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"Cooking Indian Food – Cake walk or Tough work?"

Discussion in 'Snippets of Life (Non-Fiction)' started by Malini Iyer, Apr 21, 2005.

  1. Malini Iyer

    Malini Iyer Senior IL'ite

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    Indian across the globe find it difficult to give up Indian food. The entire Indian cuisine which hails from various part of the country has a balanced diet and is well suited for the Indian palate. Many of us have been had years of have had home cooked Indian food every day which has left a lasting impression on our taste buds. Thus Indians everywhere try their hands at cooking Indian food especially if they are in a foreign country. Even though many Indians settled abroad have put together a menu of western dishes mixed with a smattering of Indian dishes, there are still a few who would like to try out a full blown Indian mean. As most of the items on the Indian menu are elaborate, they require elaborate preparation as well. Many of the items would require specific spices ground to perfection in order to deliver the right taste and flavour.

    For the uninitiated, cooking Indian food can be a lot of tough work. Not only do many items call for elaborate preparation, they require spices and specific items cooked in very specific style. Take for example Paneer (set cottage cheese) . It is one of the most versatile items in Indian dishes and many cooks liken it to chicken. It can add life to any preparation and be the main ingredient for the preparation as well. Paneer is used in all kinds of Indian food, but specifically in the north Indian dishes. A well known cooking show host once said that there was no simple way to cook Paneer. The more elaborate the preparation, the more delicious the outcome. The tough work starts with what to make. Once that is done, the collection of all ingredients in their right form is required. Cooking it requires a fine ballet of coordinated actions which results in a tasty paneer dish.

    You may occasionally come across friends or family members who can cook while doing three other things. They make it appear very simple. Don’t get mistaken by this façade. Indian cooking is no way a simple process and people who make it look like a cake walk either have a passion for it or most likely plenty of practice under their belt or both. For those of us out there who shudder at the thought of cooking specially Indian cooking, have help at hand with ready to eat Indian meals and easy to cook meals which have made many innovative entrepreneurs rich.

    If you do not like out of box Indian cooking, and would still like to venture out to cook it yourself but have no idea where to start try the Indian cook books. They have been a saviour for many people and I have seen Tarla Dalal Microwave Cook book being picked up by many people at the bookstore specially those who have the NRI look. Ready made spice pastes and easy to use ingredients have made life slightly simple. However there is still some bit of Indian cooking which requires preparation such as kneading the dough just so that the parathas come out soft and so on and so forth.

    If you are still not sure whether Indian cooking is tough or easy, take a look at any Indian household. If there is a family of more than three or four people, it is likely that they would employ a separate domestic help to cook for them. If Indian cooking was all that easy would that have been the case? One of the main reasons of Indian cooking being complicated is that a number of things have to be served fresh literally off the cooking range and into the plate such as the parathas and rotis. Speaking of parathas, it is something that very few people in the modern urban houses can manage easily on their own. Many a times, rotis or tortillas are warmed and eaten out of a ready pack. After all, it is definitely a tough task to get the perfect round paratha in the first try!

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  2. purnima_2k

    purnima_2k Senior IL'ite

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    Interesting topic for discussion!

    When i was newly married i hardly knew anything in cooking.But somehow that confidence was there, that i can handle it because i had some recipies from some great cooks in our family and friends circle. When I started trying, i realised that certain recipies came out very well but others did not. I was puzzled by this scenario.But as when i started exploring the cookery world, i realise that just having a recipie on hand wont do. Experience is need in order to just an IDENTIFY a recipie as good or bad. Even in the websites and cookery books of certain big shots (i dont want to take their names), certain recipies came out very badly , much to my surprise! So, when i used to call over my husbands friends for dinner i was scared to try anything new lest it comes out badly!

    Now i am almost 4 years married. Though , I will not say that I am in anyway an expert, i would like to proudly admit that The one and only wonderful aunt , none other than "Chitra Viswanathan", has bought our certain "protocols " or "rules" for cooking with such perfection that noone can ever go wrong .In fact these days i happily experiment with any dish of hers even when i call guests. The saddest part is that she was in my life throughout , but i never realised her value till recently. Anywasy , its better late than never.Thanks to her she's made cookery such a delight and intersting ..making the steryotyped adais , dosais and idlis with such creative designs and flavours that it seems like entirely a new recipie! I would like to take this opportunity to thank her profusely for being with me in this journey of cooking as a friend,philosopher and guide...!

    So coming to the point of discussion of whether cookery is easy or tough -- i would say , with proper guidance and dedication from our part, not only cooking everything will be a childs play!


    Purnima
     
  3. nuggehallipankaja

    nuggehallipankaja New IL'ite

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    This is a very interesting thread;I am sure everyone will have something useful to say, making the most inefficient a good cook, by creating avid interest. Yes, 'cooking'is the greatest art, and we are lucky to have fantastic Chitra at our beck and call. None like her!Extremely helpful also!
    Nuggehalli Pankaja
     

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