If you're Intimidated by Indian cooking, here’s a set of five recipes to get you started. Each recipe will introduce you to key steps and once you get familiar with these, you’ll find it easy to freestyle with other ingredients to create your own flavours and textures.
You’ll need a few spices and other basics to get started, all of which you’ll find at your local Indian grocery store or supermarket. Don’t worry about anything going waste, storing spices in airtight containers away from direct sunlight will ensure their flavour stays intact for a long time. Ingredients like tamarind and lentils are also staples with a long shelf life.
Have fun with these dishes: whether you’re a newbie or a pro, these healthy recipes will help you stay on top of your cooking game.
1 / Aloo Gobi — Pan-roasted Potatoes and Cauliflower with Ginger and Cumin
This classic North Indian dish gets its flavour from slowly cooking everything to golden perfection. Leftovers make a great sandwich or make a tasty salad.
2 / Menthi Pappu — Yellow Lentils flavoured with Fenugreek Seeds
This recipe comes from Archana Pidathala’s iconic cookbook Five Morsels of Love. Classic Andhra ingredients like tamarind, tomatoes and earthy-bitter fenugreek seeds result in a lentil dish that is unusual and delicious.
3 / Uppu Vankaya — Baby aubergines stuffed with a spiced coconut filling
This might seem like an ambitious dish, but it’s actually all quite methodical. The result is so wildly delicious that you’ll thank yourself for trying. Adjust the levels of chilli as you see fit, and keep tasting as you go along.
4 / Kadhi — Light Buttermilk Curry spiced with Cumin, Mustard and Turmeric
This light dish is very quick to make—it comes together in about 10 minutes and a beautiful, creamy texture. It’s wonderfully warming in cooler weather.
5 / Homemade Chapatis — Simple unleaven flatbread
Three ingredients (counting water!) and a few minutes of time is all it takes to put soft, hot chapatis or rotis, as they’re also known, on the table. It will take a while to get the shape right (we’re still practicing!) and the results are incredible, considering the effort.
Images and Text: Vatsala Murthy