Indian Food Myths – Busted!!!

Indian Food Myths – Busted!!!

Equipments7A Foreigner’s Guide

Indian food could be quite intriguing, exotic and healthy! Yet, its not free from myths and stereotypes of information! If you are muffled with questions about Indian food, then this article is for you. I have complied few popular myths that float around in the internet and tried to bust them! I suppose, this foreigner’s guide should help you to over-come the fears. And, make you to venture out more often to explore our great Indian cuisine. :)

Indian Cooking is Time Consuming

Not necessarily. Only for people like me, who happen to do everything from scratch and zero down on cooking the exact replica of my great grand mother’s recipes. :) Well, for rest of them…it should be plain and simple or at least that’s really possible. If you allow me, I will let you know a few tricks. Have a well-stocked pantry with all the necessary basics, make sure that your kitchen is well equipped and please turn the air-conditioner on to make it a fun place. :)

Well…how about this tip…make your partner to do few things like peeling an onion. Okay, let me give it to you straight…pre process few things well-ahead, like for preparing a dough, you could do it while you’re watching that boring sitcom daily! Buy chopped vegetables (which are super-pricey, anyway) or cut them and freeze it during weekends! Before you intend to cook, bring all the ingredients to the counter and group them according to each dish. Soon, you will be whipping out a dozen of dishes in no time. As the food is set to boil ‘tha-la-bula-tha-la-bula’ you can load the dishwasher, sanitize the counter, set the table. Ta-da dinner will be ready. :)

Where Can I Get All Those Exotic Ingredients???

If you live in a big city, you must have at least one Indian grocery store around and am sure there got to be a way to get there! You can shop all day long, until the store manager kicks you out!

If you live in a teeny-small town…in a real country side of America, where there are no drug stores for miles (like me, stuck in the middle of no where…in the woods)! Then, I agree its really a trick question!!!  Ever heard of online shopping? Well, mail order your Indian groceries. I do that, all the time. :) Of course, sometimes we are fooled by the pictures they post. But what to do…its all in the game, especially if that’s the only option.

Indian Food is Greasy and Unhealthy

Only if you want it to be! Now come on…if you deliberately go overboard on all those pakoras, namkeens and gol gobbas in no time; gorge down that thousand calories of samosas without any mercy and still make room for plates and plates of fried pooris!! Gosh…No, I can’t help you. You’re on your own!

But, if you want to make some alterations in your life, experience good food and make some healthy choices. You have come to the right place. India boasts itself as a vegetarian nation. In fact its the only country which includes plenty of greens and vegetables. Personally my blog has more than seventy five varieties of wild greens and hundred’s of legumes and vegetable recipes. Now, go and multiply that by twenty…what number do you see? That’s the number of dishes you can make…isn’t that something. So, this is real deal. Get cooking and stay healthy. :)

Indian Food is Hot & Spicy

Hmmmmmm, the answer is both, yes and no. There are many regional dishes and ethnic variations that are absolutely good to begin with. For example: Jain and Iyer meals are completely devoid of strong spices and toned down to near-bland ( I am telling this in a non-offending manner), well suited for a foreigner’s tongue!

And if you are cooking Indian meals relying on this website…you can easily duplicate all the recipes by letting go of those crazy green chilies, chili powders and whole peppercorns or whatever! You can even omit a few ingredients that you are allergic to! It would most likely taste just fine! Of course, it won’t be for me…we south Indians want a tiny volcano busting in our mouths, in each bite we indulge.

If you are dinning out (in America), you need to ask the chef to go easy on the spices. If given a choice, say ‘mild’ on the spice-meter. Just in case, if you happen to sample Indian food in South India, be prepared for the weird look…when you say ‘less spicy’. Picture this: – I do get the same kind of look here in America, whenever I ask for Hamburger without ham, hehe. :) :)

Indian Food Synonymous with Curry, Curry and More Curry

The dish in question here is not exactly a dish in India, its only a method of preparation. Long story short…in the west its synonymous with Indian food. But for us, it comes as a surprise.

Indian Food = Chicken Tikka Masala

Let me take a wild guess, you only know to order this dish in an Indian menu ‘Chicken Tikka Masala’. Come on, don’t order it anymore. The chef is really tired making it for you, you are bored eating it again and again and we are really sore clearing this myth-off!

Indian Food Looks Gross!!!

Now, better take this back! Its completely a dim-witted way to look at a cuisine and form an opinion. We don’t go about and tell people that their food looks like crap. While some are actually putting their mouth onto the rear end of a cow…that’s a different story, never mind! Pardon me, if I sound rude in defense.

There is an old saying that goes something like this “there is no room for discussion when it comes to tastes”. Indian food is well-balanced in a multidimensional way…healthy, cost-effective, therapeutic and very palatable, in fact makes it a highly memorable experience with marking a gustatory taste buds. Its just not a wild coincidence that India has no alarming rate of obesity! If you’re still not convinced! Dude, get a grip…you are missing out!

Indian Food has No Variety

Let me clear this up for you, Indian food is all about variety. The country is so big and all the states are like independent new nations with unique language, culture and most importantly food.

Well, if you are dining in a generic place, off India. Then, there is a good possibility for your thinking. The restaurants have a business to run and they need to make some profit out of you, right! So, they have a unique menu plan that goes and on and on to keep you coming. Its only a myth by itself. There are few restaurants who cater exactly the authentic Indian meals even in abroad….for example Veeraswamy restaurant in U.K. ever heard about them. Well, you need to explore more, now  Ponnusamy Hotel is in Dubai and Singapore, Saravana Bhavan has branched out in many countries. Wish more and more authentic eateries show up in the West. Anyway, its not always right around the corner for all of us. :(

Until then, if you want real Indian food experience, then I will be glad to walk you down the right place. Make few Indian friends and be prompt at their place for every festival. :) Also, feel free to show up randomly unannounced. We are used to it. And if my fellow Desi’s (nationalities) haven’t yet lost their home-country’s food-hospitality (athidhi devo bhavo – guest is god), who knows they might even treat you well with home-made goodies. Yes, our everyday meal is a pleasant surprise for all my American friends. My best friends…Lynn, Pam, Marie and Dennis can very well attest on it. At several instances…they were quite emotional and shed tears, when I served them. Feeling really proud for knocking their senses with good food. Hope, my family reads this. :)

Indian Food Is For Vegans and Vegetarians

There is no beating around the bush for this one.Yes it is. If you are real freak, sorry…I mean hard-core Vegan or a Vegetarian. We can embrace you more tight than your own mother. We Indians have plenty of options to pick from our menu. More than 70% of population are vegetarians  (in some states). While even among the carnivores, we don’t consume red meat as a main course for every single meal, you see. Most of us include it on few days of the week as one of the side dish (or at least people I know do that way). So, if you decide to turn to vegetarianism…take some cues from us to meet your protein requirements. We know a lot about it to keep ourselves well-nourished. There are several kinds of legumes, lentils, milk recipes to opt. Am sure you will be trilled to discover a variety of cooking styles and many new flavors. Welcome aboard. :)

© 2010 Malar Gandhi,  All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.



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