Category Archives: Indian

East to West, India is the Best!

Whenever anyone mentions India, this ^^^ is literally the first thing that pops into my head! It’s a chant that I’ve heard so many avid cricket fans sing simultaneously while they watch their home team play a match. It’s dorky but super catchy, you’ve got to admit.

Ok, super random, but seeing that today is India’s Independence Day, I thought it would be fun to do a post on the Indian food the husbo and I (ok, who am I kidding, it’s really just him) have been cooking. It started out with him making his mother’s mattar paneer recipe, and then he wanted to make one of his favorite’s: lamb keema.

My major participation was ensuring we ate yummy parathas with our meal, and also making sure we had some great rosé. The parathas are the ones that I used to eat as a kid – they’re super flakey, frozen parathas from Malaysia, and I was beyond excited when I realized you can find them at any Asian grocery store (hello, HMART!)  

A few weeks ago, randomly on a weekend, we were craving samosas (that makes me laugh out loud!) so we turned to Yelp and found out that IndAroma – a place that we almost used to cater our wedding – is so close to our home, like 10 minutes down the road! So we drive over, stop at Starbucks for iced tea, and then I suggest that the husbo race me to the other side of the parking lot (me walking, him driving at “parking lot” speed, ha!) I win – duh – so while I wait for his little turtle butt to drive over, I discovered I was standing next to this cute little Indian grocery. I was so excited about it! No more driving 13 miles to the dinky, not so cute, other Indian store. I immediately spotted the dhokla mix and picked up a bunch of packets, took it home, and whipped up that deliciousness, complete with sauteed mustard seeds & cilantro to garnish #yummmm

Fast forward to a couple of nights ago, the husbo was craving mushroom sabzi and so he made it. It turned out great! I made dhokla again, but this time messed it up a little (I didn’t grease the dish properly so everything crumbled and stuck to the bottom, noooo.) The cilantro & mint chutney was super easy – it’s literally cilantro, tomatoes (from our herb garden!), yellow onion, jalapeno, mint, salt & pepper to taste, and lime juice. Then you mush with a hand blender and ta-da!

just realized I spelled dhokla wrong. oops.

I’ll be honest, the husbo & I don’t consider ourselves to be very traditional when it comes to a lot of things Indian, but it turns out we’re kind of obsessed with the food. Go figure.

Masala Dabba

Masala Dabba

If you’re Indian then you’re probably already well acquainted with what I’m about to say, and if you’re not, well…then just keep reading, ok?

A masala dabba (pronouned ma-sa-la dub-bah, aka. the dubs) quite simply translates to “spice box”. It is a staple in all Indian kitchens, and – honestly – you can’t make a single Indian dish without its contents. Speaking of its contents, this tends to vary from kitchen to kitchen (because no two chefs are alike) but there will always be a few things that everyone has: cumin, coriander, turmeric & salt. There are variations when it comes to the actual box, but the basic components are pretty much standardized: stainless steel round box, 7 little compartments, and metal spoon(s).

I think any Indian kid can associate, when I say that I would watch my mum take the dabba out, scoop up a combination of spices and throw them into the pot, releasing a puff of smoke – as if she was a sorceress making a potion in her cauldron. Ha! Then almost instantaneously, the kitchen exhaust would go on to suck up the heavy aroma before it infiltrated the apartment.

I like to imagine the passing down of the spice box, from mother to child, is almost like a right of passage for Indians, lol. Unfortunately, my mum never got to do this with me (so sorry, Mum!) because when I was younger I used to very anti-Indian. Anti-Indian cooking, anti-Indian music, anti-Indian everything. I thought I was too cool for it.

So where did I get one, you ask?  Well, it’s the husbo’s! He got it from his mum a while ago, and of course it was never used… until we got married, so thank you, Mum Khaneja!

I’ll be honest, when I first started cooking I didn’t cook any Indian food & never touched the dubs (I mean, the whole process of Indian cuisine was very, very intimidating to me) but as I experimented in the kitchen more and more, I found the courage to tackle it! I quickly realized that there’s absolutely nothing to be afraid of, because once you understand what each spice does for a dish, you’ll be doing a little bit of hocus pocus of your own.