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Homemade Indian Food

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  • 11-05-2021 7:00pm
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 8,215 ✭✭✭


    Is it possible to cook Indian food at home without a plethora of herbs and spices?
    I've got a strong dislike for the jars of Indian sauces in the shops.
    I'm a big fan of Dhansak and Pathia but the premade sauces are boke.

    I'm not much of a cook either, but would like to try something other the the coconut curry that I do currently.


Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 68,779 ✭✭✭✭L1011


    Yes, but you do need a certain amount of spices - I'd advise going to an Indian supermarket and buying them in the smallest size bag they have, which will still be 3-4x the size of a supermarket jar, and dumping that in to an airtight labelled jar. I'd also recommend getting a small jar blender/chopper for making pastes

    If you like takeaway versions and not jar versions, you may want to look at the "BIR" method - British Indian Restaurant. This is where you make a mildly spiced onion/carrot/bell pepper/optionally cabbage sauce in huge bulk for portioning and freezing and then spice it up for each individual type of curry. e.g. here's a BIR Pathia recipe - this guys books are horribly overpriced but often available on huge discount.

    You're going to need ground coriander, ground cumin, tumeric, paprika chilli powder to do anything at all; you will find having garam masala easier than mixing it yourself; and I'd strongly recommend getting ground fenugreek, ground cardamom and aesofetida too. Extra spices/leaves/whole spices are what turns something OK to something good but if you're short on space / won't make them often, you can skip many of them.


  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 3,078 Mod ✭✭✭✭Black Sheep


    Is it possible to cook Indian food at home without a plethora of herbs and spices?
    I've got a strong dislike for the jars of Indian sauces in the shops.
    I'm a big fan of Dhansak and Pathia but the premade sauces are boke.

    I'm not much of a cook either, but would like to try something other the the coconut curry that I do currently.

    Meera Sodha's "Made in India" (2014) is the best cookbook I've ever come across for Indian food at home.

    The techniques required are within reach of most casual cooks, and she bases the recipes on ingredients that are readily available in supermarkets in the UK and Ireland, for the most part.

    As L1011 says, you will need to stock up on spices, but there isn't a massive range. Cumin, chilli etc. and probably more important to have plenty of garlic and fresh ginger on hand.

    I don't think what you would make from this book tastes better than a takeaway from Bombay Pantry or wherever (Although it probably would contain significantly less calories), but it should turn out better than what you'd make with the assistance of pre-made sauces from a jar.


  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Politics Moderators, Recreation & Hobbies Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators, Regional East Moderators Posts: 12,110 CMod ✭✭✭✭Dizzyblonde


    There's a huge thread in the Cooking Club with lots of recipes posted by Curry Addict: https://www.boards.ie/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=2056521427

    Although the Cooking Club threads are old and may have not been posted in for ages, it's fine to revive them and post in them :)


  • Registered Users Posts: 21,464 ✭✭✭✭Alun


    If you don't fancy buying quantities of Indian spices, you might consider some of the spice blends made by an Irish company called Green Saffron.

    https://www.greensaffron.com/product-category/spice-blends/

    Each blend comes with a compete recipe, and the ones I've tried have been excellent and very, very fresh. You can get them online but I've also seen them in bricks and mortar shops like Donnybrook Fair.


  • Registered Users Posts: 15,603 ✭✭✭✭Beechwoodspark


    +1 on the green saffron

    We have used a Few of their kits and excellent each time. And very fresh


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  • Registered Users Posts: 4,485 ✭✭✭harr


    Alun wrote: »
    If you don't fancy buying quantities of Indian spices, you might consider some of the spice blends made by an Irish company called Green Saffron.

    https://www.greensaffron.com/product-category/spice-blends/

    Each blend comes with a compete recipe, and the ones I've tried have been excellent and very, very fresh. You can get them online but I've also seen them in bricks and mortar shops like Donnybrook Fair.

    I would second these an excellent product. Takes a lot of the hassle out of sourcing all the different ingredients.
    I also use patsks not the full jars but the paste where you use a tablespoon or so and add the remaining ingredients yourself. ( coconut milk and the likes)


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,681 ✭✭✭Porklife


    So glad i stumbled across this thread. Some great ideas and I'm excited to try green saffron!


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,431 ✭✭✭embraer170




  • Registered Users Posts: 1,785 ✭✭✭gypsy79




  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 4,703 Mod ✭✭✭✭Tree


    Another vote for greensaffron, and if you're in the Limerick or Kilkee, I am a big fan of Tiwana spice blends who turn up to the farmers markets (especially big fans of the tikka masala and the channa masala).

    Onion bhaji is easy enough to make if you don't mind deepfrying.

    Naan too, I use felicity cloake's perfect naan recipe, and cook it on a very hot cast iron griddle. Works out lovely.

    If you're near an indian shop, the haldirams samosas and aloo tiki from the freezer are dead handy to have in the house.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 277 ✭✭redmissb


    Highly recommend spices from The Spicery, curries are unreal!

    https://www.thespicery.com/


  • Registered Users Posts: 9,453 ✭✭✭Shenshen


    Alun wrote: »
    If you don't fancy buying quantities of Indian spices, you might consider some of the spice blends made by an Irish company called Green Saffron.

    https://www.greensaffron.com/product-category/spice-blends/

    Each blend comes with a compete recipe, and the ones I've tried have been excellent and very, very fresh. You can get them online but I've also seen them in bricks and mortar shops like Donnybrook Fair.

    Another vote for Green Saffron - although in the interest of full disclosure : I only used them two or three times before looking at the list of contents and going "I figure I could just do this myself". Yes, I can be arrogant that way.
    But they were a great first step before buying spices. It can be bewildering when you look at the shelves and shelves of spices in an Indian shop, so to know that in order to re-create something you'd done with a Green Saffron mix you only need 4 of them can be an enormous help.

    That said, you won't really get around spices when cooking Indian. They're absolutely everywhere. But knowing two or three recipes you like and knowing the 4 or 5 spices you'll use regularly will be a great starting point.

    Pro tip : If you go to an Indian shop, make sure to pick up a jar of garlic and ginger puree. Garlic and ginger are used in pretty much all sauces, and the purees both keep almost forever and will save you a lot of chopping or grating.


  • Registered Users Posts: 16,995 ✭✭✭✭the beer revolu


    50 Great Curries of India is a book I'd highly recommend.
    It's more home style cooking than Indian restaurant cooking which I much, much prefer.

    For me the real value of this book is the introduction which covers ingredients and techniques. I haven't really cooked that many of the recipes but it's been the starting point for me learning about spices. The recipes I have used have all been excellent.
    I love this book.


  • Registered Users Posts: 21,464 ✭✭✭✭Alun


    I actually make everything from scratch myself using individual spices, and have only used these a couple of times out of curiosity.

    You're right, of course, you could easily reproduce most of the spice blends from Green Saffron yourself. I've been cooking Indian food for years, so have pretty much everything anyway. However, apart from the spices I use regularly in decent quantities, cumin, coriander, chilli etc. a lot of the other more obscure ones could be pretty old by the time you get around to using them. That's one of the big advantages of these spice blends IMO, everything is fresher and freshly ground and then sealed in an airtight package. Plus of course if you're only starting out it's a great introduction.


  • Registered Users Posts: 21,464 ✭✭✭✭Alun


    50 Great Curries of India is a book I'd highly recommend.
    It's more home style cooking than Indian restaurant cooking which I much, much prefer.
    I agree. I'm not a big fan of the Curry Club restaurant style method myself. They're all a bit samey to me.


  • Registered Users Posts: 235 ✭✭LapsypaCork


    I’d highly recommend the Indian section on this site https://glebekitchen.com which I’ve been using for over a year, tried many of the recipes and they always turn out amazing, he gives great tips and if you buy some basic spices mentioned earlier, you should manage to find one or two recipes to make your own. On this site he does go on a bit about the recipe but he’s done his research and even goes through how to cook the most perfect Pilau rice ever. If your not used to cooking Indian food, trust the recipe.
    You don’t say where you are but there might already be a thread about ethnic food shops in your area like the Cork thread or just google it and your bound to find a few in your area where you’ll find many herbs and spices needed for the recipes.
    I’d also recommend buying a small blender/chopper you’ll pick up one in Argos for about €15, I use mine every day so money well spent.
    Good luck, let us know how it goes.


  • Registered Users Posts: 85 ✭✭tropics001


    i've been following Karan Mittal from Ananda Dundrum on instagram, he posts some great recipes.

    https://www.instagram.com/chefkaran.m/?hl=en


  • Registered Users Posts: 8,215 ✭✭✭funkey_monkey


    Hi. Op here. Thanks for all the replies. I've made my usual Thai curry but next up will be something Indian, but 'safe'.
    Might be a rich as I've put in a block of creamed coconut plus 2 tins of coconut cream.


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