Eight years ago, I got a bee in my bonnet to learn how to cook Indian food. I thought that, if I learned how to cook Indian food, I would know what to order when we went to an Indian restaurant. So, for Christmas that year I received two Indian cookbooks. One, Betty Crocker’s Indian Home Cooking by Raghavan Iyer, has stood beside me as I’ve learned to use Indian spices and techniques in cooking.
And the binding hasn’t fallen apart, either.
I really like this book because it has pictures and explanations of the various specific ingredients. Granted, many of these aren’t available at your local grocery store, but Indian groceries are popping up everywhere and I’ve found everything I’ve ever needed at these.
I’ve found that most people–even picky eaters–like Indian food. The tastes are complex, and if you ease off the peppers, not too spicy. (And it’s easy to make it as spicy as you wish.) Plus, I can get a four-dish, made-from-scratch meal on the table in about an hour. I can’t do that with any other type of food!
Funny thing, though: once I learned how to make Indian food, I haven’t gone out for it much since I can make it at home quite easily.
The following recipe is from the above book. I made it for some guests this past weekend and it was a hit. Cabbage is in season right now and this is definately a great dish to make using it.
Gujarati Cabbage Slaw
Gujarati is a state in India.
1/4 C. vegetable oil (I use olive oil.)
1/4 t. asafetida/hing (If you don’t have this, omit. You can find it at all Indian groceries.)
1 C. dry-roasted, unsalted peanuts, coarsely chopped
8 C. finely shredded cabbage (about 1 medium head)
1/2 C. dried unsweetened shredded coconut
1/4 C. finely chopped fresh cilantro
3 fresh Thai, serrano or cayenne chilies, finely chopped (or 2-3 whole dried chilies)
3 T. sugar
1 t. salt
1/2 t. ground tumeric
2 T. lime juice (from 1 medium lime)
Heat oil in a wok or large and deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add asefetida and peanuts; sizzle 30 seconds.
Add remaining ingredients except lime juice; stir-fry about 5 minutes or until cabbage is hot. Remove from heat. Stir in lime juice.