Sunday, January 22, 2012

Ultimate (?) Guide on Indian Food

I don't know if the Vah Chef at is the absolutely ultimate guide on Indian cooking, but he is a good chef and does make me enjoy his demonstrations on cooking. He also gives a lot of background (makes me fast forward through it) on a particular dish that a person who has no idea about the cuisine might appreciate. What I really love, is his enthusiasm and his ability to make the dish seem sooo yum at the end of it. Reinforces the idea that he loves what he does, even if this is aside from his usual cheffing job at his restaurant.

But I also know of other equally skilled chefs and cooking experts who are an authority on Indian cooking. No one can say for sure that one or the other is the only (or ultimate) authority or guide on the cuisine. I've used their recipes but Indian food for me has never been so exact that there was only one way to prepare it with exact measurements. Even now, I don't always use a teaspoon or tablespoon when sprinkling some spices or using the very basic cumin or mustard seeds to temper a dish. A friend of mine had confided to me that she did not know how to begin to teach her gym instructor even the most basic dishes because she did not always measure out every single ingredient - it came from experience and one couldn't always explain that to a person who'd never done that.

However, the recipe books I've used have stood by the principle of using exact measurements for all ingredients and this has caught on with the rest of the Indian cooking population - even housewives. I can understand that this is one way of making a cuisine more accessible to people who want to learn it. Even chefs who'd once guard their recipes like their bank accounts now realise the power of taking their cuisine over country boundaries and seeing the satisfied glow reflected in faces all over the world. It is wonderful to teach those who don't know the cuisine but would love to make it for their families and friends and most of all, themselves. I respect everyone - chef or not - who does it, not for their own sakes but for the sake of the dish, the meal.

So, there can't be one just one person or website with the lowdown on Indian cooking. It's always better to go through many recipes (written by different experts), find what you like and eventually feel free to tweak it to the way you or your family love it. That's always worked for me.

One of my favourite recipes from the Vah Chef:



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