Indian Food It Is Not All Curry

by pateluday

Though curry is common in India the real spicey stuff is prepared occasionally. A daily staple diet of vegetables, lentil soup, and some meat dishes cannot be defined as curry...

Curry requires extensive preparation with a number of spices added to it. The base is always onion paste with the addition of garlic ginger paste, tomato, or curd with a generous sprinkling of masalas and herbs.

Most of the dishes that Indians consume on daily basis cannot be called curry especially the vegetables cooked dry or roasted and types of lentil soup. These are easy to prepare and take little for lunch or dinner to ready. Curry always has a liquid base and is cooked the recipe is complex and followed algorithmically. This delicious dish is prepared in steps each consuming a certain time.

Indian Spices

Indian Whole Spices
Indian Whole Spices

How to Make a Curry?


As mentioned earlier the onion paste is gently cooked in oil over a slow fire to blunt the raw taste. This is followed by the addition of a large spoonful of garlic ginger paste and cooked for some time using oil on a curved utensil like a wok called Kadai in India. Masalas can be added at any stage, if you add them in oil as the first step that is better since they lose the raw flavor. Some cooks roast the masalas to be added, so cooking time is reduced.  Tomato slices or puree is the next step or some people use curd.

From here on variations enter the dish. What else is to be added depends upon the dish. Some people in Western India, add crushed or ground coconut often after lightly roasting. Depending upon the dominant flavor people may add dried fenugreek or spinach paste or mint or a large quantity of coriander. This is what makes curries different from each other and delivers a mind-boggling taste and aroma.      

In order to make korma chefs add almond, cashew nut, or groundnut paste. This makes the gravy sweet and thicker but the gastronomic experience is fantastic. I repeat the variations that peak in are mind-boggling and much depends upon the ingenuity of the cook. 

The amount of water to be added depends on how thick or watery gravy you want. The foodies who like to add curry to the rice prefer water curries while meat eaters mostly prefer thick curry that goes down well with meat dishes. Remember no curry or lentil soup is added to biryani as it is eaten alone or with the addition of curd.    

An amazing variety of curries are prepared with the recipes of some closely guarded. Though standard curry recipe is commonplace in households and restaurants much depend upon the ingenuity of the chef as regards variation. Thus, an expert cook will use the same vegetable or meat but the dish would come out as unique with an exotic taste.     

Mutton Kholapuri

Mutton Kholapuri
Mutton Kholapuri

Indian Food Habits

There are some foods that are commonplace and popular all over India. Some fine examples are 

  • Idli
  • Dosa
  • Pav Bhaji
  • Rajma Chaval
  • Uttapam
  • Aloo Paratha
  • Biryani 
  • Pulao

The above popular dishes are often consumed as snacks and sometimes as a full meal. These popular recipes are available in eateries and prepared in households pan India. 

But the daily diet in India is simple

  • Lentil Soup or Daal
  • Vegetables cooked without the addition of water
  • Rice 
  • Chapati  
  • Meat 
  • Chicken
  • Fish 

In Eastern and Southern India, people are predominately rice eaters and shun chapattis or roti. While in North and Central India people prefer wheat and consume them as roti, chapatis, nan, puri, etc. 

The spices added are available in the market in powdered forms or some people prefer to buy them wholesale and have them ground. Nowadays instant premix masalas or instant spices are available for each recipe which saves time.  

Rajma Masala

Rajma Masala
Rajma Masala

Premix Whole Spice Masalas

Another option available in recent times is the emergence of instant premix masalas comprising of whole spice recipe mix. These are opened, roasted, and then grounded into a fine powder and added to the dish as desired. Companies like Living Beyond based in Mumbai sell premix whole spice recipes in modern packaging. 

These whole spice instant premix recipes are slowly capturing the market. They contain whole spices masalas in perfect ration prepared by expert chefs. The advantage is consumers can check the freshness and authenticity of the whole spice present in the premix. Living Beyond is choosy and buys whole spices from regions they grow best. 

The demand for whole spices and whole spice premixed recipes is growing in India as awareness creeps in. They have tremendous export potential as anyone can now cook an Indian Dish.  

Updated: 02/08/2023, pateluday
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pateluday on 02/10/2023

They are stored and hence cannot be termed as absolutely fresh but nevertheless, the spices stay fresh for a long time and do not lose their flavors. Yes, manufacturing dates and expiration dates are mentioned in the packing.

DerdriuMarriner on 02/09/2023

The second paragraph to your subheading Premix Whole Spice Masalas comments that "These whole spice instant premix recipes are slowly capturing the market. They contain whole spices masalas in perfect ration prepared by expert chefs. The advantage is consumers can check the freshness and authenticity of the whole spice present in the premix."

The United States has -- on bags, bottles, boxes, cans, everything that is drinkable or edible -- expiration dates that indicate the last dates for which such products safely may be considered fresh.

Would these premix boxes have such expiration and (limit of) freshness dates? Would their fresh lifespans be comparable or competitive with fresh ingredients?

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