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The taste of India
by Maggie T, FoodFriends



Having lived in India for three years, 1996 to 1999, and travelled around India I can tell you the food is as exotic and as colourful as India itself. Before we lived in India we thought 'Indian" food was of one style, like we found in the Indian restaurants in Dublin. However in those days, the Indian restaurants were generally "North Indian". We soon learned about the differences. Indian cuisine can be divided into four distinct regional styles: north, south, east and west, all evoking different sense of colour, smell and taste.

Once Eugene sent a few of his local Orissians staff (we lived and worked in Orissa, East India) to Agra and Lucknow to visit the factories of suppliers for a week.When they returned he asked them how was it.Of course he was asking about the factories. They all complained that they could not eat the strange food up there, and were almost starved!

As we were the only expatriates in the city, we lived in the Oberoi hotel and every night was buffet, mostly vegetarian. We loved the food.They make the vegetables taste delicious. So after three years we were almost vegetarian.

Of those we visited our favourite city was Jaipur, the "Pink City". So colourful and the food was bursting with flavours. When I am cooking Indian food I experiment more than with other cuisine, so my recipes may vary. This comes from spending time in the kitchen in India.It's all about finding your personal preferences; adding more spices or reducing the amounts. It's easy to vary the intensity to suit individual taste buds. Indian food uses lots of spices, but only some are "hot". Those who do not like the burning sensation of chilli can enjoy lots of full flavoured Indian dishes.

My favourite way to eat eggplant (aubergines) is Baigan Bharta.
Vegetable curry a very versatile dish, great for using left over vegetables.

Being Irish we like a dish with potatoes, So I like Aloo Gobi; its different from what my mother cooked!

Hope you enjoy. Happy cooking from FoodFriends.

Aloo Gobi

Ingredients:Serves 6
1 large cauliflower - broken into florets
3 large potatoes - peeled and cubed
2 tbsp oil - olive oil or vegetable oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 cloves garlic - thinly sliced
1tsp freshly grated ginger
1 tsp turmeric
1 green chilli - chopped into small pieces
½ tsp red chilli powder
¼ cup fresh coriander - chopped
1 tsp garam masala
1 cup water - only as required
salt to taste

Method:
In a large saucepan or wok heat the oil and add the garlic. As soon as you start to smell the garlic, add the cumin seeds followed by the ginger.

After about 30 seconds add the cauliflower and potatoes. Stir for about 2 minutes. Add a little water if required to avoid the mixture from sticking to saucepan or wok. Add turmeric powder, salt and green chilli and stir for another 2 minutes on medium- heat. Add red chilli powder, cover and reduce heat and allow to cook for approximately 20 minutes.

Add 1 tsp of garam masala and stir. Serve hot and garnish with coriander leaves

Baigan Bharta

Ingredients: Serves 4 aprox.
1 large eggplant (aubergine) or 6 to 8 long eggplants
2 tomatoes - chopped
2 onions - thinly sliced
1 red pepper - chopped
1 green chilli - finely chopped
2 cloves garlic - crushed
1 tsp ginger - crushed
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp chili powder
1 tbsp coriander
1 tbsp cumin seeds
3 tbsp oil
Salt to taste
Juice of 1 lime
Cilantro leaves to garnish

Method:
Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Place eggplant in baking dish and bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Can also grill eggplant or roast over direct flame. Allow to cool. Peel the skin off and take only the inner flesh of the eggplant, however but I leave about a quarter of the skin. (But discard the charred skin) Chop the eggplant coarsely and set aside.

Heat the oil in pan and add red pepper. Cook for one minute and remove. Add cumin seeds. Once they sizzle, add the turmeric powder and stir. Then add onions and green chilli. Fry until onions are light golden brown. Add garlic and ginger and fry for one minute. Add the tomatoes and stir. Add turmeric, coriander and chilli powder. Stir well and cook for about five minutes. Add a little water if needed.
Add the eggplant and mix well. Add the garam masala and salt to taste. Simmer for another 6 to 8 minutes stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Squeeze juice from one lime over dish. Stir and serve hot.
Garnish with cilantro leaves.

Best with roti or plain rice.

Tips: Can be frozen for up to 2 weeks. Sometimes I freeze in small quantities and add to chicken curries.

Vegetable Curry

Ingredients: Serves 4
2 potatoes - peeled and chopped
1 carrot - sliced and chopped
1 courgette - chopped
8 green beans - chopped
1 red pepper - chopped
2 to 3 tomatoes - chopped or 1 can of chopped tomatoes
1 large onion - chopped
2 green chilli - sliced length way
1 tbsp - grated fresh ginger
2-cloves garlic - chopped
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp garam malasa
8 curry leaves
3 tbsp - olive oil
Salt - to taste
Water as needed

Method:
Heat the oil in saucepan and add the onions, curry leaves and green chillies. Fry until onions turn light golden brown. Add ginger and garlic and fry for another two minutes. Add the coriander, turmeric and chilli powders and stir for about one minute. Add chopped tomatoes, garam masala and keep frying until tomatoes are cooked. Add all the chopped vegetables and salt. Toss and mix together, add two cup of water. Reduce heat and cover pan until vegetables are cooked. Stir occasionally and add more water if necessary.
Serve hot. Garnish with fresh coriander.


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