C and I have been getting into the Indian cooking a lot lately. This new fad was spurred on by a few things, including the diet we were on to get back to good health, C’s obsession with Indian food, a course I sent C on for his birthday and the discovery of how easy it is to cook Indian food at home.
There are a few reasons why we are loving the Indian cooking.
Reason 1: Primarily Gluten Free
When we started to read into Indian cooking we realised that very few dishes require any form of gluten products. None of the authentic recipes suggest that you need flour as a sauce thickener, instead using onion and garlic as natural thickening agents that also make the sauces EXTRA tasty.
This discovery is perfect for me because when I started out on this gluten-free journey I was a little overwhelmed by the magnitude of the change and a little daunted by the seeming lack of options. How wrong was I?! It’s not just Indian cuisine that gives you lots of choice either which is also pleasing.
Definitely a gold star deserved! (If you can give a gold star to a cuisine??)
My disclaimer with this one is that we are not by any stretch of the imagination suggesting we’re experts, but the dishes we have made have been surprisingly easy. A friend shared one of her recipes with me a couple of years ago which I love. Plus for C’s birthday I sent him on two cooking courses with Recipease, another one of Jamie’s places, and C got a bit of a broader understanding of how to use Indian spices in the right way and some interesting tips on preparation methods. As well as the lessons, I also got him an Indian cookbook which has proved to be a wonderful addition to our collection.
The cookbook gave us this recipe for a base sauce that is used in loads of curries which, although time consuming, is really easy and goes a long way. We can usually get about 3 or 4 dishes out of it, which equates to a lot more meals because we make big batches to have for lunches etc. The sauce is the same but when you add other spices, meats, different vegetables or coconut milk it changes the taste… so you can have sweet, spicy, creamy – all sorts. Which helps when you’re after variety. Not to mention, it’s so easy if you do the sauce on the weekend and then use it through the week – talk about a time saver!
Reason 3: Oh so tasty and healthy too!
Ok so this is probably 2 reasons rolled into one but hey! Another outcome of our change in eating habits has been to make things from scratch which ensures that we know exactly what we’re putting into our bodies and we’re not adding things like chemicals, sugars and god knows what else. I refer back to an earlier statement about feeling daunted at the beginning, but actually it’s not too hard and it’s so much better for our peace of mind, not to mention our waistlines.
Part of this was discovering how to use herbs and spices to add flavour to things rather than using ready-made sauces or adding naughty things like cream or sugar. Not to say we used to eat disastrously unhealthily, but it’s surprising how much bad stuff you can be eating without even realising it.
What we’ve found with Indian food is if you use good vegetables and not too much oil or rice it really is one of the healthiest things out there. Seriously our base sauce is made out of onion, garlic, ginger, tomatoes, water and spices. It couldn’t possibly be bad for you. So why does it taste so good I hear you ask? Natural flavours and lots of them. Amazing!
Reason 4: Cost effective
C and I are on a big saving mission this year and we’ve also discovered to our surprise and delight that Indian food is relatively cheap. We already had all the spices we use and they go a long way. And we have a fantastic green grocer just near our house where we get really good vegies for relatively cheap.
C also got another cookbook for Christmas that we’ve been using too, and we’ve also made up a few recipes since we’ve had the sauce ready to go (I know, I know, so daring and adventurous). We have made about 7 different curries in the last couple of weeks (hello overload!). I’m not too sure I should write out each of the recipes we’ve made but I can definitely refer you to the books we’re using:
50 Great Curries of India (Thanks Em)
And share some pics!