About 80% of my friends and family who were born and brought up in India grew up with domestic help. I’m not talking about a regular cleaning lady (if we take that into the equation, the % would be higher). I’m talking about households with at least one domestic help who cooks, one who drives, one who washes clothes and one who cleans the house and vessels. This is besides the more affluent ones who have a gardener, an errand man and the babysitter. I do call it the ‘silver spoon’ syndrome. Obviously they never as much as picked up their dirty vessels after eating. Forget cooking.
Almost 95% of those kids moved out at some point and lived by themselves, often with instructions from mom about how to make the basic Indian staple — daal chaawal (lentils and rice). What our moms didn’t tell us was that the rest of Indian cooking was also quite basic, if you really take interest. Probably because moms still like the idea of us missing their food. But the fact, as you discover it with time, is simple.
Four ingredients. That’s all you need to make any dish an Indian dish. And here they are:
- Turmeric powder
- Red chilli powder
- Ground Coriander
- Cumin (whole or ground)
Throw these into anything: veggies, protein or even rice. Add some salt. And you will make yourself a version of the Indian curry!
Some may disagree and say Indian cooking is more complicated than that. And I absolutely don’t deny that. But I think for someone who is just interested in getting started into the world of Indian cooking (like the silver spoon bearers!), this might be the first step.
So what are you waiting for? Bring those four spices home and get cooking!