Indian food is full of flavor and also can be very nutritious. Here are some top tips for cooking Indian food at home and impressing your family and friends when doing so.
1. Bake rather than fry
Try baking your samosas for a healthier and equally authentic serving. I have also had great success by baking my pakoras into muffins. Check out this excellent recipe from my book, Spice of Life.
2. Ditch the naans for chapatis
Lighter and lower in calories than naans, chapatis are a favorite street food and a great way to accompany any saucy meal. They are called “rotis” back at home and are often found in special restaurants working with large quantities of ghee.
3. Make a Filling meal with lentils and pulses to sate the appetite
Lentils are terrific ways to make a meal more substantial and add a wide assortment of protein, vitamins, and minerals.
Chicken dhansak, a popular Parsi dish, is deliciously set in a lentil sauce and worth learning. Add some aubergines for an authentic touch and an addition to your 5-a-day.
There are many great vegan and veggie Indian meals and some businesses are renowned for them – see here for example.
4. Blanch vegetables before cooking to improve textures and absorb flavors
Blanched veggies taste better, have their natural textures and don’t lose their nutrient profile quickly.
At the famous Anjula Devi cooking school, veggies are served ‘al dente’. It is simply unforgivable to cook veggies to an unrecognizable mush –– and a crime to anyone serve that ‘slop’.
5. Say no to salt in rice
When you are making a bowl of fine rice add some green and black cardamoms, cassia bark, cumin and lemon juice to your water –– the salt will not even be missed.
6. Pack out the paratha
One of India’s most popular breakfast treats tastes as good as its name sounds, aloo paratha.
This is an unleavened dough that is combined delicious spices, stuffed with mashed potatoes and toasted on a hot tawa, an Indian frying pan with butter or ghee.
You can make this dish a bit healthier by using a combination of half cauliflower and half sweet potatoes to make a healthier alternative to this tasty dish. Fill your paratha with veggies and toast with rapeseed oil (canola oil) rather to make it even healthier.
7. Cook tandoori-style to reduce fat
Many people assume that tandoori cooking is one specific recipe, but actually, the tandoor is a type of pot that achieves especially high heats and allows for a very natural and healthy way of cooking.
Consider this Terracotta Tandoori Pot available from Amazon which is suitable for a variety of delicious dishes and fits in most conventional ovens.
The special thing about tandoori cooking is that its high heats render the fats to the bottom of the pots. This allows for food to be cooked in very little time.