When mid-winter arrives, I crave comfort food. While I used to turn to dishes from my childhood, my tastes have expanded over time. Furthermore, in college, I started exploring different cuisines, and Indian food quickly became a favorite. Its wide variety and flexibility make it a great option for experimenting with new flavors and ingredients. However, I was initially intimidated by the array of spices and ingredients required for this type of cooking.
My neighbor took me to a small Indian store and helped me to buy my staples. Thereafter, these staples became a base for my future explorations into recipes I was interested in.
Here is what I started with:
- rice (either Basmati or Jasmin)
- lentils (yellow lentils (moong dal), red lentils (masoor dal))
- garam masala
- curry powder
- coriander seeds (ground)
- mustard seeds
- cumin (ground)
- turmeric (ground)
The first recipes I made with her help were:
Remaining ingredients necessary to make these recipes were easily available in my grocery store.
Looking back, I realize that the simplicity and affordability of the staple ingredients were crucial in helping me gain confidence in my Indian cooking skills. A long list of expensive, unfamiliar ingredients might have discouraged me, but by starting with a manageable set of basics, I was able to build my knowledge and abilities over time.