MY INDIAN KITCHEN
By Jenna Yajjala
Cooking has always been a source of stress relief and a place I can go to make goodies to fill my loved one’s tummies! My husband is very particular and doesn’t like many foods. Being Indian doesn’t make things any easier. He doesn’t eat pork and most vegetables. He prefers dal and rice with curd. Pickles, chutney and Non-Veg Curries are his favorite, I try very hard to introduce as many new foods as I can. Sometimes I have to cook it a few times before he will try.
Due to limited ingredients I must also learn how to adapt myself to the new foods around me and come up with things my daughter will enjoy. This quest has been very successful and I am proud to have my own cuisine I call Indo-Ameri-Mex! Check out my recipes and you will see what I mean!
My family kitchen in the photos below shows the typical Indian kitchen set up. Most Indians use daily steel plates, bowls and glasses (I call them cups because they are not glass) Indians have a nice stock of large mixing bowls, pressure cookers, serving trays and water containers. They have special curd/yogurt containers and spoons used only for that purpose.
Water does not come constantly from a spout like in USA and most Western cultures. We get water for 1 hour three times a week. It fills up in our bore well and we keep the freshest water in the kitchen inside steel water containers. We filter all of our drinking water into bottles and put them in the fridge.
Rice is purchased in huge bulk. Like 5 bags weighing 50 kilos lasting us over a year in rice. All of our spices are stored in steel tins and jars. Pickles, red chili peppers, tamarind, sugar, jaggery, fry-ems, dried green chilies are all stored in the open pantry.
Daily most Indians drink tea. In my family we drink, what I call Indian coffee, in the morning and chai/tea at night. Please a note to my fellow Americans: DO NOT think chai is what we buy in tea bags in USA. IT IS NOT!!! Check out my blurb on chai a few years back when I stated the recipe, it’s quite simple. I will post again on this blog in my recipes. Any-whoo, we don’t have ovens in India unless you own a convection oven/grill/microwave. So, please remember I am limited on baking and certain recipes and must learn how to adapt to this new type of life.
Many ingredients I use I never used before I moved to India. I have included my gallery of vegetables and fruits that we use here often. It is common for us to have Rasam or Dal (pappu challu or pappu) we have many condiments like pickles (not cucumbers in vinegar, mango pickle-see my recipes) curries, veg and non-veg fries, breads like naan and the mostly used in my part of the country chapatis and rice. You can make cakes in pressure cookers (gotta become best mates with your pressure cookers in India) and we must make everything fresh and from scratch. There are no convenient foods here. They don’t use canned foods much and never find them unless online. Pasta and pasta sauces are available but not the best in flavor and high in bad carbs for me and my disease. So, what do we eat??!! Check out my photos and see my many choices! 😀
From Left to Right: Coriander/Cilantro; pumpkin; cabbage; fresh green peas/matter; okra/bendakaya; mirichi/ green chillies; green beans; small lemons/nimbukaya; tomatoes; white skin potatoes/aloo/dumpa; radish/diakon radish; beerakaya (loofa sponge before it drys out) also called ribbed gourd; green peppers/capsicum; mint. Next photo: Fresh cranberries Next photo: Guava from our farm not pink but creamy green.
We make all our own ghee,curd, red chilli powders, masalas, ginger garlic paste, pasteurized milk, snacks, sweets, breads, pickles, podas.
First Photo: Garlic-Ginger Paste Next Photo: Chicken pieces Photo 3 Indian Cutting Tool: used on the floor held down by your leg or foot, easy to use and very precise! 4th Photo: Blade on the cutting device.
First Photo: Example of how floor cutter works Second: Mixing Mango Pickle Third: Beginning curry base of onions tomatoes green chilli cloves cinnamon salt.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ABOUT MY INDIA
I am always caught off guard and would like to have the cleaners that I have grown used to in USA. Please note these are HOUSEHOLD CLEANERS not for Body. So, I have found a few recipes and modified them for India as some ingredients are not available like in USA. The next 4 posts are the recipes using both American and Indian alternative ingredients along with a description of uses, hazards and application procedures. These items are very inexpensive to make!
Items needed in an Indo-American household for these tips:
- (as I add to these items I will date and put in different color for those who need updates easier) 2-3 buckets, handle cups, basins, baggies, ziplock, aluminum foil, aluminum food containers disposable, toothbrushes, scrub brushes, spray bottles, containers with lids, glass jars-mason pref, rags & washcloths, sewing needles & large colorful variety of thread, buttons, tape measure for crafts and home use, newspaper
- baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, white vinegar, apple vinegar, talc powder, plain white chalk, bleach, rubbing alcohol, ammonia, laundry detergent, bar soaps, rosewater, coarse sea salt, coarse sugar, fine salt and sugar, olive oil, grape seed oil, cotton seed oil, sunflower seed oil, jojoba oil, lavender essential oil, sandalwood essential oil, food coloring, lemon, almond oil, coconut oil, toothpaste white regular or salt, gel toothpaste, petroleum jelly, liquid paraffin, lanolin cream (udder cream or st ives hypoallergenic cream), apricot oil
- Indian items (if not in India look at markets. I will do my best in posts to inform of websites or places to purchase items) Reethi (soapnuts), amla-Indian gooseberry, neem oil and leaves if possible, tea tree oil, turmeric powder, palm fruit, coconut water, jasmine essential oil, curry leafs
MEDICAL INFORMATION I FOUND USEFUL