Indian Cooking 101 by Hooked On Heat

Image courtesy of Grant Cochrane /
Image courtesy of Grant Cochrane /

So, it is time for me to get back to basics.  In my kitchen, this means revisiting my staple spices and cooking techniques.  My own experience with Indian cooking changed the way I cook.  For instance, I almost always layer and toast up my spices for any dish (either dry or in oil).

Thinking in these ways, and also about returning to Nashville and the temperatures that reach way higher than those in the Northeast, I am thinking:  oh right, spicy food can actually cool down the body.  It is funny, I always crave more cayenne during the warm months, but it took a long time to realize the root reason.  Sometimes the body knows what the mind hasn’t quite processed.

Below, I highlight the quick-start guide for Indian cooking from Hooked On Heat’s website (which has a FANTASTIC tutorial for Indian cooking).  Remember that you can substitute yogurt for a vegan yogurt (non-sweetened, please!), or even make your own.

Must-haves in every Indian pantry:

Indian Spices

Hindi Translations

  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Coriander Powder
  • Turmeric Powder
  • Cumin Powder
  • Garam Masala
  • Chaat Masala
  • Dried Mango Powder
  • Dried Fenugreek Leaves
  • Whole Cumin Seeds
  • Fennel Seeds/Aniseeds
  • Mustard Seeds
  • Curry Leaves
  • Black Peppercorns
  • Cloves
  • Cinnamon Sticks
  • Green Cardamom
  • Bay Leaves
  • Lal Mirch Powder
  • Dhania Powder
  • Haldi Powder
  • Jeera Powder
  • Garam Masala
  • Chaat Masala
  • Amchur Powder
  • Kasoori Methi
  • Sabut Jeera
  • Saunf
  • Rai
  • Kadi Patta
  • Sabut Kali Mirch
  • Laung
  • Sabut Dalchini
  • Hari Elaichi
  • Tej Patta

Must-haves in every Indian Fridge:

  • Plain Yogurt
  • Ginger-Garlic paste
  • Fresh Coriander Leaves

Must-haves for every Indian Stove:

  • Non-Stick Frying Pan
  • Deep Saute Pan
  • Deep Soup Pot
  • Non-Stick Wok (called kadhai in Hindi)

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