Indian Foods

AMCHUR (AMCHOOR)

Green mango, dried, available as slivers and as powder. The powder is acidic and is used as a spice.

Packs: 3.5-oz (100-g) boxes and larger for slivers and powder.

Kitchen yields: 1 cup (0.24 l) = 2 oz (56 g) slices.

ARVI ROOTS

Starchy tubers related to cassava.

Pack: By weight

ASAFETIDA, Hing

Spice derived from the gum of a Persian plant. The thick paste can have a nauseating smell and is used only in small quantities.

BITTER GOURDS (KARVI OR KARELI)

Available in different sizes. The gourds must be salted and allowed to marinate several hours to remove the bitter flavor. Large gourds are referred to as Chinese karvi. See Chinese Foods in this section. Packs: By weight. Sizes: 2 oz (56 g) to 3 oz (84 g).

Kitchen yields: 1 lb (450 g) = 14 oz (400 g), cleaned.

BLACK SALT

Sodium-free salt used as a flavor component, brownish black in lump form and pinkish brown when ground. It is sprinkled over fruits or other foods and gives a slightly smoky, tangy taste.

Pack: By weight.

Kitchen yields: To taste.

BOMBAY DUCK

Sun-dried fish fillets, usually deep-fried and used as a condiment with curry dishes. The fish is a sardine-like species called bummalao. Most of the time, the product comes from India. Also called bombil.

Packs: By weight, usually 10-oz (300-g) boxes.

Kitchen yields: 1 piece per person. There are 20 to 30 pieces in each box.

CARDAMOM/CARDAMON

See the Herbs and Spices section.

CHAPATI

Flat bread made with wheat flour, available frozen in different sizes and packages. Available frozen, ready to bake or fully baked.

CHILIS, Mirch

See Hispanic Foods.

CHUTNEY VARIETIES

Chutneys are made with many ingredients in many variations of spiciness. The most well-known variety in Western cooking is mango chutney.

Packs: 14-oz (400-g) jars and larger.

Serving size: 1 oz (28 g), as condiment.

Kitchen yields: The product is ready to serve; it should be stored refrigerated after opening.

CURRY LEAVES (KAFFIR LIME LEAVES)

Small green leaves of the kari plant, a member of the citrus family. Curry leaves have a scent resembling citrus fruits and curry powder, but are not an ingredient in curry powder. Available fresh in specialty markets.

Pack: By weight.

Kitchen yields: Fresh leaves are sold attached to the stems. Cleaning waste is about 20 percent.

CURRY PASTE AND POWDERS

Spice blends consisting of coriander, turmeric, mustard seeds, chilies, dry ginger, cumin seeds, fenugreek, and other spices, according to brand. Available ranging from mild to very hot. Curry powders should be cooked in fat over low heat to fully develop flavor. Curry paste, called masala paste, is also available. The term garam masala indicates that the spice is hot.

Packs: 15-oz (425-g) cans and larger.

Serving size: 0.3 oz (10 g) for each pound of meat or vegetable, or according to taste.

Kitchen yields: One 15-oz (425-g) can = 45 lb (20 kg) product.

DAL VARIETIES

Generic term for dried legumes (pulses). Commonly available are the following: Ahar dal: Yellow split peas Chana dal: Chickpea variety Kabali: Chickpeas Lobhia: Black-eyed peas Moong dal: Split mung beans Udhad: Split black beans

Kitchen yields: Products are used as purée or thickeners in stews and soups.

EGGPLANTS, Baingan

Small purple eggplants.

Pack: By weight.

Kitchen yields: There is little waste; just the stems need trimming.

FENUGREEK (METHI) LEAVES

Fresh fenugreek and dried fenugreek leaves are used as seasoning and as tea. The dehydrated leaves require soaking before use. For dried whole and ground Fenugreek Seeds, see the Herbs and Spices section.

Pack: Bunches; the leaves are on long stems but are very light. 1.75-oz

(50-g) and larger packs for dried leaves.

FLOURS

Indian flours are often made with dried legumes and contain no gluten. They are used for flat breads such as roti/chappati, but cannot be used for yeast breads. Commonly available are the following: Ata flour: Wheat flour Bajri flour: Millet flour Besan flour: Split pea flour Moong flour: Split green pea flour Urhad flour: Black bean flour

GRAM, Channa

The generic term for cereals.

GHEE

Clarified butter or vegetarian margarine, available rendered.

Kitchen yields: Use as needed. Calories: 1 lb (450 g) = 4,066 calories.

GREEN MANGOS, SMALL

Used as an acidic component. Sizes: 3 oz (84 g) to 4 oz (112 g) each.

INDIAN OKRA

See Chinese Okra in this section.

MASALA

Generic term for spices; garam masala is a catch-all term for hot spice mixtures.

PAN LEAVES

Astringent leaves used raw with spices as a mouth freshener.

Pack: By count and weight.

Size: About 2 in (50 mm) wide and 3 in (75 mm) long.

PANEER (PANIR)

Curdled milk resembling cream cheese, an ingredient in many dishes. Available fresh and cubed and fried.

Pack: 8-oz (225-g), 1-lb (450-g), and larger packages. Serving size: 1 oz (28 g). Calories: 1 oz (28 g) of fried product = 90 calories.

PAPADOM (PAPAD)

Indian flat bread made with Udad-dal flour in a number of flavors, some of them spicy. Papadoms must be quickly fried in hot oil to puff up. Use as a garnish for curry dishes.

Size: 7 in (177 mm) across is common.

Count: One 8/-oz (250-g) package = 16 to 17 pieces. One 10-oz (280-g) package = 25 pieces.

Kitchen yields: 1 piece per person as garnish.

RICE VARIETIES

Rice (chawal) is a staple in many parts of India. Specialty stores carry up to 20 varieties. The most available and best known are: Basmati rice, also known as patna rice Jasmine rice Kitchen yields: See the Groceries section.

ROSE ESSENCE, Ruh gulap

Colorless liquid with strong aroma, used in desserts.

Pack: 1-pt (0.47-l) bottles. Kitchen yields: Use sparingly.

SAFFRON, Kesar

India is a large producer of saffron, but the product seems to be less aromatic than the saffron from Spain or Greece.

SILVER LEAVES, Chandik vark

Pure silver hammered into thin leaves and used as an edible decoration on desserts.

TAMARILLO

See the Tropical Fruits section.

TAMARIND, Imli

Tropical fruit pods with a sour taste, native to Africa and Asia. The seeds were brought from India to the West Indies in the seventeenth century. The brown pods are sometimes sold in their semidry form, but more often as a compacted, sticky mass. When buying compacted fruit, check for telltale holes indicating insect penetration. The paste disolves quickly and is convenient to use.

Season: Fresh pods are available in summer and autumn

Pack:

Dried and fresh pods: By weight.

Kitchen yields: Only the pulp can be used; dried pods must be soaked to extract the pulp. The paste can be used as is.

Calories: The high sugar content makes tamarind high in calories; the pulp is quite acidic.

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