The preparation of Indian foods is not as complicated as most people make it out to be. All you need to do is follow the basic techniques, and even the most hard-to-understand recipe becomes quite simple to prepare. Share the joys of good health and nutrition experienced by many in the world of sensuous culinary delights residing within the pages of my cookbooks Feast of India: A Legacy of Recipes and Fables and Editor’s Choice India’s Unsurpassed Cuisine. Masterfully adapted for use in any kitchen, ‘How To’ instructions are simple and easy to understand. Taste a dazzling repertoire of authentic, delicious and easy-to-prepare healthy recipes of diverse flavors from India’s ancient and distinguished culinary heritage.
Cilantro or fresh coriander (dhaniya patha): Coriander seeds and leaves are the secret to delicious, mouth-watering dishes and chutneys. Coriander causes sweating and is considered a diuretic.
Garlic (lahsun): A major seasoning (gingerroot and onion being the other two) in Indian cooking, garlic is used in almost every regional curry, legume (dal), and vegetable dish. In India, garlic is used for many purposes including aiding digestion and absorption of food, and is considered a diuretic and gentle laxative. Its rejuvenating properties help prevent decay, postpone aging, and revitalize tissues. As a natural anti-biotic, it destroys and inhibits the growth of bacteria and other microorganisms, heal wounds, and protects against infection.
Ginger (adrak): Known as the spice that keeps out the biting cold, its Sanskrit name is singabera. Gingerroot has been grown in India and China since remotest times and was among the first spices to make their way to ancient Alexandria and from that great harbor city to Greece and Rome. For many years ginger was considered the rich man’s spice and often worth its weight in gold. Like garlic and onion, it is one of the three major seasonings used in almost every curry, legume, and vegetable dish.
Green Chili (hari mirch): Fresh green chili peppers are an important ingredient of Indian cooking and come in hundreds of varieties. Used in almost every chutney, vegetable snack, and curry, vegetable and legume dishes, they make a dish palatable. Chili is excellent for the skin because it opens up clogged pores and expels toxins.
Onion (pyaz): Cooks everywhere agree that an onion makes every dish tastier! Like garlic and ginger, onions are an important ingredient in curries and determine the consistency of the curry sauce. Onion helps kill germs, destroys bacteria and infection-causing microorganisms, and is considered a diuretic.
Sweet Cilantro* Chutney
(Meethi Dhaniya ka Chutney)
1 bunch fresh cilantro leaves, stems removed and discarded
1 cup fresh grated coconut
2 small onions, peeled and sliced
2 fresh green chilies
4 medium garlic cloves, peeled
1/2-inch piece fresh gingerroot, peeled and chopped
Juice of 1 medium lemon
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 cup water
Salt to taste
Wash and drain the cilantro leaves.
In a food processor, puree all ingredients with 1/4 cup water.
Serve with kebab or your favorite snack and hors d’oeuvre.
*You can also add a cup of fresh mint leaves.