Essentials of an Indian kitchen

This is for my Indian-by-choice British friend, James Hasson

Remember the first time you entered a traditional Indian kitchen. If you are Indian, this memory would have lapsed to such remote corners to your mind, that it is seldom retrievable. Of course, this isn’t your fault…you have been around it all your life, so it doesn’t amaze you anymore. But, if you are not Indian, you can’t help but remember those infinite number of species, colours and smells that must have left you bewildered on that first day! And yes, we use most of them almost everyday.

Now, since we, as in we Indians, got you addicted to our food, its fair that we also get you introduced to the real Indian food, made with real ingredients. So lets get started, putting together the ingredients and spices that make the Indian kitchen a sensory delight.

Hidden in one of the many shelves and cupboards, or perhaps just in plain sight on the platform will be the good old masala box, hiding every spice you would need in everyday cooking. And nestled in the tiny globules of the masala box would be these treasures – black mustard seeds, cumin seeds, cumin powder, coriander powder, aestofida, turmeric powder, chilli powder and garam masala powder. All else is accessorial…really. In terms of spices, these ones listed here will get through to make most everyday dishes.

Indian masala box

Indian masala box

However, there are some other flavouring essentials adorn most Indian foods. If I had to make an essentials basket containing all such food, it would most definitely contain onions, garlic, ginger, green chillies, coriander, lemon, curry leaves, potatoes and green peas. Now, this basket might look slightly different depending on which Indian cuisine was being desired region, but believe me, you can crack the most tasty and quick recipes with just these.

So there you go…stock up a corner of your kitchen with these and you are all ready to start training as an Indian master chef. Remember, that most recipes will use these basics to flavour the main ingredient and also you may have to add some additional accessories as well as per the needs of the dish, but you can go a long way with just these.