Cooking for self is a feast, you use whatever ingredients you like and feel happy whether the taste is good or bad, and will try again to improve the taste. You can try all the crazy dishes yet receive no complains from self because mistakes are the part of experiences. But cooking for family and friends is a responsibility. We have to be careful and know the taste of the persons for whom you cook. You cannot cook Indian food for European friends who avoid spices nor can you cook Chinese for your conservative people who hate to try new stuff.
The other day, I cooked cauliflower for my family. I have come to spend some quality time with my family in Spain. I used red chiili powder and my family found my food too hot. I was feeling bad that they could not eat (although I found it quite tasty). But using red chilli powder is risky. There are various kinds of red chilli powders, some are just for color and some very hot. It makes no difference to me, because I have high resistance for hot pepper but my family in Spain avoid chillies for health reasons. Here, in Spain, garlic and capsicum is considered as spicy and is eaten in moderation. In India, red chilli powder is the ingredient used in many garam masalas. Kashmiri red chiili powder is used mainly to give the rich red color to the food. But in families that enjoy spicy food, super hot red chiili powder is avoided, green chilies is preferred ingredient and is healthy too.
In month of May, many Indian families start to grind Garam masala to stock up for the year. Special help is called to dry the spices in the sun and they manually pound the dry masalas. I decided to ask my family and friends about the different masalas that they use in their daily cooking and have found some interesting results.
Most of my friends are using Aseofitida (Hing) in their daily cooking, specially in dhals. Other ingredients that are regularly used in their cooking are coriander powder (Dhania), cumin powder (jeera) and Turmeric powder(haldi).
Bengali friend uses panch poran that consists of Ani seeds (saunf), Caraway seed (ajwain), Mustard seeds (rai), Black cumin (kalonji), Fenugreek seeds (methi seeds) and asefitida (hing).
Parsi friend uses Cumin seeds (Jeera) mustard (rai), chilli powder, Coriander powder (dhania), turmeric powder (haldi), khambati sambhar Aseafitida (hing), and curry powder.
North Indian friend uses Cumin seeds (Jeera), cardamom (Elaichi), black pepper (Kali mirchi) coriander seeds (Dhania) fennel seeds (Saunf) cloves (Laung) Cinnamon ( Dalchini) Bay leaves (Tejpata) Caraway seeds (Shahi jeera) and dry ginger powder (Soonth)
South Indian friend uses mustard and coconut regularly,
My Sindhi friend roasts and grinds Whole Black Cardamom, Whole Green Cardamom, Cinnamon, Pepper, Cloves, Jeera, Javatri, Nutmeg,Tejpatta and stores in the containers.
It was interesting to talk to my friends about the ingredients they used in their kitchen. One friend uses pink Himalayan salt in her daily cooking. “Pink Himalayan salt has minerals in their natural form, therefore is good for health, it is not processed like table salt.” She said.
Another friend is using organic turmeric in her daily cooking. “I prefer this because of Turmeric's anti - inflammatory benefits . We get this produce from special health food shops who import from India. They come with certificate of authenticity for purity and non use of pesticide before and after harvesting. Also the consignment is not scanned through X-ray machines.” She said when I ask her for this special choice. “I love the strong aroma. Only downside I find is the color of the organic turmeric is on the darker side as compared to one available in the normal grocery shops.” She added.
My cousin made a special mention of masala she used for making a drink to stay fit. It contains 200gms cumin seeds, 100 gms dried coriander seeds, 100 gms fennel seeds. They are mixed well in one litre of water and kept it overnight. Next day they are boiled, strained and is sipped throughout the day.
Many different kinds of masalas are made in my school by differently abled at our CBD and Uran centres. In our school, children over eighteen years are graduated to vocational and home science unit. Parents of the children help children earn their living by helping them learn different techniques like cleaning, drying grinding, measuring and packing. the masala are sold, children earn a regular stipend and it gives them incentive to work.
Masala are used in almost all the recipes, but on daily regular cooking, minimum spices are used. Sharing the recipe my SIL made today for lunch.
Pumpkin and Spinach
200 kg pumpkin
1 bunch spinach
1 medium Onion
1 inch Ginger
1 tbsp Mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 pinch aseofitida
1 tsp red chilli powder
2 tbsp oil
salt to taste
Coriander for garnishing
In hot oil crackle mustard seeds. Add ginger and cumin seeds. Add chopped onions and fry till light brown. Add turmeric powder and red chilli powder. Add chopped pumpkin, stir till tender.. add chopped spinach. Cover and cook till tender. Add salt. Garnish with coriander leaves.
I have been celebrating #IndianFoodObservance days with Rushina whenever I could. Last year too I had blogged about Garam Masala used in Sindhi Cuisine. You can find the recipe HERE
I am so happy that my friends and family cooperated in my research. My special thanks to Pakeeza Merchant, Deepa Betrabeth, Taruna Goyal, Vijaya Das, Poonam Desai, Renuka Mir, Usha Galani, Vimloo Shivdasani, Maya Mirpuri, Rani Ramchandani, Devka Mansukhani, Aruna Doshi, Dhana Tiwari, Lata Sharma, Nalini Poduval, Kasmira Balsara, Bela wanwari, Anita Mantri, Sonal Manjalani, Pooja Mohinani
Thank you so much......