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Create your own Indian food pantry

April 9, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
Chinese, Italian, and Mexican are the three types of international cuisine Americans choose most. But with so many different cultures living in the U.S., other countries are beginning to influence the way we eat - not only dining out, but cooking at home.Indian food is not only flavorful, but if made right, it can be one of the healthiest cuisines you can eat. Not only does this food contain loads of spices that are packed with antioxidants, but a good amount of the plate is filled with beans and lentils that offer carbohydrates and fiber, along with substantial protein.

Getting some Indian food at home is easier than you think. Take a look at what markets are doing to help you get an Indian fix, fast.

If you want the best assortment of East Indian groceries, head to Artesia, where they have a substantial community filled with markets and delis offering regional specialties. Check out Pioneer Street for an abundant selection.

If you can't make the drive, head to your closest Trader Joe's, where you'll find easy-to-heat versions of Indian fast food.

While Punjab Choley or Pav Bhaji might not roll off your tongue, these entrees might make your mouth water. You will find these meals in a box labeled Trader Joe's Indian Fare that are fabulous to heat and eat: spinach with cheese, spicy lentils and more.

In the freezer section you'll find Biryani rice and also garlic naan, an aromatic bread used for dipping and scooping. Lentils are often called dal. They come in varied colors, flavors and textures of each.

At most major markets you'll find chutneys and Indian sauces like Tandoori, Biriyani or Vindaloo that help to make a moist and flavorful entrée when used on chicken, lamb or seafood.

While curry is a known favorite, true Indian chefs make their own curry powder rather than buying one in a jar - instead they mix their own special spices.

The spices most typically used are cumin, cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, Garam Masala, turmeric and fenugreek seeds. In addition, there is a strong use of chiles as well. Jalapeno, serrano and Thai chiles that are roasted and crushed in oil.

Finally, to allow each diner the option of flavors, they typically offer little bowls of seeds, spices, tangy yogurt, raisins and nuts to offer even more variety to the meal.

 

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