very first trip to an Indian restaurant (in London) many, many years ago, I had chicken biryani. Fell in love with it then, and for a long time, never ordered anything else in an Indian restaurant. It's basically an Indian version of Chinese fried rice. You can pick your main ingredient (chicken, lamb, vegetable), and it will be cooked with basmati rice. YUM!

Here's a link to my current favorite London Indian restaurant. It's in Hammersmith, so it is off the beaten path for most tourists. It's a neighborhood place, but the quality of the cooking is high. The service is always good, the decor is simple but welcoming (and very clean), and the place is very reasonably priced. Their homemade chutneys vary with the season and are always delicious. I'm heading to London next week, and this will be a first stop!

http://www.agnirestaurant.com
firecommander3565
Double Cheeseburger
RE: Favorite Indian Dishes 2008/12/11 10:18:34
Mutter paneer is my all time favorite dish. Try it you can't go wrong.
Sandy Thruthegarden
Double Cheeseburger
RE: Favorite Indian Dishes 2008/12/11 21:40:27
I used to like Chicken Tikka Masala and Chicken Makhani best, and I still order them occasionally. I hardly ordered anything else. Now I'm thoroughly hooked on the Lamb Curry our local Indian restaurant serves. I also love Garlic Naan.

We had different Balti dishes in an Indian restaurant in London but haven't seen it served around here. It's cooked in a metal pot and is spicy:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Balti_(food)
brittneal
Double Chili Cheeseburger
RE: Favorite Indian Dishes 2008/12/12 07:39:17
I hate it all. When I was working in columbus for 10 years i was on the go so much I lived in motels. When Id go in the office they were always cooking and it was all I could do to keep from vomiting. It must have been the sae family that owned 5-6 different motels. All the food smelled the same and the smell just made me Ill
tigeraspen
Junior Burger
Re:Favorite Indian Dishes 2009/02/21 21:31:22
Great Masala Dosa in a little hole in the wall next to the Maveli Twin Cinema in Valley Central, NY
Karyyk
Junior Burger
Re:Favorite Indian Dishes 2009/04/09 08:01:20
Lamb Rogan Josh is another great Indian dish. It's not quite as spicy as a my personal favorite, the vindaloo (at least, not in my experience...every place seems to prepare it differently), and seems to be a bit more earthy/savory. Good stuff...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rogan_josh
mjsneddon
Cheeseburger
Re:Favorite Indian Dishes 2009/05/11 21:37:09
If you like spicy, you can't go wrong ordering anything with a vindaloo sauce.
SuperSoCal6787
Junior Burger
Re:Favorite Indian Dishes 2009/05/28 18:13:54
Good stuff Sneetch.  I haven't been to an Indian restaurant before and your posts gave me a good idea of what to get.
caver
Cheeseburger
Re:Favorite Indian Dishes 2009/05/29 02:04:34
Karyyk

Lamb Rogan Josh is another great Indian dish. It's not quite as spicy as a my personal favorite, the vindaloo (at least, not in my experience...every place seems to prepare it differently), and seems to be a bit more earthy/savory. Good stuff...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rogan_josh


That's one of my favorites as well, but yes you never know exactly what you'll get going to a new restaurant.  Many places will have a bread sampler with different kinds of breads and some chutneys or pickled something to have along with it, that's good to start with.
The lunch buffet is a good idea as it allows you to sample a number of things.  And you can always ask for their recommendation if they have a specialty.
 
I would also recommend hopping around and trying several different restaurants in the area if possible.  You will often get very different flavors for dishes with the same name.  And if the restaurant has a regional bent to it you may find dishes at one that you don't elsewhere.  If you stop by and get a take out menu you can always research it online before you go if you're still just unsure about what they offer.
post edited by caver - 2009/05/29 02:06:16
Erica1649
Junior Burger
Re:Favorite Indian Dishes 2009/06/23 16:20:42
I have only had Indian food twice (for a wedding) and I am not so crazy about it all. I did like the samosas (I had chicken ones and potato ones). I also enjoyed the butter chicken and this chickpea side dish...this was different cause the second night I tried it, it was really good, but the first night, they were mushy, gray, and tasted very smokey to me... 
pimple2
Hamburger
Re:Favorite Indian Dishes 2009/08/11 15:10:46

Hello SoCal,

I would urge you to try a truly  ethnic restaurant. It might shock your taste buds & aesthetic sensibilties but you owe it to yourself to try at least once, food that is fairly close to a least one regional style, in this case, the Muslim cooking of Bangladesh.

Just as there is NO "European" food, there can be no "Indian" food because the Indian subcontinent is as large in extent as Western Europe minus Russia, and infinitely more diverse with respect to the number of ethnic groups and cuisines to be found there. Just as restaurant Chinese does not describe the cookingof China, so too with restaurant Indian, which now has specific sub-genres, e.g. British Curry House.

These deserve to be called a separate cuisine by themselves, a "creole'' in the original meaning of the term, where great changes and adaptations were made while retaining the nomenclature of the mother country. Etouffee is a good example from our own Louisiana cookery. Likewise, the vindaloo mentioned above is a double Creole, once from the Portuguese settlement in Goa [where it is NOT  a fiery dish at all] and then again in its British Curry House avatar that bears not the slightest resemblance to the carefully spiced Goan original.

Anyway, good Indian cooking is regional, but restaurants here have been saddled with a peculiar template that they now must follow, regardless of where they trace their own ethnic roots. I urge you to try the tiny hole in the wall below, with some adventurous yet courteous friends. Courtesy, patience and a smile goes a long way with these people and will get you excellent service. Think of it as a cross-cultural adventure, undertaken on a cool crisp day, with plenty of time on hand.

This is the regional cooking of Bangladesh. You will find many Indian restaurant favorites but I would urge you to try some of the fish dishes that you will never find elsewhere on Indian restaurant menus. They will be full of bones tha can be avoided with cleverness [ask the men there & I have speciefied the pieces where the flesh lies competely outside the rib cage ] and rich with natural fat supplemented by mustard oil. Try them anyhow. You may or may not like them. Hilsha or eeleesh, Tenualosa ilisha, is a wonderful species of shad, rich with fat, and the pride of Bangldesh. Wash your hands and be prepare to eat with your fingers, with steaming plain white rice. No breads etc. for fish!

Some of the braised meat dishes will come with a layer of fat and contain fatty pieces. That is how they were meant to be, feast foods, eaten during celebrations after long periods of privation when the body welcomed richness. Today we eat rich food all the time and therefore are appalled by the presence of fat. But please place these dishes in their original context and understand they are festive foods for special occasions, not the daily diet. Ask for a cup and spoon off the meat grease, but not from the fish dishes. That is fish oil.

Please note the Indian way of eating is 80% bread or rice in a mouthful with 20% of meat or fish +gravy  mixed in. That gives the correct strength, and the gravies are cooked to that concentration. If you spoon up gravy and meat but take pixie bites of bread, then everything will turn out horribly unbalanced.

Now, with meat dishes, and some fish dishes but NOT FISH +MUSTARD PASTE [ a specialty you must try] you cut each mouthfu wiith some lime juice sprinkedon, or a yoghurt relish called RAITA, or some fresh salad of onon or tomato. It balances the richness and refreshes the palate. So, bread, meat, green/onion, that makes for a balanced mouthful. Please do go and expose yourself to new experiences!!

http://www.aladinsweetsandmarket.com/menu1
Here is the menu:

Try their PARATHA [$1.50] & SHAMI Kebab [$1].

Try the plain wheat roti as a contrast to the paratha.

Tahari : a very special dish you won't find elsewhere. $7

Other meat dishes you fancy.

Then from the Bangali section:  for fish lovers !

Plain steamed rice
Shrimp with Lau [they spell it lahow] $3

Hilsha with mustard paste  [tell them you want paytee pieces only] Bony! but do try this signature dish of Bangladesh once $3

Pangash curry $3

For desert try the yoghurt, doi, in the clay pot.


Aladdin Sweets & Market

(213) 736-1800
139 S Vermont Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90004

 

post edited by pimple2 - 2009/08/11 15:14:41
NYPIzzaNut
Filet Mignon
Re:Favorite Indian Dishes 2009/08/11 15:15:58
Spicy goat curry.
pimple2
Hamburger
Re:Favorite Indian Dishes 2009/08/11 16:14:32
I can show you how to cook at least a dozen variations, North, south, east and west!! All totally different, so that you will NEVER use that word curry again, guarnateed!!
NYPIzzaNut
Filet Mignon
Re:Favorite Indian Dishes 2009/08/11 16:17:19
My wife spent several years in the Peace Corp in India - you do not mention the word curry to her!
Twinwillow
Sirloin
RE: Favorite Indian Dishes 2009/08/11 16:38:50
tarragon

One of my very favorite Indian foods is the Masala Dosa, which is a huge, stuffed (savory) pancake! It's not traditional pancake batter, though--it's made from rice & dal flour, and it's very delicious. Many Indian restaurants make the Dosas, even the small carry-out places. It's stuffed with a spicy potato & onion mixture, and served with small cups of sambar (a spicy soup-like mix) and a (usually) coconut chutney; very good for dipping the dosa into! It's definitely worth trying. [:P]
 

We LOVE Indian food!
Many Indian restaurants don't serve Dosa. But, if yours does, order it!!
If they are serving Kingfisher beer, order that as well!


pimple2
Hamburger
RE: Favorite Indian Dishes 2009/08/11 21:55:04
The two absolute best places to try dosas , a very tricky thing to do perfectly,

see here:
 http://pleasuremountain.wordpress.com/2007/11/05/some-bangalore-restaurants/

http://pleasuremountain.wordpress.com/2007/11/22/banzai-uma/

in the USA, afaik, are in CA :

Saravana Bhavan
1305 S Mary Ave
Sunnyvale, CA 94087-3029
(408) 616-7755

http://www.saravanabhavan.com/

They have branches elsewhere on the east coast but the reputation there is poor.

The second place is the canteen attached to the basement of the Hindu temple in Queens, NY. Anyone is welcome to eat there. It gets very crowded on weekends!!

45-57 Bowne St
Flushing, NY 11355
(718) 460-8484
www.nyganeshtemple.org

 :

BTB
Cheeseburger
RE: Favorite Indian Dishes 2009/08/23 20:09:57
You have to develop a taste for Indian food.  It doesn't come easily,  but once you become accustomed to it, you'll be addicted for a long time.
arianej
Cheeseburger
RE: Favorite Indian Dishes 2009/08/24 13:12:57
BTB

You have to develop a taste for Indian food.  It doesn't come easily,  but once you become accustomed to it, you'll be addicted for a long time.


It only took me one visit to develop a taste for Indian food, and that was when I was a kid.  Ditto my husband, who was a picky eater in his childhood to teenage years, more so than I.  In both cases, it was saag paneer that did the tricky-- creamy spiced spinach with cubes of mild white cheese.  I've loved it ever since.
quijote
Double Cheeseburger
RE: Favorite Indian Dishes 2009/08/26 00:25:41
I love the samplings of Indian cuisines I've had in North America and Europe, and hope someday to go to India itself and travel my way through the culinary and cultural landscape.

I understand the pitfalls of talking about "Indian food" and "curries," but I see them as mere conveniences of terminology, not as pronouncements on the cuisines themselves. Similar issues arise with many other cuisines--"Spanish," "French", "Italian," etc.--even though much, if not most, cooking in those countries is highly regional and diverse.

Anyhow, my favorite dishes are vindaloos--pork vindaloos, lamb vindaloos, goat vindaloos. I also love malai kofta, masala dosas, and everything else I've sampled--each has a distinct tradition and history, for sure, but the convenience of saying "Indian food" sure beats more precise yet clumsy phrases such as "authentic and internationalized subcontinental Asian food."
post edited by quijote - 2009/08/26 00:27:58
alwayshungry475
Junior Burger
Re:Favorite Indian Dishes 2009/09/07 20:23:49
Try a variety of dishes.

Start with aloo samosa (Potato fritters if you will)
Mango Lassi (Yogurt smoothie)

Daal
Paneer Makhni
Saag
Chicken Tikka
Lots of Naan.

Finish up with Kulfi

That'll be a hearty indian meal.
post edited by alwayshungry475 - 2009/09/08 13:11:01
pimple2
Hamburger
RE: Favorite Indian Dishes 2009/11/08 07:38:11
quijote

I love the samplings of Indian cuisines I've had in North America and Europe, and hope someday to go to India itself and travel my way through the culinary and cultural landscape.

I understand the pitfalls of talking about "Indian food" and "curries," but I see them as mere conveniences of terminology, not as pronouncements on the cuisines themselves. Similar issues arise with many other cuisines--"Spanish," "French", "Italian," etc.--even though much, if not most, cooking in those countries is highly regional and diverse.

Anyhow, my favorite dishes are vindaloos--pork vindaloos, lamb vindaloos, goat vindaloos. I also love malai kofta, masala dosas, and everything else I've sampled--each has a distinct tradition and history, for sure, but the convenience of saying "Indian food" sure beats more precise yet clumsy phrases such as "authentic and internationalized subcontinental Asian food."


Q-meister,
 
Your point is very well made. What you want to communicate to our fellow enthusiasts is the term "Indian Restaurant Cooking."  However, even here, some caution is required. You may be familiar with the complaint by New Yorkers that their favorite "style(s)" of "Cantonese" take-out or sit-down, especially the taste of several "classic dishes" they had taken for granted and which represented  a huge investment of memories & other emotional capital, were not available even in other Toisanese restaurants far from the NYC area. Likewise, the St.Louis classic, Chicken with cashewnuts (?), saturates that cityscape, but appears in that particular guise nowhere else. The same story is true for the regional adaptations of Chinese cuisines in micro-regions of say, India, that are extremely dear to those who have grown up with some specific dishes but available nowhere else! 
 
North American "Indian" restaurant cooking is undergoing significant demographic transitions with respect to cooks & ownership, that can make the newcomer's experience more choppy, less pleasant. That was the reason for my caveats. It helps to understand the roots of the owner and/or cooks: Indians North, South or West, Pakistani, Bangladeshi or Nepali. I say this for a number of reasons. In NYC, a bunch of poseurs from Chowhound, who know NOTHING whatsoever of any Indian cuisine, let alone that of Bengal, write reviews and expert-sounding comments on restaurants that then can make or break them.  For example, a specific place whose specialty is ONLY a particular genre of vegetarian small eats from the state of Gujarat was reviewed on its naan, saag-paneer etc. which they keep precisely for such fools, who would not have the palate nor the knowledge to make the correct choice and the range of choices necessary for a worthwhile evaluation. Naturally it was not very good, like the Western food served in Chinese buffets!! It is there for the same reason. So now do you understand the folly of gently mocking me?
 
NYC is full of Indian restaurants that actually are owned by Pakistanis & Bangladeshis. When you try to understand what these groups excel at, then you will naturally have a more satisying encounter than a "ONE SIZE FITS ALL."  Your pork/lamb/goat vindaloos would fare very badly at the hands of most Pakistanis, ditto dosas. Meat cookery in a certain style, kebabs, certain ways of cooking whole beans & dals and wheat breads: these are what you should judge them by and they will excel.
 
Bangladeshis excel in a whole different spectrum of foods, but also in meat cookery. However, with regard to your "vindaloos", note that an entire genre of dishes were invented by Bangladeshi  emigre cooks in Britain in the last 40 years, that have names of  Indian origin but no resemblance whatsoever to the original, none at all. These are concocted from 3 basic master sauces, mixed together in various proportions with boiled cubed meats, and finishing garnishes, e.g. vinegar for vindaloo, fenugreek leaves for x, coconut cream & nut paste for y, etc. And now they have invented the absurd name of Balti this, Balti that. In the beginning, Peshawar had just 1 Balti or karhai meat! Superb. Nothing else was karhai or could be!
 
If you wish, I shall write you an authentic vindaloo recipe, and you will be astonished at its COMPLETE ABSENCE of chili heat and very restrained spicing. There are Goan Vindaloos,  and then there are even milder East Indian Vindaloos, East Indians being a community of Catholics settled in Bombay after it passed into English hands [with the marriage of Catherine of Braganza], who preferred to call themselves by that name. Finally, there are Parsi Vindaloos, created out of a very long tradition of hiring Goan cooks. All are similar to a degree, none very hot. There are long-keeping vindaloos, cooked without added water, but with the addition of cashew fruit liquor.
 
Some modern authors, cashing in on their notoriety and the gullibility of their readership, have invented all sorts of recipes for vindaloos out of thin air. I too can create pizza recipes out of duck confit, arugula & avocado, because they sound trendy, sophisticated, expensive and hard to find for ordinary folk. It might even taste wonderful to someone who never has had pizza before, and become his favorite, go-to flavor!! No harm done!! The question is, would YOU want to eat such a pizza? 
 
So, to truly enjoy the offerings of a culture that might be somewhat unknown, some circumspection may be warranted. That was my reason for trying to be helpful, supplying specific places & specific dishes to eat there. I know as well as you the points you make, and helpfulness towards those who are less sure than yourself surely does not merit a completely unproductive, snarkey response. No one learns anything useful to them re: eating out, the purpose of this site, except how smart you are!
quijote
Double Cheeseburger
RE: Favorite Indian Dishes 2009/11/08 15:42:10
Pimple, I hope you didn't take my remark to be snarky; that was far from my intent. My main point was to underscore the successes and problems of terminology when applied to a cuisine with different dimensions. I'm a big fan of cuisine authenticity, though "authenticity" can be a problem as food is always evolving. We can pin down a quintessential prototype for a dish, but we need to remember that the dish evolved from something else; it didn't develop in a vacuum. Not many of the "American classics" (pizza, bagels, etc.) can be considered truly "authentic" in a historical sense, though they may be held up as benchmarks or prototypes of some sort. To an extent, it would be almost contradictory for a mass public to experience many truly ("historically") authentic dishes. In the case of vindaloo, yes, we can follow an authentic recipe, but the circumstances of our lives, kitchens, preparation methods (such as a "recipe" itself) and ingredients would necessarily transform the experience into something not truly authentic. This is the call of Roadfood, in fact: to experience the timelessness of regional food in context, even when things keep changing. 

However, I'm not against innovations in cuisine, either. I know that a pizza with duck confit is not reflective of the original pizzas, but it could very well be that such a pizza is indeed the best I've had. Tastes change, and food evolves along the way. If potatoes are native to Peru, then can there be an authentic boxty (potato cake) in Ireland? Or an authentic potato and pea samosa in India? Most food, perhaps all food, is fusion cooking. I understand that the original and more authentic vindaloos do not have chile heat, as chiles are a New World item. The same goes for Korean kimchee, Szechuan food, spicy Thai curries, and other foods that now use chile peppers.

Without experimentation and adaptation, food can still be good, but it also becomes akin to a museum object. A chile-spiced vindaloo served at American or British restaurants may not be an authentic Goan or East Indian vindaloo of the kinds you referenced, but it could be its own genre: a chile-spiced vindaloo that stands on its own merits, and that isn't merely derivative of something else. I agree that innovations can mask original versions of foods that are perfectly good--not just vindaloos, but also pre-chile versions of pickled Korean vegetables and pre-chile versions of Szechuan dishes using native peppercorns. But I don't think the search for authenticity should keep us from enjoying innovations. Many authentic dishes are enhanced by time and experimentation. In the meanwhile, we must use language to try to describe our foods, even if the words we use carry a lot of historical baggage. Though the bagels I get at the local stores do not resemble the true bagels of legend, and though the vindaloos I enjoy do not closely resemble their ancestors, the words "bagel" and "vindaloo" will have to do for now.  
 
And by the way, I would love to have any vindaloo recipe you're willing to share. Perhaps you could post it in the "recipes" forum or e-mail it to me?
post edited by quijote - 2009/11/08 18:41:25
ces1948
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:Favorite Indian Dishes 2009/11/08 19:53:06
I guess at age 61 I should finally give it a try. A local place has just started a lunch buffet so maybe this coming week I'll try it.
NYPIzzaNut
Filet Mignon
Re:Favorite Indian Dishes 2009/11/08 20:08:37
I guess I should venture something here - I do love most Indian food (even though my wife is not keen on it as she spent lots of time in India in the Peace Corp way back when and got her fill of curry, curry, curry to last her several lifetimes.)

I have been to a number of Indian restaurants in greater Cincinnati and very seldom have found something I did not care for on the buffets generally offered.

I have fallen in deep love with naan and just discovered it is being sold by Culinary Circle in Biggs and some other markets around town. 

I can almost live on their garlic naan.

http://www.culinarycircle.com/servlets/productDetails?productId=152&categoryId=22
post edited by NYPIzzaNut - 2009/11/08 20:39:11
ces1948
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:Favorite Indian Dishes 2009/11/11 11:54:52
Well I did give it a try and I mostly liked it. Unfortunately I cannot tell you exactly what I had. It was a bit of an unusual and slightly uncomfortable  experience. There was no buffet as I thought there would be and no menu was presented. There was a hand lettered sign indicating three lunch specials, a veggie, a chicken and a lamb. I told the waiter who spoke very little English that I had never had Indian food before. He asked if I
liked Veggies, chicken or lamb best and whether I liked spicy or mild. I told him chicken spicy but not real hot. I got the following.
A green colored soup with what appeared to be small bits of chicken, was not real spicy but had a good flavor.
A salad standard tossed with cucumber slices, iceberg, carrots etc with a very thin nearly tasteless dressing with chopped onion, perhaps yogurt and nothing esle identifiable.
For the main course I was served a generous portion of white rice, a small bowl of a curry laced sauce with corn kernels in it but nothing else identifiable. I rightly or wrongly poured the sauce over part of the rice. This was quite spicy and good.
I also received a bowl of what resembled tomato bisque with chunks of reddish colored chicken in it. This was also pretty spicy and good, I also poured some of this sauce over a portion of the rice. I also got Indian bread with something maybe butter smeared on it. It truly reminded me of pizza crust but was not unpleasant. For dessert I was served a thin rice type pudding which maybe had a hint of coconut. It was good.
The entire lunch special was $7.99 plus drink.
All in all a good if somewhat confusing experience.
pimple2
Hamburger
Re:Favorite Indian Dishes 2010/05/29 06:33:36
Hi CES,

I am sorry that your first experience was so equivocal. Where are you located? This place seems not to have any competition, because th spread was not too generous.That might be bcause of location, rent, white tablecloth service, no competition, or many other factors.

It would be interesting to learn the name of the place. That might provide a clue to the ethnic or regional roots of the owners. That might mean something or nothing, because cooks are difficult to find owing to Immigration & Labor regulations. So, there is a diminishing pool of trained subcontintental workers, whose ranks are supplemented by many wannabes, including the owners' relatives, pals, and miscellaneous passers-by e.g. Latino casual laborers taught rudimentary skills by the owners.

Many or most of the Indian restaurants today are being opened by Bangladeshis, Nepalese and various other groups who are poorly equipped to interpret or cook the "Indian Restaurant Standards'' created and defined by 2 or more generations of Punjabi restarateurs.

Hence, you received a decidedly odd interpretation of "Chicken Mulligatawny Soup"where save the chicken, everything else had been surrendered to the ignorant and wild imagination of the cooks. There is spontaneity & refreshing creativity and there is travesty & truly bad food. One must know when ignorance & carelessness has gone too far, as in many restaurants be they in the UK, USA or in India.

Then the other liquid was a dal, a legume, that should have been accompanied by a side of vegetable. Combining vegetables with dal is fine, but that cookery is accomplished in distinctive regional styles and is a matter of great pride & delicacy. Never a nondescript bowl of dog's vomit! It was created out of commercial Green Pea soup base, some  packaged dhansak/sambar masala, and some lettuce/spinach ground in for color.

Combining chicken with sauce is likewise distinctive and takes training and care. it seems you were offered some bowdlerized version of Chicken Butter Masala, probably concocted from Tomato Soup base, cream and package tandoori spices.

I am sorry that you had such an indifferent experience. You might write them a note telling them it was your first Indian meal & how underwhelmed you were. Please include your suspicions that the sauces were created from canned commercial bases.
pimple2
Hamburger
Re:Favorite Indian Dishes 2010/05/29 07:53:27
@quijote

http://www.virsanghvi.com...icleDetail.aspx?ID=311

http://www.hindu.com/mp/2...s/2006031800970300.htm

This is about Chef Urbano Rego, a truly great chef and a great human being. Native of Goa, the home of the vindaloo, it is worth traveling to taste his cooking which includes many Goan traditions, Christian & Hindu each with their remarkable contributions. E.g. the typical SHAKUTI of ripe cashew fruit, another dish of unripe mangoes prepared with mustard & coconut paste.

The GOAN VINDALOO is not Chili-hot. It is spicy, tangy, and the flavor palette is contributed by:

per 1 kilogram or 2.2 lbs of meat, roughly

Cumin 2 tsp.
Cassia Bark or cinnamon [like cassia + eugenol, i.e. a clove-like fraction] a finger length
Clove 6-10
Black pepper 10-20
Anise/star anise, a hint [optional] a very small amt.; use own judgment in all things e.g. cinnamon since quills are fatter, thicker, etc. Ditto garlic, ginger etc.

Garlic 6-10 cloves
Ginger a reasonable chunk
Onion c. 2 cups, diced

Mild New Mexico or Aromatic Rose Paprika type of red chiles : your call. Soak the chiles, removing seeds if you wish. Then bring to a boil. Then grind the softened chiles with mild vinegar or any vinegar [white or cider; adjust tang later] with all dry spices, tamarind, ginger & garlic
Palm Vinegar : a little bit, a few Tb.
Touch of molasses or brown sugar
Tamarind pulp, ripe
OIL! FAT!!
Sea salt
Cashew fruit liquor like grappa or vodka

Meat with bones, skin, cartilage, fat.

Select flavorful meat, pork shoulder with skin, bone; trotter, fresh hocks, ear, some belly with skin,large chunks.

Or, whole duck/goose with skin, cut into pieces.

Salt & rub thoroughly, sit for a while and drain. Do not let meat touch water or watery substances if you are making the long-keeping type of vindaloo. This will be a spicy confit, sort of.

Rub half the ground paste into meat and let sit for a while, say 1 hour.

In 1/2 cup oil, add onions and bring up to heat. Cook slowly, covered, until they are transparent and raggedy and exude moisture. Gently increase heat until they begin to change color to light gold.

Add the remaining half of the paste and carefully cook for a few minutes, then add the meat. Stir and fry it in the spiced oil until it changes color. Cover and lower heat and gently seethe in its own juices until half tender. If you are going to make a thin gravy, add boiling water 1/2 cup at a time, letting meat create a gravy under cover on low heat before adding  another 1/2 cup. Or you can add 1/2 c. of a neutral liquor like grappa and let it cook the meat, covered, with the barest hint of brown sugar or cane jaggery or maple syrup. This together with the fat, will create a concentrated spicy dish eaten like a meat pickle.

Whether in the water-based gravy form or the more concentrated "pickle" form, vindaloo must be left to cook slowly under a tight cover in an enamelled cast iron vessel. Then it must mature for 12-24 hours [or more] in the fridge before consumption.

Be careful with salt, since you have salted the meat to begin with.

Game like venison, boar & waterfowl do very well with this treatment.

quijote
Double Cheeseburger
Re:Favorite Indian Dishes 2010/05/31 13:40:19
Thanks, Pimple-- That chef sounds amazing. And I'm looking forward to trying out that vindaloo recipe. Sounds delicious.
pimple2
Hamburger
Re:Favorite Indian Dishes 2010/06/01 23:42:53
http://www.anothersubcont...=30156&#entry30156

Here is a great site by Indians with their own authentic regional & home recipes


http://www.uppercrustindi...20Chefs&postid=107

an Indian cooking & food publication, online, so that you get a glimpse of traditional & current recipes

Nothing like the mystery food in so-called "Indian" restaurants.

http://thecookscottage.ty...com/curry/hot_as_hell/

types of chilies, with photographs

My suggestion is to use sweet or hot Hungarian paprika [not smoked Spanish paprika], Korean kochugaru i.e. red pepper [which is excellent, ground or flaked] or New Mexico chiles. You need color & aroma, not heat.

http://thecookscottage.ty...7/06/ghati_mutton.html

Use lamb shank & neck

http://thecookscottage.ty...3/more_indian_foo.html

MellowRoast
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:Favorite Indian Dishes 2010/06/04 16:11:25
My favorite Indian dish of all time is Padma Lakshmi.  Baha!
 
 
pimple2
Hamburger
Re:Favorite Indian Dishes 2010/06/06 07:35:05
You ain't checked out the chickies in Bollywood & south Indian movies yet! You'll never be the same again!

http://www.google.com/ima...=4&ved=0CEMQsAQwAw


http://www.google.com/ima...=4&ved=0CDYQsAQwAw

IM
Junior Burger
RE: Favorite Indian Dishes 2010/07/05 19:15:13
YUMMMMMM....
All your info sounds good. Hopefully I'll be able to find some of these places. Have to look up Sunnyvale.
I have yet to find a really good samosa at a restaurant. Most are dismally disappointing. There are some good how-to videos on youtube to make all kinds of recipes. I love samosas, carrot halvah, barfi (generally too sweet but I love it), chai, vegetable subji, of course the staple basmati rice with cardomom...MANGO LASSI YUMMMMM.
I only go to "Indian" restaurants during lunch special which is usually aprox $10. But after an Indian meal I've stuffed myself silly and am sleepy so Indian lunch is off-limits during a work week. Dinner is too expensive and sometimes it's the same food from lunch (ugh).
If I find I can cook it at home fresher then I don't usually return. In L.A. the restaurants have an A, B, C, D rating system which they have to post on the front window (GOOD IDEA) and one really good small restaurant somewhere in the Valley had a C or B but it was okay cos the food was awesome.
When I'm in Thousand Oaks I always visit Apna Spiceland off Hampshire...it's in a little open mall area with a palm tree on the logo. They are an Indian grocery but expanded and have a deli now. It's always better to be there early enuf in the day when the food is fresh.
IM
Junior Burger
Re:Favorite Indian Dishes 2010/07/05 19:55:35
I watch Indian movies that come my way via public library, film festivals, etc. It helps when some movies have an English translation feature (I do that with all movies anyway so I don't miss anything). I have a few Indian music CDs in my car. I am always on the lookout for salwar kameez (sometimes called Punjabi suit) and I'm sure if marketed to the average American woman would really be a hit in the USA because it covers all the right places and is very comfortable. I had a hot pink cotton salwar kameez with black pants and got many compliments on it. It was very comfortable and stylish to wear to work. If I could find the right styles I'd live in them.

My first introduction to "Indian" food, was the free Sunday dinners at Hare Krishna temples in the Seventies in Denver, Co. and Culver City, Ca. I found it was best to enjoy the food and smile and nod while eating instead of engaging in debate or I'd surely have a stomach-ache afterwards. I bought the 1972 Hare Krishna cookbook and still have it. I understand it's a generic style compared to your detailed accounts.

Sweet rice...YUM. I did help a friend cook for 65 people at a fundraiser last Fall. I have gotten pretty good at making sweet rice (kheer), chai, mango lassi, and chutney...I made a fresh green cilantro jalapeno chutney which is pretty similar to salsa. Luckily we had an elderly Indian man who I know is a very good cook to consult with. He uses Water Buffalo ghee in his own cooking. The other thing I've made a lot over the years is farina halavah. I've taken it to many American potlucks and it gets gobbled up right away by people who have never heard of Indian food. So full of butter and sugar though I get a sugar headache and don't make it often.
Sneetch
Cheeseburger
Re:Favorite Indian Dishes 2010/07/08 18:48:22
hey IM - how about posting that farina halvah recipe? i love the stuff, and make a Greek cookie with it called Melomakarona every Christmas...it would be great to add an indian sweet to my repetoire...!
pimple2
Hamburger
Re:Favorite Indian Dishes 2010/08/29 14:28:55
From a good friend, Yajna Patni:

"My recipe for suji halwa is simple. its quite sweet, but not sickenly so, but you could lessen the sugar if you liked.
It is one cup of semolina, and one cup of butter. ( i like butter better than ghee, but that might not be right) roast the semolina in the butter over a low heat in a heavy bottomed pan. The slower it roasts, the better it tastes. When it is done the butter should separate out, and it should smell sweet. Add all at once two cups of boiling water and stir off the heat. When it seems absorbed, add one cup of sugar and stir. it will seem to wet. put the lid on and let it sit for 10 minutes.
not boiling the sugar and water together makes a lighter fluffier halwa I find. Some times syrup is too thick to absorb.
You can add saffron or cardamom to the water, or chocolate chips with the sugar."
http://www.anothersubcont...n/index.php?t1229.html

My note: traditionally, you gently fry good quality sultanas until just puffed in ghee,which is not quite clarified butter. Then, an assortment of nuts: slivered almonds, raw cashew, pistachio if you are feeling rich! These are fried fried golden;reserve for garnish.  These are stirred into the sooji which is similar to semolina during the final stage; fluff with fork, sprinkle with nuts.

Using saffron: Use a tiny pinch while making the sugar syrup. NEVER TOAST SAFFRON, NO MATTER WHO TELLS YOU!!!!!! Drop stamens into the hot water. VANILLA Imports has very good saffron. Sadaf Mail Order, likewise. You pay for quality. Will store 9-10 years in glass in freezer.

Using GREEN cardamom: purchase an 8-7 oz bag WHOLE PODS from Indian grocer. Great for chai, Christmas cookies, Nordic sweet breads, pilafs, biryanis, Indian cooking & sweets. Will store 2-3 years in freezer. Gently pop with your nail the tips or very lightly pound whole pod. Then cook with semolina when roasting in hot butter.

BUTTER: Use UNSALTED, much fresher. Add pinch sea salt to awaken flavor.

INDIAN CASSIA LEAF, Cinnamonum tamala, NOT BAY LEAF, may also be added while roasting, in addition to cardamom, for a touch of West Bengal!
 
Sooji Halwa in North India, Mohanbhog in West Bengal, Kharabhath in Karnataka!!

In the North, often eaten steaming hot with PURI, a fried bread somewhat similar to sopaipillas. That is why the sweetness is high, because it gets cut with plentiful puri.

One problem with cooking North Indian [or Bengali] gravied/dry dishes: these are meant to be eaten with a LOT of INDIAN BREAD or RICE PLUS OTHER THINGS IN THE SAME MOUTHFUL, as in 70-80% bread/rice, then dal, chutney or salad or raita, only then mixed with the so-called "entree"!!

I see many Americans spooning the very very rich gravy and a minuscule amount of rice or bread and then complain about oily, spicy food!! Do you eat  meatballs & red sauce + parmesan cheese minus the pasta? Think how unbalanced that would taste!

Italians put even LESS sauce on their pasta & FEWER toppings on their pizzas than do Americans. They want to TASTE the WHEAT!!!

Absolutely the same principle with N.Indian food! If you are CLEARLY & PRIMARILY NOT TASTING THE WHEAT OR THE FRAGRANCE OF THE RICE, YOU ARE NOT EATING the food as it was meant to be eaten. So any judgment is your own problem!!

That said, 95% of "Indian" restaurants are horrors. Read reviews by Indians of Indian restaurants for some really pungent words!!  e.g. nyindia.com, searchindia, etc.

Here is an excellent pair of recipes by DHARAMJIT SINGH [INDIAN COOKERY] posted here:
http://www.anothersubcont...p;st=0&#entry19119

Urd = Vigna mungo; it is sold whole as a small black legume or hulled & split [other variations too]. You will see them marked URAD DAL in Indian & many mainstream groceries. They are best cooked for thes e2 recipes on slow heat e.g. a Crockpot on low or a low oven.

Khara Maahn or Urd  ]Khara =whole, maahn is the Punjabi form of MAASH, the Sanskrit name of Urad]

Take 1/2 lb. white urd lentils, wash, clean and soak them overnight, drain, then place in a very heavy pan and enrich with 2 oz. butter. Add 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped parsley, 4 crushed cardamoms, 1/2 teaspoon salt, a good pinch asafoetida, a few chopped mint leaves and 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper. Mix and then moisten with just enough water to cover. Mix again, and poach (as you would rice), using lowest possible heat. Moisten lightly as often as necessary, but do not inundate with water. Test by extracting a few grains from the centre with a perforated spoon. When these are tender but whole (like rice grains) the lentils are done. If desired add 6 tablespoons melted butter and some chopped chives. Serve hot.

Black or whole urd or maahn lentils are cooked in the same way, but enough water is added to produce the consistency of a thick purée. If the lentils are cooked with butter, long and slowly enough - about 4 hours or more - they will turn a pinkish grey. Use 4 oz. or more of butter for every half pound of lentils and the result will be the most velvety dish imaginable. For an even richer dish substitute milk for a portion of water, and add 2 tablespoons cream and a little yoghurt [beaten so that it will not curdle] half an hour before the lentils are done.

My note: you can also add a handful of PINK beans or PINTO beans per lb of whole urad beans, when you begin to soak, for textural contrast.



post edited by pimple2 - 2010/08/29 17:02:16
pimple2
Hamburger
Re:Favorite Indian Dishes 2010/08/29 16:57:38
@IM re: Shalwar Kameez

Ithaca has the House of Shalimar, a very successful clothing store run by a couple; he from Pakistan, she an American. They have catered to varied tastes for several decades, bringing Pakistani fabrics & garments in lovely styles, designs etc. Good quality, in sync with US needs/tastes.

As you know, shalwar-kameez is a style that originates in Punjab & points to its north-west; it is almost the national dress in Pakistan today. You might be well-served calling up Mrs. Sheikh at 607-273-7939 [142 The Commons, Ithaca, NY 14850] and puttng your questions to her. At least she might refer you to clothiers closer to you, e.g. Dallas.

A big Muslim festival is coming up September 11, the biggest religious event of the year when people buy new clothes galore. AFTER Eid, there may be clearance sales from PAKISTANI clothiers, something to keep in mind. Prices will drop anyway, just as they will peak before the major Muslim holidays. It pays to ask these questions directly from Mrs. Sheikh!! S
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