Contrary to many beliefs, Indian food is not all about spicy foods, curries, and lots of oil. Indian cuisine is full of delicious, full flavored dishes with aromatic scents that waft through the air and surround the senses. A wide variety of vegetables, herbs, and spices are used in Indian cooking making it a much healthier food choice than most people give it credit for.
Religious and cultural choices also have a big influence on Indian cuisine. This is why Indian restaurants are also usually a safe bet for vegans and vegetarians. They offer many plant based dishes and alternatives involving no meat. Some popular Indian dishes are, Biryani, Tandoori chicken, Dosa, beef Vindaloo, Chana Masala, and Samosas.
These are some herbs and spices you may not yet be familiar with, but you’ll definitely encounter while making and eating Indian cuisine.
Turmeric – This plant is one of the main spices used in curry and turmeric root has also been used widely around the world for medicinal purposes. The spice comes in powder form and has a warm, bitter taste. Be aware that when you touch this spice it will leave a residual yellow color on your fingers.
Coriander – Many people know the term used for coriander plant leaves, cilantro, but not as many know about using coriander seeds. The taste is also very different form cilantro. Coriander seeds have an earthy, lemony taste and they can be used whole or ground up. They are often a part of Indian spice mixtures.
Fenugreek – These seeds add a strong curry scent and tangy flavor to Indian dishes. They are roasted before use and the more roasted they are the more bitter they are. Fenugreeks are full of protein, vitamins, and minerals.
Garam Masala – Garam Masala is a spice blend literally meaning “hot” (Garam) “spice” (Masala). The blend adds a subtle flavor to Indian dishes. It often includes cinnamon, turmeric, cloves, pepper, and cumin seeds.
Not in the mood to cook? Try out one of these great Indian restaurants on the Island.
- The Curry Club - 766 Route 25A, East Setauket, NY 11733
- House of Dosas - 416 S Broadway, Hicksville, NY 11801
- Curry Kebob House - 585 Medford Avenue, Patchogue, NY 11772
- Raga - 130 Old Town Road, East Setauket, NY 11733
What are some of your favorite Indian dishes? Do you have a favorite Indian restaurant on the Island? Let us know in the comments!