Tue 10 Nov 2009, 16:43 PM | Posted by admin|
Tags: Articles, Foods & Beverages, Health & Fitness, Religion
A look at the Lawful (Halaal) and the Prohibited (Haraam)in Islam and the reasons behind the rulings.
The lawful (halaal) and prohibited (haraam) in Islam
Although there are many important aspects in daily living which are Lawful or Prohibited in Islam, for the purpose of this article, only the most common ones will be discussed together with the reasoning behind why it is either forbidden or allowed.
One of the first things every Muslim child learns is what food and drinks are allowed (Halaal) and prohibited (Haraam) in Islam.
With the exception of pork and animals or birds which tear their prey apart (namely: lions, falcons, eagles, hawk, leopard, wolf etc.), all other meat is lawful (halaal), in Islam; provided that these meats, meet certain criteria.
An important ruling to bear in mind is the fact that the meat of sheep, cows, chicken, buffalos etc will only be permissible if the animal has been slaughtered in the correct Islamic manner, which entails that the animal should not be allowed to suffer, it should be killed in the quickest and least painful manner, by ensuring that the blade of the knife being used for slaughter is sharp and that the slaughtering procedure is done quickly. The name of Allah (God) should be uttered during the slaughtering process. If the above criteria are not met the animal becomes prohibited for Muslim consumption. The reason for this being that the animal was made to suffer unnecessarily.
The flesh of the swine (pork, bacon, ham and all its related products including pigskin) is forbidden to all Muslims regardless of the manner in which it is slaughtered. The reason for this is that Islamically the Pig is considered an unclean animal that carries disease. Recent research has proved this point, since studies has shown that Pork carries a deadly parasite called Trichina, and for this reason Allah in his wisdom has prohibited the consumption of this meat.
Any animal, which is dead before the slaughtering process, too, is considered unlawful. The reason for this being that the animal may have died due to some disease or due to having eaten some poisonous plant etc, and once again this meat could be harmful to the person eating it. Another reason for its prohibition is so that other animals in the food chain will have food and thirdly, so that the farmer or owner of the animal will take good care of it so that they can sell them and earn a living. In this way the animal is protected from being neglected or left to contract illnesses and die.
The flesh of a dead animal is also prohibited in Islam. If the animal is still alive after having been injured and is then slaughtered the animal will then be lawful for Muslim consumption.
There are four types of ways in which an animal dies that makes it unlawful in Islam.
1. An animal that dies due to strangulation
2. An animal that is gored to death by the
horns of another animal
3. An animal that dies due to a fall from a
high place and
4. The animal that had been partly eaten by
The reason for each of the above is to teach an owner of these animals to look after the animals, because if anything happens to these animals and they die, the owner because of his negligence will lose his customers, since this flesh is now prohibited for Muslim consumption. In this way Allah ensures the safety and good care of the animals.
Islamically all Marine life (animals that live in water and that cannot survive outside of it: fish, whales etc.) is Lawful. Whether the animal was found alive or dead and regardless of whether the animal was whole or in pieces.
The only time any of the above-mentioned prohibited meats become permissible, is if the person is starving and in danger of losing or putting his life at risk.
Any Alcohol, which causes intoxication, is forbidden in Islam. The reason for this being that intoxication has harmful effects on the individuals mind, his health, his work, every aspect of his life, in a nutshell anything that befogs the mind regardless of the quantity whether it be one teaspoon or a litre is forbidden in Islam.
Drugs such as opium, heroin, cocaine etc. like alcohol impairs the reasoning and effects sensory perception, and are therefore also prohibited.
Tattoos are also forbidden as it permanently disfigures the body while causing immense and unnecessary pain during the tattooing process. Temporary designs on the hand and feet done with henna are allowed for ladies in Islam, since they are harmless, do not cause pain and are not disfiguring or permanent.
Interest: Collecting interest on monies that are in the bank or lent to someone is prohibited. Accepting interest makes people lazy to work hard. Usually wealthy people have the money to lend to poorer people; interest is prohibited in order to safeguard the poor from being exploited by the rich.
Divorce is the one aspect in Islam, which is allowed, which the Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) disliked immensely and advised only in extreme cases. Hitting a woman on her face or in such a way that she is injured or made to suffer pain is prohibited in Islam, as it is an insult to a woman’s dignity.
Anal Sex and Sexual Intercourse during menstruation is prohibited in Islam, as both, if practiced can be harmful to the health.
Gambling in any form is prohibited in Islam, whether it takes place in a Casino, or it is in the form of a lottery or for a charitable organization, any game of chance is considered gambling. The reason for this being that the person who gambles, depends on his winnings to support him and in the process gives up honest, hard work. Gambling because of its addiction is also a danger to the individual, because it dulls his sense of value; and in turn he becomes a danger to society.
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Written by Fatima Rasool -
Fri 24 Apr 2009, 16:57 PM | Posted by admin
Tags: Foods & Beverages, Health & Fitness, Women
My husband was working in a hospital as an IT engineer, as the hospital is planning to set up a database of its patients and he knows some of á á the doctors quite well. The doctors used to tell him that whenever they have a headache, they are not willing to take PANADOL / PARACETAMOL.
In fact, they will turn Herbal Medicine or find other alternatives. This is because Panadol is toxic to the body, and it harms the liver. According to the doctor, Panadol will remain in the body for at least 5 years. And according to the doctor, there was an air-hostess who consumed lots of Panadol as she needed to stand all the time and work under lots of pressure. She's now in her early 30's, and she is undergoing kidney cleaning (DIALYSIS) every month.
Whenever we have a headache, that's because it is due to the electron / Ion imbalance in the brain. Some alternative solution to cope with this matter is Drink lots of water. Another method will be to submerge your feet in a basin of warm water so that it brings the blood pressure down from your throbbing head. If you have a very high intake of Panadol áthroughout your life
(Migraine, Menstrual cramps ) it is very likely that ánormal general á á á á anesthetics will have no effects on you áas your body is pumped / full with á Panadol and your body is so used áto pain killer áthat you would need a á á much stronger pain killer, Morphine????
The thought is scary enough to turn me to Herbal Medicine or other á á á á healthier alternative. áValue your health, value your life, THINK TWICE before you easily pop that familiar pill into your mouth again. Please don't take PANADOL always and try to inform this to people you care about.
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Fri 20 Mar 2009, 20:18 PM | Posted by admin
Tags: Foods & Beverages, News
Popular chain Jumbo King to expand to other cities; will have centralised kitchens just like MNC chainsMumbai: The city’s famous vada-pav will now be available in other cities of the country with Jumbo King, the Mumbai-based chain, set to expand its network.
And the new branches will not only have the same ingredients and menus but will also be similar in terms of the vada size, taste, price and right down to the temperature and method of cooking. This uniform offering will take place in Jumbo King’s new franchisees in cities like Nagpur, Nashik, Pune, Ahmedabad, Baroda, Surat and Navsari.
“We already have a centralised kitchen in the city and we will open such kitchens in other cities as well. We have such a kitchen in Malad where – through automated processing machines – about 20 ingredients are mixed and supplied to our 25 outlets throughout the day. At every outlet, the vadas are 2.5 inches in size and fried with maida at exactly 150 degree centigrade. At this temperature, the vadas are neither over- nor under-cooked,” Dheeraj Gupta, Managing Director of Jumbo King Foods Private Limited, told Mumbai Mirror.
Set practices to be followed everywhere
Gupta added that the same procedure will be maintained at all the other proposed outlets in the future. “Along with the system, we will also have audit checks for making sure that these set practices are followed at all outlets,” he said.
Training for the kitchen staff is another crucial aspect. “The raw material is preserved at a minus 5 degree centigrade. This is because the ideal temperature for developing bacteria in food is from 5 degree onwards to 45 degree centigrade. And we make sure that once the food is delivered for sale, it should be consumed within four hours,” Gupta said.He revealed that the idea of floating this retail chain originated from McDonald’s burgers. “As vada-pav is considered a desi burger, we wanted to offer the same as a low-cost food for the masses.”
‘Vada-pav day’, novel recipes...
Thu 19 Mar 2009, 20:19 PM | Posted by admin
Jumbo King was started five years back on August 23 and the company even observes the same as ‘Vada-pav Day’. It has a turnover of about Rs 15 crore and about 40,000 people eat vada-pav at its outlets across the city everyday. The firm expects no less than 9 lakh people for a bite during its ongoing vada-pav festival which will be held till August 23. “In a week or so, we may introduce such novelties as a chana-vada-pav, chole or even veg-manchurian vada-pav,” Gupta said.
Tags: Foods & Beverages, Women
Sprinkle fruit-flavoured gelatin powder over vanilla pudding to give it a pretty look and added flavour!
Thu 19 Mar 2009, 20:19 PM | Posted by admin
Freeze leftover coffee and tea in ice cube trays. Use cubes to cool down complimentary iced beverages without diluting them.
Make a plain coffee cake special by topping with your favourite preserves and grill until the topping bubbles.
Stir 1 or 2 teaspoons of mint jelly into iced tea for a refreshing twist.
Make ice cubes festive for a party by freezing sprigs of mint, maraschino cherries, lemon or orange peel in them.
Freeze some of the party punch in a ring mold, then float it in the punch bowl. This way the ice won't water down the punch.
For a taste treat and extra light pancakes, try substituting apple cider for the milk called for in the recipe for pancakes.
For a delightful change, serve your hot or iced drinks with citrus sugar. Bury strips of lemon and/or orange zest in granulated sugar to for a week or so to give the sugar a delicate citrus taste.
Add a little soda water to your favourite fruit juice to add a bubbly sparkle and to make the fruit juice calories go further!
Make plain brownies special by melting a few of your favourite candy bars, along with a splash of milk, in the microwave. Use the melted chocolate mixture to top the brownies.
Mash about 6 garlic cloves into a 1/2 cup butter, add chopped chives or parsley. Form into logs, wrap in plastic, and freeze. Slice as needed to melt onto meats, vegetables or use as a spread.
Flavoured oils give extraordinary lift to many dishes. Drizzle basil-flavoured oil over sliced tomatoes and mozzarella. Use roasted garlic-flavoured oil to perk up ordinary fried potatoes.
Add a finishing touch to desserts by garnishing with an ingredient used in the recipe, such as lemon slices on a lemon pie, peanuts on a peanut butter pie or chocolate curls on a chocolate pie or cake.
Tags: Foods & Beverages, Women
So, what do you do when you get home from the supermarket?
Sat 14 Mar 2009, 16:14 PM | Posted by admin
Do you stuff everything into the fridge or do you think ahead and freeze the foods you won't be able to eat by the best before date? Or perhaps, you just leave the shopping bags on top of your worktops for few hours before you start thinking what to freeze and what to eat fresh?
When you bring fresh, cooked or frozen meat home from the supermarket it is important to follow the storage instructions on the label. Storing meat at the correct temperature and using it by the specified date prevents spoilage and the chance of food poisoning.
All raw and cooked meat is highly perishable, so it should refrigerated at a temperature between 0ºC (32ºF) and 4ºC (39ºF), or kept in the freezer at -18ºC (0ºF) or colder. If meat is left at 7ºC (44.4ºF), for example, the bacteria causing food poisoning multiply rapidly.
Bacteria begin multiplying when meat is left out of the fridge for two hours or longer, which is why it is a good idea to take your shopping straight home and into the fridge or if you plan on stopping somewhere enroute from the supermarket, you could use a cool bag.
All pre-packaged meat, including poultry, should be left in its wrapping until you are ready to cook. Loose pieces of meat should be covered loosely to allow air to circulate and keep the surface dry, inhibiting bacterial growth. Any meat that will not be used within a few days should be frozen as soon as possible.
Tags: Foods & Beverages, Religion
If there’s one thing I loved about celebrating Eid in Michigan with my uncles (and recently my in-laws), it was the open houses on Eid. The Canton community is much smaller and thus closely knit than our Chicagoland masajid, so the people “house hop” around after Eid salah until they eventually settle back at their own homes. While this was great for fostering a community, it also gave house hoppers the chance to sample a huge variety of “finger foods” throughout the day. A piece of lasagna and a puff pastry samosa/patty at one aunty’s house, a bit or biryani at another, a slice of cake at a friend’s etc.
In Chicagoland, at least where I grew up in IFS area, that doesn’t happen as systematically as in Canton. So with my wife being from Canton and this being her first Eid in Chicago, she decided to have open house at our place. It was nice to have friends come over, and in open house tradition, we had ourselves a wide variety of food.
First, we highlight the biryani that my mom made. In Canton tradition, it was there. Alongside it was baingan ka salan and dahi ka chutney/raitha. When asked if this biryani compared to the famous Canton biryani, a certain Canton uncle who ate it at my house once before who will remain unnamed said, “are you kidding me? This stuff is better.”
Next up was non-Desi side of things. This was all from my wife. Any surprise that the saas made the Desi stuff and the American bahu made the non-Desi items? Hey man, I ain’t complainin’!
Here we have chili. The fun here was that we picked up a slow cooker from Linens & Things using some of the gift card credit we got from our wedding, keeping this stuff nice and warm. Also while she was making it, she asked if it needed more diced tomatoes to which I said yes. I like lots of meat and beans in it and all, but there has to be “an adequate amount” of tomatoey sauce in it, too. “I don’t like saying extra because they tend to charge you for that.”
Next up, pasta salad. This was made from elbow mac, “grilled” chicken (seasoned with italian dressing, laal mirch, and black pepper), corn, black olives, and chopped carrots and mozzarella string cheese. All of which was rolling/smothered in more italian dressing and mayo. There was a lot left over, too much to attempt to finish for the next four days so my wife dropped it off at a nearby food kitchen in Lisle. To find your nearest food kitchen in IL, hit up http://www.dhs.state.il.us.
These I liked. Reminded me of Zingermann’s Deli in Ann Arbor, MI, rated one of the best Kosher delis in the nation. It was chicken salad made of fresh cole slaw veggies, mayo, and, well, chicken. This was smushed with mini slices of swiss cheese between pieces of Pepperidge Farm Jewish Rye Party Bread. Later I had some of this same salad on some sourdough bread and that hit the spot quite nicely. The cheese used was swiss, again, of course.
I think this is a Michigan/Canton thing. My mamu’s house in Northville, MI has “seven-layer dip” every Eid, and apparently so does my in-laws. It’s a good open house item. I prefer some salsa in mine, and naturally made sure my wife put it in.
And now for the desserts.
First up were some classic homemadefromscratch chocolate chip cookies. They feel different from bake and break, but in the end taste less fake, more real, and ultimately better. They finished by 8:20pm.
Next are brownies, but not any ordinary batch. These are either called “atomic brownies” or “chocolate mattress.” Why? Because they’re not made from brownie mix; instead, you use instant pudding and devil’s food cake mix. Don’t forget the chocolate chips! The result is something in between a brownie and a soft-butt-firm bed.
And finally, my wife’s tradition for Eid, turtle cheesecake. Sorry for the blurry pic. She used Hershey’s sundae syrups on top, the caramel and “double chocolate” kind. Pecans were a bit pricey at Jewel, something like $9 for just one bag. But it was worth it, this cheesecake is a win.
So our first open house went well. Why? Because we had a huge variety of food, more than was needed for the amount of guests, and there were lots of leftovers. Sounds like an open house party to me. Looking forward to next Eid inshaAllah.
Now with all this nicely captured and said, it brings two reflections.
Number one, obviously, is that we gotta be grateful for all this amazing food we have. Us “first world” Muslims really got it made. I mean, an entire variety of foods from different cultures served on different colorful platters inviting many guests with tons of left overs such that I can blog about them? We Western Muslims really need to be grateful for it, and we need to show this gratefulness by increasing in our Ê»Ibadah. Like the Prophet (ïº¹) prayed all night out of thankfulness for being guaranteed Paradise, we should do something extra, too. Like fast once a week or month, or give more charity. Otherwise all this luxury given to us can either be taken away, or even worse, do us in after we die.
Secondly, all this truly gives weight to the opinion that is in favor of or only allows zakÄt al-fiá¹r to be given in food. The whole point of this post was, “wow, I had a lot of yummy food on Eid.” While some scholars have made giving mÄl (money) permissible for zakÄt al-fiá¹r, tell me how much more amazing Eid is when you have all this lovely food to eat as a celebration. Needless to say, this was the authentic Sunnah of the Prophet (ïº¹), and practice of the Sahaba, those after them, and scholars after them (with some exceptions) for many generations. Not trying to jumpstart a fiqhi debate, but just a reflection that clearly, food is a staple to true celebration, and what celebration is truer than that of Eid? (on a side note: a teacher told us that he gives both food and money, just to be safe).
Anywho, what about you? What did you eat on Eid?
Sat 14 Mar 2009, 16:10 PM | Posted by admin
Tags: Foods & Beverages
When it comes to biryani, I’ve grown up with what is pretty much standard Bangalori style. The biryani meat is usually lamb, served with baigan ka salan (eggplant gravy) and standard dahi ka chutney (AKA raitha). This is has been the case for my house, as well as my five mamu’s houses in MI whenever I’d visit for shadis, dawaths, or Eids.
There were some key characteristics to this killer plate. Firstly, the base, Bangalori biryani. For those who don’t know, it really is something else. Obviously I’m biased glorifying it, but those who’ve had it can agree that there it is off the chain. Some people don’t like Hyderbadi style, while other complain about Pakistani versions of the Desi delight. I think the Bangalori style biryani, particularly how my mom and khandan-mates make it, is a straight up perfect balance between all kinds. Again, I’m probably biased, but those who’ve come over most probably also agree.
Next, I topped it with tamatr ki chutney. Tamatr ki chutney is beautiful. It gives biryani a wonderful kick that is far superior to baigan or michi ka salan. I particularly like the Hyderbadi style the best, and that’s I had employed on this plate here. What? A Banaglori praising food from Hydros? Firstly, I’m not at all sectarian when it comes to regional culinary differences. The more the merrier. You’re talking to Bangalori who married a Pakistani!
I remember falling in love with TKC at my friend Aamair’s house during a big YMMA meeting dawath that doubled as a play-N64-all-night sleepover in 1998. I also really liked my friend Abdul Mujeeb’s mom’s tamatr ki chutney and went ga-ga over it when she cooked biryani for a CODMSA Iftar in 1426. After that reawkening years later, it became a top tier biryani item on my list. Luckily for me, my wife makes pretty solid, too.
This past Ramadan, I hosted a big Iftar dawath at my place where a handful of moms cooked food for 65 some guests. I made sure to ask Abdul Mujeeb to get his mom to cook up a batch for the night. Not only did she make it amazing, she also made excess!My mom froze it for later use, and busted it out for Eid biryani yesterday.
That mixed with the next key item, dahi ka chutney, added to even more amazingness. Now standard chutney is usually runny, at least traditionally back home in Banaglore. When my mom came here, she started adding sour creme and more yogurt to her batches, to make it nice and thick. The consistency has evolved over the years, but I think my mom has got it down to a perfect balance.
When the tamatr ki chutney and dahi ka chutney combined together, I think I was on cloud 9. It’s just too good. You could fill up a shot glass with a mixture of the two and I could drink it cuz it’s that good. Okay, maybe not, but having those two mixed into biryani with garam naram lamb gosht, oof! It’s something that a mere blog post can never do justice to.
Lastly, there was the fact that it was day after biryani. There’s something about day after biryani that is unique. What is it? Does it taste better than fresh biryani? Not necessarily. It’s actually different, and it’s that very difference that deserves mention here. It’s almost as if when you eat it fresh and you have it again the following day, it’s like an entirely new dish, only not. Sound confusing? You’ll have to try it to know what’s up.
One interesting point to note, this phenomenon of day after biryani applies better to lamb biryani than chicken biryani. For some reason, chicken biryani tastes amazing only when it’s fresh. With regards to which is the “better” biryani, well, this is one point that drives home lamb biryani for me. I respect the chicken biryani fans out there, but for me, it’s gosht all the way. Especially with the two toppings enjoined into it.
Sound like something you’d want to try? Let me know, next time my mom makes biryani I’ll let you know. You can come over the next day and enjoy a plate of perfection yourself.
Tue 3 Mar 2009, 18:58 PM | Posted by admin
Tags: Foods & Beverages
Think of India and one of the first things that comes to mind is its diversity. A large country, its population is second only to China, its languages are numerous and every state (of which there are 28 and seven Union territories) is unique in its traditions and very importantly, its food. In fact, food from one region may actually be totally alien to a person from another region! The common thread that runs through most Indian food though, is the use of numerous spices to create flavor and aroma.
Tue 3 Mar 2009, 18:50 PM | Posted by admin
The culture of food
Indians take their food very seriously. Cooking is considered an art and mothers usually begin to teach their daughters and pass down family recipes by show-and-tell, fairly young in life. Mealtimes are important occasions for family to get together. Most meals comprise of several dishes ranging from staples like rice and breads to meat and vegetables and rounded off with a dessert. In a lot of Indian homes, foods are made from scratch with fresh ingredients. For example, some families buy their favorite type of wheat, wash it, dry it in the sun and then take it in to a flourmill to have it ground into flour exactly the way they like, as opposed to buying flour from a store! This is changing in bigger cities where people have increasingly hectic lives and are happy to use ready-to-eat, pre-made ingredients.
To eat (meat) or not to eat?
To the western mind, India is perceived as largely vegetarian. This is not necessarily true. To a larger extent, religious beliefs (as compared to personal preference) dictate what a person cannot eat. For example, Islam forbids its followers from eating pork while a lot of Hindus do not eat beef. Followers of the Jain faith abstain from all meats and even avoid onions and garlic!
The matter of influence
Throughout history India has been invaded and occupied by other cultures and each has left its own mark on Indian cuisine. Some of the predominant influences have been :
* Aryan - which focused on the mind-, body-enhancing properties of foods;
* Persian and Arab - which led to the Mughal style of cooking with rich, thick gravies and the use of dry fruits like cashews and almonds in dishes;
* British - which gave India its love of tea and put the European twist into some dishes. Anglo-Indian cuisine was the delicious result;
* Portuguese – which left its mark on parts of India in the form of dishes like the world-renowned Vindaloo and Xacuti.
As far as food is concerned, India can very roughly be divided into four regions. Each region has several states in it and each state its own unique food. Here’s a brief look at the cuisines of North, South, East and West India. One must of course, always remember that no such description can entirely cover the huge variety of Indian food. The true discovery of it, can take years of patient and very pleasurable gastronomic experimentation.
Tags: Foods & Beverages
Everytime I check it seems like Indian food is only growing in popularity! Those that have tried it are hooked by its exotic and intricate flavors and those that haven't are eager to sample them. The question uppermost in the minds of most first-timers is "What shall I order when I get to the restaurant?". This is only natural since names are unfamiliar and you can end up ordering too much or getting stuff that is simply more than you bargained for! People are also keen to know how they can tell a good restaurant from a bad one, how spicy should they order their food, what those seemingly elaborate names mean and what goes with what.
Tue 3 Mar 2009, 18:39 PM | Posted by admin
Let's begin with some tips on spotting a good Indian restaurant :
Is the price right?
Indian food cooked like it should be, is a labour of love. This is not to say that every dish is work-intensive, but there are few I have come across that can just "be thrown together". The saying, "you get what you pay for" is definitely true in relation to food and eating out (with any cuisine), so don't be put off by prices that are on the higher side. Most of the time they mean you can be sure you are getting fresher ingredients and your food is made with quality produce. It is traditionally done that way, so a good Indian restaurant will make its gravies, pastes and masalas from scratch and with fresh ingredients. This is simply because the end result (when prepared this way) tastes much better!
The delicate balance of spices
There is a common misconception that all Indian food is drowned in spices and every dish contains at least 8-10 of them. This is not true! Thousands of delicious Indian dishes are subtly flavored with just one or two key spices that are meant to enhance the main ingredient. Some fine (and very popular) examples are Baingan Ka Bharta, Baigun Bhaja, Lehsuni Daal, Upma....
Curry, curry and some more curry?
Another misconception about Indian food is that it all tastes the same and every dish is cooked with the magic "curry powder"! This couldn't be further from the truth! In North India chillies, saffron, milk, yoghurt, cottage cheese and ghee (clarified butter) are hot favorites while in the South, folks love pepper, tamarind and coconut and will often even cook in coconut oil. Those in the East love all things mustard and fish while the extremely cosmopolitan West Indians have so adopted western ingredients that their style can quite easily be called fusion.
The all-important "curry powder" is just one of a plethora of spices used artfully in Indian cooking! It is a mix of spices collectively known as Garam Masala and is added to dishes along with other spices to enhance their flavor and aroma. While the basic ingredients used are the same, each household has its own proportions so that the end result will often differ from home to home. This is the same with restaurants. A good one will make its own spice mixes so Butter Chicken at one restaurant may taste different from that at another but the quality will always be good and the flavors distinct.
What's in a name?
Be careful of so called "Indian restaurants" where most of the gravied dishes have seriously exotic names but taste the same! The gravies probably came out of a bottle or tin!
Getting a helping hand
If you're a real newbie (or even an experienced hand) you will truly appreciate the value of a restaurant with staff that is friendly and eager to explain what the names mean and suggest combinations to suit your palate. This will ensure you are not walking in the dark and that you get the meal you wanted. I have often been to places that expect you to know or have staff that haven't a clue about the food they are serving you!
Tags: Foods & Beverages
It is a common misconception that Indian food takes forever to cook. While Indian cooking does utilise mostly fresh ingredients and dishes are made from scratch (so you are avoiding overprocessed, preservative-loaded ingredients), how long it takes usually depends on what you are cooking. Just like any other cuisine, there are some dishes that are quick and easy to cook and others that are elaborate and need more time.
There are some ingredients though, that are common in most Indian dishes though and preparing them ahead of time can further cut down on cooking time.
Chopped fine, sliced thin or ground to a paste, onions form the base of gravies, a complement to veggies or an important ingredient in salads. Chop, slice and grind them and freeze in labelled ziploc bags. That way when a recipe calls for onions you have them quickly at hand.
Ginger and garlic pastes :
Ginger and garlic are also vital ingredients in Indian cooking. A recipe may require them chopped fine or ground to a paste. I always have a large glass bottle each of ginger and garlic pastes in my refrigerator. You can just as easily buy them from the grocery store (Asian or Indian groceries will definitely have them) but I like to make mine at home so I can be sure they're free from preservatives. Here's a handy tip for keeping ginger and garlic pastes fresh for longer. I also store peeled garlic in a date labelled box or Ziploc bag for when a recipe requires it to be chopped fine.
Tomato pureé :
Again this is an ingredient you can quite easily buy, but it always seem to taste better when you make it at home. Make tomato pureé ahead of time and pour into ice-cube trays (I always use a tablespoon to measure how much fits in a single cube so that its easier to measure out as the recipe requries later) and freeze. When frozen pop them out and store in date and measurement labelled freezer bags for when you need them.
Fresh herbs like coriander and mint :
Coriander and mint are used to make chutneys, added to gravies and as garnishes on dishes and salads. With Asian and Indian food being so popular these days, these herbs can even be found at your local grocery store. They're not always in season though. Here's a handy tip for having them around whenever you need them, no matter what the time of year. Here's to herbs on demand!
Browned onions :
A majority of the time when onions are used in Indian cooking, the recipe calls for them to be browned. Make up a batch ahead of time and store in your fridge. Make both chopped and sliced browned onions. Here's a quick tip for browning onions quickly.
Basic gravy :
Most gravied dishes have certain ingredients in common, so preparing and freezing one when you have some spare time is a great idea. Here's the recipe for a Basic Indian Gravy. When you're ready to cook use as is or add any extra ingredients as required.
Chapati / Paratha / Poori dough :
Breads like Chapati, Paratha and Poori are the perfect accompaniment to most Indian dishes. They're also great by themselves or with your favorite spread or filling. My favorite thing to do with them is to fill them (freshly made) with leftover cooked veggies or meats and make a roll!
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» Italian PM Berlusconi struck in face, bloodied
» Telangana: Govt gives in, KCR ends fast
» India rout Lanka, become World No 1 Test side
» At least 101 killed in Russian nightclub blast
» Has India changed after 26/11?
» Islam - the lawful (Halaal) and the prohibited (Haram)
» 4 MNS MLAs suspended for attacking Abu Azmi
» 40 hours on, Jaipur's oil depot still ablaze
» Fire at oil depot in Jaipur; 6 killed, 150 injured
» Andhra CM YSR Reddy, 4 others killed in crash
» ISRO launches virtual globe-mapping â€˜Bhuvanâ€™
» A chat with Dr.Devi Shetty
» Tribute to Michael Jackson - 'King of Pop'
» Homage to Kamala Suraya
» Hamas, The Best Chance for Peace in the Land of the Philistines
» PANADOL : Beware
» Is the Bull Market Real, or Will it Fizzle?
» IPL Plans Longer Strategy Breaks This Season
» Women Education in Modern India
» Higher Education in India
» New Income Tax Forms for 2009-10 AY Notified
» You Can Vote "None of the Above"
» Elections 2009: India Awakening
» All ready to vote for change - but for whom and what?
» Throwing a shoe â€“ and reminding us about crimes 25 years ago
» Shah Rukh and Aamir: Khan they?
» Who will be the next PM of India ?
» Humble and Contrite Thieves: Goldman Sachs wants to pay back 25% and walk away
» DIFFERENT KIND OF INVESTMENTS
» The Seven Mistakes All Novice Traders Make and How to Correct Them
» Israelâ€™s Death Culture, a Dragging Anchor
» Black Money in Swiss Bank
» Decay of Spiritual Values in India
» Youth of India's lack of interest in politics
» How to help children avoid becoming addicted to television
» Hobbies for Busy Women
» How to prepare for exams ?
» Exams for kids, fever for parents
» Mumbai celebrates Vada-Pav day today
» Microsoft to Launch Windows Mobile 7 Next Year
» Google uses 1000 machines
» Exercise At Work
» January 2010
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