South Indian Cooking


For some time now I’ve been wanting to learn more about South Indian cooking.  I have it on a list as a general topic for books to look for at the library:  Indian (South) cooking.  I’ve been feeling kind of frustrated about it because I love to go and eat it, but really don’t know how to cook it at home.  I’ve had a few cooking lessons over the years from friends of Indian origin (though I’m not sure those dishes were “South” per say).  I’ve been to India many times now, spending much of my time in the South and I’m always amazed at the variety of vegetables and fresh ingredients and the many dishes that come from those.  One of my fondest memories is from my first trip to Southern India and getting take out from a restaurant, they sent the food home in plastic bags (unusual but it works), and pouring out a coconut chutney.  Coconut chutney has got to be one of my favorite things.  I love to dip by nature but to be able to dip something into a lovely chutney, that’s just delicious.

Well, I was very happy when I found the video above.  I don’t know what made me do it, but Tuesday Iliana and I went on vimeo and typed in a few different “India” searches, finally landing on “South Indian cooking”.  We found Chitra Agrawal of The ABCD’s of Cooking blog and watched a few of her cooking videos.  She only has a few but they’re simple, the sound is good, the images are clear and I learned some basics about Indian cooking, which is exactly what I needed.  I say all of this not to simplify her videos but because we watched a lot of videos on Indian cooking yesterday and few were as well put together.  (If anyone has some leads on good videos do let me know!)

Her recipe for Yellow Peanut Rice (shown above) is great.  Here are some of the things I noticed and learned from her video.  She cooked the rice with turmeric which I’d never thought of but gives the rice that beautiful yellow color.  Indian cooking pans are different from what we traditionally use in American cooking.  They are more wok like.  You’ll notice she has the perfect pan for frying up spices so that they don’t splatter all over the place and so that everything cooks in the oil without getting too spread out.  My friends who were attending university in the states, having come over from India, always had these pans, having packed them along with other essentials, their families making sure they had exactly what they needed to feed themselves well.

Lastly, I like that many recipes of South Indian origin are vegetarian, gluten and dairy free.  I highly recommend checking out Chitra’s other three videos, Radish Raita, Chapati, and Kosambri (Carrot Salad), as well as her blog The ABCD’s of Cooking.  She grew up in the US (ABCD stands for American Born Confused Desi – desi meaning someone of South Asian origin brought up in the US) and as a result her recipes are indian based but world influenced.


Now to get those pans!  (Any leads?)


P.S.  I’ve been absent this week due to feeling quite under the weather!  We leave for a week long family reunion tomorrow, so this site will again be left unattended for another week!  Hmmmm.  Bummer.  Maybe an opportunity to look back in the archives for all of you new to this site?  Anyway, take care and I’ll see you here before too long.


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