Spoonful of Chutney
By: Shreya Suresh
Naan and tikka masala always make your mouth water, but you know what’s even better than these dishes? My new series, Spoonful of Chutney, where I talk about all kinds of Indian food. I come from India, and I am excited to talk about recipes, restaurants, festival food, and much more from my culture.
Take a peek at my first spotlight, “Spicy Kitchen,” where I list some of the essentials in the average Indian kitchen. Check this space each week for something new and exciting!
While moving overseas opens up a new world of food options, it isn’t long before we find ourselves craving the familiarity of the food we grew up with. And as a result, every Indian’s kitchen, regardless of where they’ve made their homes, has these spices:
- Turmeric: Known for its many medicinal properties and excellent flavor, it’s an essential component of every Indian kitchen. The next time you have a sore throat, add a pinch of turmeric to warm milk, honey and a dash of pepper. It doesn’t sound appealing, but it provides instant relief.
- Cumin seeds: Jeera, as it’s called in India, is loved for its aroma. The most delicious way to eat it is by frying it lightly in oil and adding it to rice (find the recipe here). You can also add it to boiling water, strain it and drink the water every morning. It’s a great way to detox and boost immunity.
- Garam masala: Also called “curry powder,” (a term no Indian will recognize) garam masala is a combination of different spices. It’s used whole or as a powder, and enhances the flavor of any Indian dish. In fact, a lot of Indians add it to pasta too, just to give it a more tangy touch.
These spices are just a fraction of what goes on in the average Indian kitchen. To keep our spices organized, we use a traditional Indian box that we call a masala dabba (box of spices).
These spices, and many more, belong in every kitchen. They’re delicious and healthy, and not too hard to come by. Turmeric powder and cumin seeds, and even garam masala under the name “curry powder” are found everywhere. So why don’t you make a trip to the nearest grocery store and add some spice (see what I did there?) to your kitchen?