That moment when you arrived home and you knew it from the fragrance that your mother had cooked your favourite food is a memory so dearly enjoyed when we grow up and cook on our own. We know that our carefree time of childhood might be seen only through the eyes of our growing kids. Parents strive hard to recreate their children, the moments that are imprinted in our memories. Cooking Indian recipes that are native to the culture and region is one among those efforts. Including at least one meal a day that our fore grandfathers ate sets so many things right, from cultural inheritance, eating habits, to staying healthy.
Indian kitchens emanate an amazing medley of fragrance, largely owing to the use of various spices and sweetening ingredients. Each recipe tells a story of the ingredients used in its creation. Along with the main vegetables, meat or other main ingredients used, the amount of spices and the method of cooking is what adds all the taste to the recipe.
Here are a few handy ingredients that you should stock in your kitchen to cook Indian recipes.
Mustard seeds and cumin seeds are trivial ingredients of almost any Indian meal. The tadka is considered a must for most of the side dish recipes. The basic ingredients in many recipes, especially biryani or side dishes like gravies also include spices like coriander seeds, caraway, cinnamon, nutmeg and dry red chillies. Along with these main spices, there are also turmeric, star anise, saffron or more that will be needed according to the recipe chosen.
Basic veggies to complete Indian cooking are onions, shallots, potatoes, garlic, ginger etc. While veggies like potatoes make the main ingredients, the others are flavouring ingredients to many dishes. You can create basic recipes with these veggies kept always stocked in your kitchen.
Besides cereals like rice- arhar, urad, chana, horse gram, moong and more pulses can be stocked in kitchens at all times and in quantities that will last for a couple of months. Remember to keep these pulses in airight containers to avoid any pests. You just need them to be stored in dry place and do not require any refrigeration.
Jaggery, honey and sugar can be stocked at all times. You will need them for usually West and South Indian gravies, and a lot of coastal recipes too. Any Indian festival is incomplete without sweets, mithai or kheer and likely. Besides these sweeteners, nolen gur, palm jaggery are also used.
Indian meal in incomplete without flatbreads like naan, kulcha, roti, paratha or puffed bread like Puri. Whole wheat flour, rice flour, corn flour, millet flours like Jowar, ragi, bajra, kuttu, rajgira, et al are needed to make the flatbreads. You can make flatbreads with one of these flours and combining more than one flour, making multigrain flatbreads.
Curry leaves and coriander leaves or cilantro are widely used while preparing an Indian meal. Holy basil, basil, a whole lot of green veggies like Amaranth, Spinach, Fenugreek et al are used. While these make the main ingredients in few recipes, herbs like curry leaves and coriander though used in small quantities are quintessential to impart flavour or garnishing to the recipes.