If you consider spices to be an optional part of your meal, and you have tried cinnamon only in buns, think about it: if it were not for spices, America would never have remained open. “Lenta.ru” dealt with the details.
Anyone can make a faithful journey to this exotic country without accidentally visiting America. But the guest cannot escape its fragrant wealth, because gastronomic pleasures are the most important component of an overseas voyage. So you better get ready.
The same curry
India is the birthplace of most of the well-known and little-known spices, and it is the spices that are the main thing in Indian cuisine. I knew about this even before I visited India, thanks to my acquaintance with the owner of an Indian restaurant in Moscow. From the leeward side, I could always predict its appearance in at least a minute.
What mixtures of herbs, roots and spices are not used to prepare curries for “enlightened culinary specialists”! More than once I have come across examples of Pseudo-Indian art that do not contain a single gram of curry at all.
Real curry is unique not only because the herb is native to India. Since every chef has different tastes and secrets, one curry never turns out to be the same. Curry is not stored in ready-made form, because spices mixed with each other quickly lose their sharpness and aroma.
Anyone who happened to be in the oriental bazaar in the morning must have watched funny scenes at the spice counters.
So, for the preparation of curries, self-respecting Indian chefs and housewives go to the market in the morning and choose the best spices, and grind them in a hand mill or in a mortar directly during the preparation of the dish.
Up to several dozen components are mixed in jewelry proportions: here are the familiar coriander, caraway seeds, cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, turmeric and saffron, and exotic spices like asafetida, known in Russia as smelly ferule (in old reference books on phytology it was also called more uncompromising – “stinky ferule”). Despite the unpresentable name, this plant has not only a bright taste and aroma, but also healing properties. Even the great Ibn Sine prescribed a mixture of asafetida for nervous disorders, and modern medicine does not refuse it.
Most spices have medicinal properties. Red pepper can cure rheumatism, ginger – colds, and in Central and Asia Minor, where turmeric is added to almost any dish, they practically do not get hepatitis.
So, if you are not a lover of spicy food and culinary experiments, in this great but hungry country, you will have a hard time. But you will have a chance to get to know the authentic Indian cuisine. After all, you can only eat something truly Indian in India.
Many tourists remain convinced that food in India comes in two flavors: very spicy and very sweet. Attracted by the pleasant scent, they are tempted by an unknown dish that is sold on the street from a stall or from a tandoor. This is not worth doing. And not only because such food rarely meets sanitary standards in any city in the world (and especially in India), but because you most likely simply will not feel the taste. Stunned by the severity, your receptors will fall into a coma, and you will have to fill the burning insides with liters of water. This is how they eat.
If you are completely starving to death, and there is no other food nearby – at least say two words to the food seller: “But spice!” Repeat until you are sure he understands you. Of course, it will not do without spices, but you will have a chance to avoid at least a certain amount of them, and this will slightly ease your lot.
Gradually, you will learn to distinguish “fire-hazardous” food from unleavened cakes and harmless fried bananas, which are served in banana leaves. After several not very successful experiences, I managed to find my best option for food in India – thali.
This versatile Indian food has no recipe or specific ingredients. . A chapatis or rice cake is placed on a large plate, and several cups of various liquid foods are placed around them, in which chapatis or rice are dipped. The liquid is usually a hot chili sauce, something like fried tomatoes, sometimes yogurt. At its core, thali is endless: if you have finished eating a cake, they will bring you another hot one, empty one of the bowls, they will bring the next one, and all this for symbolic money. Thali is perhaps the cheapest pleasure in India. The main thing is to choose from the seasonings the one that does not burn your throat immediately and does not discourage your appetite.
One of the cups placed around the flatbread will certainly contain dal soup (sometimes it is called dhal). This is one of the favorite dishes of Indians and is served in an upscale restaurant and street eatery. Dal is made from peas, soybeans, beans and beans, but more often it is a lentil soup. Very spicy and delicious.