OK all you recipe junkies. This section won't lead you to Oz. But if you want to grow up and get your cooking permit, read on. The basics will be explained and after that, you'll have to make the three-point turns yourself.
I learned how to prepare Indian food through practice, experimentation and books. Luckily, I've also known some fine Indian cooks. Folks who answered my questions and let me help and watch closely while they cooked. If you have any Indian friends, don't be shy. Tell them you want to sponge every cultural cooking technique they know. Then ask yourself over for eats. But by all means, make sure you help out in the kitchen. No one likes a big smelly mooch.
Indian cooking is all about the spice. Once you grasp how each spice tastes and contributes to the party, it's time to experiment.
Commercial "curry powder" is cancer. If you have any lurking in your cabinet, get it out. That evil yellow crack from the store will make every single dish you make taste the same. Besides, real cooks know that it's an evil supermarket conspiracy. Why else would a simple blend of spices cost so much? Detect & Destroy.
Curry actually refers to the spice blend or masala used in a particular dish. Every Indian dish has its own unique spice blend. Indian cooking begins to party when individual spices are used. Each spice has its own specific and tasty flavor. Learn each one, and you, too, will be culinarily free. Imagine: anything lurking in the fridge or pantry can be whipped up into tasty Indian chow. It doesn't take a long time to earn your Indian diploma either.
First, a little investment is in order. Create your own spicy mutual fund. Ethnic markets are a gold mine. Asian, Latin, and Middle Eastern grocers stock vast varieties of spices in bulk and bags.
These spices are fresher, tastier, and cheaper than those at McSafeway. Plus, you get a bigger bang for your buck. Just today I bought a 4 ounce bag of coriander seeds for a mere 69 cents. I live in a metro area stuffed with different ethnic groceries. In desperate times, look online for retailers.
If you've never shopped in an ethnic grocery, go look. They are like The National Museum of Wonderfulness. Not only will you be happily surprised by the low sticker prices, there are barrels of cool things to check out crystalline msg, rose infused water, Hindu idols, over-dyed agar (seaweed) sticks, hookahs, and beet-colored turnip pickles.
>> Keep going: The Spice Box