Thursday, January 7, 2010

Guest post: Rani in the kitchen (queen in the Kitchen) Part 1

I am very excited about this guest post today from my friend, Amy. I have mentioned her many times on my blog as we have been friends for almost 20 years, roommates after college and she was my partner in crime for many late night Cafe Latte chocolate cake runs, happy hours and dinners when she lived in MN. Amy now lives in DC with her fiance Jay and two adorable dachshunds.

Amy loves all things about the Indian culture. Her fiance is Indian, they travel to India and along the way she has become quite the Indian cook. This post is the first of a series that she is doing on Indian cooking for Eat Drink Pretty .

Guest post by Amy:

It is no secret that I love Indian food. Sure, most people are drawn into the smells of ginger and garlic, along with all the wonderful spices of roasted cumin, coriander, and chilies. But for me, my love for Indian food developed because I am a vegetarian. Indians have been vegetarians for centuries and to this day, most Indians are vegetarian in some fashion. Another benefit is that Indian food is good for you! Studies have shown that the spices in Indian food, such as turmeric, prevent cancer.

Although Indian food is healthy for you, it is also delicious! Cooking Indian food is not as daunting as it looks, and with a little practice, can be really easy. Over the next few months, I hope to share with you recipes and tricks to hone your Indian cooking skills. The post today will be more of an introduction.

The first hurdle to cooking Indian food is that you must have the necessary ingredients, including spices. Most Indian spices are now readily available in most major supermarkets. Many of you may be wondering if you can pick up some "curry powder" and use that in your Indian cooking. Curry powder is actually a Western invention. Curry powder is simply a melange of spices ready-made. The reason Indians never use a curry powder is because each Indian mother has her own special mix (or masala) she uses in the kitchen. Some families like more chilies, some more cloves, some more cumin, and so one. That being said, if you already own a bottle of curry powder, keep it on hand! We can still put it to good use.

Here is a picture of my Indian spice kit:

Must haves for Indian spices includes:

Chile Powder
Mustard Seeds
Cumin Seeds
Garam Masala

Other essentials for Indian Cooking:

Tomatoes and/or tomato paste
Plain Yogurt

So go forth, and pick up these ingredients at the grocery store if you don't already have them. Part 2 of Rani in the kitchen will include a recipe for Aloo Gobi (potato cauliflower).


  1. How fun! I can't wait to read more on this!


  2. My in-laws are from Sri Lanka so I am learning to cook similar foods. I already learned that the basic curry powder is no good! And I've learned that cooking Sri Lankan food is all about tasting as you go to get the spices right. We are even teaching my in-laws to make the Sri Lankan food healthier by using less oil and baking instead of frying some of the delicious breads and vegetables. YUM! Can't wait to see what you will share!

  3. This is so exciting! Ron and I LOVE eating and cooking Indian food. I know we both will be excited to learn how to make new dishes. Can't wait!!

  4. I think I might actually try making your dish!