Gifts for Indian Food Lovers

by sockii

Do you know someone who loves Indian food, and is interested in learning to prepare it at home? This gift guide will share a variety of ideas related to Indian cooking and cuisine.

The cuisine of India is a diverse collection of regional specialties featuring complex spices, local vegetables, fruits and herbs, and influenced by long-standing religious and cultural traditions. Outside of India we may be familiar with popular dishes like Vinadloo curries, Tandoori chicken and samosas, but these are only a small (and often non-authentic) sampling of the flavors and diversity of true Indian cuisine.

If you know someone who loves good Indian food and loves to cook at home, you can gift them with many items that will help them learn more about this wonderful cuisine and how to prepare it for herself. From traditional cookware and introductory cookbooks to spice selections and gift baskets, there are many possible gifts to choose from. You can explore just some of the possibilities here on this page with my Indian Food and Cooking Gift Guide.

A brief introduction to Indian cuisine

Things to know before you begin cooking for yourself - or buying gift items for another chef

"Indian cuisine" is truly a catch-all name for a wide variety of different regional styles of cooking and ingredients, given the vast size of the Indian sub-continent. Indeed, the country of India itself is the seventh largest in the world, so it stands to reason that there is much diversity in the food prepared throughout the nation.

In the broadest of terms, one can divide the country in culinary terms into Northern and Southern styles. Northern Indian food can be characterized by a variety of foreign influences due to centuries of invasions and contact with other cultures. For example, the Persians brought pilafs and rice dishes to India; the Portuguese introduced vinegar which became a critical ingredient in Vindaloo curries. The cuisine of Southern India shows much less foreign influence, but features a predominance of locally grown fruits and vegetables and vegetarian cooking. Dietary restrictions due to various religions play a part in the local cuisines of other regions of the country as well. 

Very little special cooking equipment is required for Indian cooking; most Western chefs will have what they need on-hand already, or at least suitable substitutes. You will certainly need a good heavy-bottomed skillet, and a mortar and pestle for grinding fresh spices. What can be a little more tricky is finding some specialty ingredients, not always available in Western supermarkets but readily available on-line or at Indian grocers. I'll talk about some of those ingredients later on this page.

Indian Food Basics

Videos on YouTube exploring Indian cuisine

Indian Cookbooks

Learn the basics and beyond in these highly-rated cookbooks

Of course, a home cook could use some cookbooks if he or she is going to begin preparing Indian food at home. If you're looking for some beginners' books to give as a gift, consider these titles.

5 Spices, 50 Dishes: Simple Indian Recipes Using Five Common Spices

The premise is simple: with five common spices and a few basic ingredients, home cooks can create fifty mouthwatering Indian dishes, as diverse as they are delicious. Cooking te...

$19.95  $4.98

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If Indian food seems intimidating and daunting because of the combinations of spices used, then this is a perfect book to dispel that worry and get cooking tonight! All 50 delicious and authentic dishes in this cookbook require only 5 basic spices: coriander, cumin, mustard, cayenne pepper, and turmeric. Yet the flavors shine through and these recipes are a great way to get started with Indian home cooking.

Madhur Jaffrey Indian Cooking

Chef magazine called this book's author "the best-known ambassador of Indian food in the United States" . . . and the Boston Herald referred to her as "the renowned author and a...

$35.00  $20.99

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This cookbook has long been heralded as "Madhur Jaffrey's seminal title on Indian cuisine". The author has penned many titles about Indian food, curries, and world cuisine yet this is one of the most popular and highly praised. With detailed introductions on ingredients, techniques and equipment, it's a thorough yet not intimidating introduction to the variety and taste of Indian cuisine.

500 Indian Recipes: Deliciously authentic step-by-step dishes from India and South-East Asia, eas...

This book brings to gether 500 authentic recipes for every part of the Indian meal, from spicy appetizers, deliciously rich and creamy curries and vegetarian dishes to all the c...

Only $29.99

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This is the Indian cookbook I have been "testing out" for the past few months and I can recommend it very strongly as a great book on Indian cooking - perhaps for a home cook with good basic skills but ready to learn a new cuisine. What's exciting about this book is every dish is photographed and in full-color - great for a chef who gets excited to cook based on visual appeal. Every recipe I've tried has been a tasty success and it presents a wide sampling of Indian classics from throughout the country.

Read my full review of 500 Indian Recipes at HubPages.

Vegetable Daal with Rice...a classic Indian Dish

Prepared following the directions in "500 Indian Recipes"
Vegetable Daal with Rice...a classic Indian Dish
Vegetable Daal with Rice...a classic Indian Dish
My Indian Kitchen: Preparing Delicious Indian Meals without Fear or Fuss

"A delectable straightforward guide to regional Indian cooking." —Padma Lakshmi, author actress, model and host of Top Chef USAIn My Indian Kitchen, author and chef Hari Nayak s...

$27.95  $14.54

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Chef and restauranteur Hari Nayak wants to take the "fear and fuss" out of Indian cooking with this beautiful book. He focuses on the Southern Indian cuisine of his home but also includes recipes from other regions of India he has learned through the years. Enjoy classics like Chicken Tikka Masala and Pork Vindaloo in your home kitchen - never settle for greasy take-out again!

Vegan Indian Cooking: 140 Simple and Healthy Vegan Recipes

This beautiful follow-up to Anupy Singla's widely praised first cookbook, the Indian Slow Cooker, is a unique guide to preparing favorite recipes from the Indian tradition using...

$21.95  $8.49

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This cookbook is an ideal starter for the vegan chef who wants to learn to make Indian food at home! It includes 50 recipes adapted to replace butter, cream and meat with vegan ingredients instead for a healthier, meat-free alternative.

Masala Dabba: Traditional Indian Spice Boxes

A beautiful and useful way to store daily-use spices

A masala dabba can usually be found in any Indian kitchen. It is a spice box with two lids and inner tins for the most commonly used spices, so they can be kept organized and neat, all in one place. A masala dabba is a great gift idea for an Indian food lover or new chef, who might be confused about which spices she'll need to start preparing Indian meals - or doesn't want to lose track of where they are!

Tabakh Stainless Steel Masala Dabba/Spice Container Box with 7 Spoons - Clear Lid

Made by the finest stainless steel material which ensures strength, quality and durability. Its design and finishing will make a wonderful experience in regular use.

$24.99  $19.99

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Spice Container - Masala Dabba - 7 Compartments, Airtight by Indian-Tiffin

Diameter 16cm Height 6cm Includes: 7 spice compatments All in stainless steel. NOTE: Spice container does NOT come with spices!

Only $19.99

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Spice Tiffin Masala Dabba with Spice Levelers in Each Bowl

The Spice Tiffin is different from any other spice storage device. Anupy Singla's patent-pending design puts a half-moon 'catch' into every small bowl - enabling you to level yo...

Only $40.00

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Saachi Stainless Steel Spice Box Indian Masala Dabba with 7 Spice Containers, Spoon and Double Li...

This Stainless Steel Masala Dabba (Spice Storage Box) is a traditional container that can be found in most Indian homes to store and provide easy access to most commonly used sp...

Only $23.62

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About the Masala Dabba

Specialty Indian Cookware

Another great gift idea

While there are suitable substitutes for these, you may consider these excellent gift items for the chef who wants to follow tradition.

Futura Hard Anodised Deep-Fry Pan(Kadhai) 3-3/4 Litre with Steel Lid and Flat Bottom

This is a hard anodised deep frying pan with elegant, comfortable rosewood handles fixed on sturdy stainless steel brackets with are permanently rivetted to the pan.

$70.99  $42.00

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This sturdy-made deep fry pan, or karahi, is used in Balti dishes and is great for making lentil dishes, stir-fries, and many vegetable preparations.

Hawkins/Futura Q41 Nonstick Flat Dosa Tava/Griddle, 13-Inch

Hawkins/Futura 13 Inch Nonstick Flat Dosa Tava/Griddle can cook all the foods that can be cooked in Hard Anodized Tava (Griddles) with less or no oil or butter particularly pref...

$46.99  $30.59

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This griddle pan, known as a tava or tawa, is used for roasting spices, cooking chapatis and dosas, and preparing other flat breads.

Making Dosa on a Tava Griddle

Roti Jari, Roti Grill, Papd Grill, Chapati Grill

Great and Easy to use product. Made of stainless steel. Strong Sturdy handle that will not rise. The Steel is made well to put on top of pans to cook. Great for making Roti, cha...

Only $4.07

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This grill is perfect to use for making roti and chapatti.

Traditional Indian Dinnerware

Beautiful bowls and dishes for serving Indian food

Traditionally-designed serving bowls and platters are a great gift idea for someone who is learning to cook Indian food at home. (They even make it possible to dress up take-out or delivery food from your favorite Indian restaurant!)

Serving Bowl Karahi Indian Dishes Serveware Set of 2

This karahi is a traditional tableware to serve Indian dishes, both dry kind like the biryanis fried vegetables or meat, as well as curry items like chicken curry or daal. Be aw...

$68.89  $22.20

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These beautiful bowls are made of stainless steel on the inside and copper on the outside. These two layers of metal help keep food such as curries and biryanis warm during service - and they look absolutely beautiful! Set of 2, each with 550 ml capacity and meant to serve 4 people. You can learn more about karahi cooking pots and dinnerware at Wikipedia.

Indian Pickle Condiment Chip N Dip Relish Serving Set

This is a uniquely Indian serving tray platter for condiments, pickle, or other chip and dip relish items. There are three serving bowls, each with capacity of 175 ML joint toge...

$57.87  $20.40

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This lovely piece of dinner service-ware is hand-made India, and designed for serving pickles and other condiments on the table.

Indian Utensils Serving Bowls Tableware Dinnerware Set of 4

This is a set of 4 serving bowls with two layers of metal. Outside layer is in copper while the inside layer is stainless steel. The copper on the outside gives the serving bowl...

$79.21  $27.92

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These handmade copper/stainless steel bowls are designed for serving small dishes such as curry and daal alongside a main platter or meal. A set of four makes for a perfect gift.

Indian Serveware Donga Copper Serving Bowl Tureen With Spoon

This is a serving bowl for traditional style Indian fine dining. Also called donga in India, this serving bowl tureen is made of two layers of metal. The inner layer is stainles...

$99.60  $20.60

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This one liter-capacity serving tureen comes with a matching spoon and is perfect for serving rice, vegetables and curries.

Indian Table Etiquette and How to Set a Table

An informative video for more information

Indian cooking gift baskets

Great selections for "all in one" gifts

Looking for a simple solution to gift giving for the Indian food lover and home chef? These lovely gift baskets contain assortments of spices, curries, chutneys and other ingredients to sample and enjoy.

Ajika Traditional Indian Spice Box with Spices - Unique Food Gift Basket

The Traditional Spice Box or a masala dabba as it is known in India is a must in every Indian kitchen. It is a small, round stainless steel box. Inside sit lidless, stainless st...

Only $140.00

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A lovely Indian cooking gift assortment including a masala dabba, spices, ghee and more, all packaged in an authentic batwa bag from India which can be enjoyed for years to come.

Indian Barbecue or Tandoori Collection - Unique Food Gift Basket

Indian barbecue or Tandoori or Tikka cooking is now world famous. Americans have a love affair with their barbecue. Our Barbecue Collection adds much thrill to the grill. We hav...

Only $65.00

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Time to barbeque - Indian-style! This gift assortment includes spices and marinades for Tandoori and Tikka Masala, mango chutney, recipes and is also packaged in a reusable batwa bag.

Indian Chutney Collection - Unique Food Gift Basket in a Traditional Bag

This is our most popular gift - An Indian Chutney Collection. ; An important part of an Indian meal is its Chutneys and pickles.; An Indian table proudly presents a variety of t...

Only $75.00

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This is a great gift basket for anyone who enjoys different chutneys and relishes. They are a perfect accompaniment to a home-cooked meal. This set includes sweet mango chutney, savory mango pickle, mint chutney, coriander/cilantro chutney, coconut chutney and tamarind chutney. Delicious!

6 Spice Start Set

You LOVE Indian Food and want to make it at home....but it seems intimidating. Now Anupy Singla, author of the best selling Indian cookbooks, The Indian Slow Cooker and Vegan In...

Only $39.95

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A collection of the basic, essential spices of Indian cuisine: Red Chile Powder, Garam Masala, Mustard Seeds, Turmeric, Cumin Seeds, and Coriander Powder.

Check out South Jersey Foodie for more about home cooking, recipes and food all around the world

My personal food blog...check out the latest entries below:
Probably no one was more surprised than I could be when my mother recently called to extol the praises of a new Chinese restaurant in Middletown, New York. The area is...
Make an elegant version of stuffed peppers with this delicious recipe featuring roasted tomatoes and eggplant. It’s vegetarian, too! Stuffed Peppers are a tradit...
Two summers ago, the sweetie and I checked out the Bay Shore Crab House (known at the time as the “Bull on the Barn” because of its easy-to-spot outdoor mu...
Over the Memorial Day holiday weekend, the sweetie and I took a day trip up to Montclair, New Jersey to visit the Presby Memorial Iris Gardens. The Gardens have been o...
Updated: 10/26/2015, sockii
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