Indian food. It draws a fine line between a blissful kick and choking back tears as you drown yourself in a glass of milk. As far as how much I can handle, I probably fall somewhere in the middle….by Australian standards. I realise this puts me way behind the ball in terms of Sri Lankan, Nepalese and Indian food. How was I ever going to fully appreciate traditional dishes if they left me in tears, sweat and a state of delirium. I mentioned in my first post The Boy Wander Begins I’ll be heading to India in late January/early February so it was time to become acquainted with Indian food.
It was time to kick my tastebuds into gear. I planned to build some resistance to the fiery Indian curries. I set about tracking down some more traditional Indian recipes and found some at a local market. I had a choice of a few curry recipes ranging from 1 to 5 chillies on the spice recommendation. In my ignorance I laughed off anything under 3 chillies and settled on a lamb Madras that weighed in at 5 out of 5. I picked up the recipe bag which contained the seeds and spices, the 5 dried chillies and curry powder. I head off to the local shops and grabbed the rest of the ingredients (it’s worth noting I didn’t buy any sour cream or yoghurt).
Three hours later I had cooked up a huge pot of the world famous Indian dish – Lamb Madras and was quite pleased with myself, my whole house smelt delicious and I sat down to eat. First mouthful goes in and I spend the first 3 and a half seconds disappointed by the lack of spice, and those 3 and a half seconds were the only time I spent fooled by that though. As chilli seems to do so well, it lulls you into a false sense of comfort and then hits you in the face with flavour. Two mouthfuls in and I looked like I’d run a marathon, my face was red and sweat was welling up on my cheeks and forehead. I checked the fridge knowing full well we had no yoghurt or sour cream that I could mix through to knock back the heat a bit but it was worth a hopeful search.
At about the halfway mark I actually started to get a little used to it and it turned out to be one of the best curries I’d made. The rest of it is currently being re-heated and awaiting my attention; this time I have sour cream in the fridge though. Indian food certainly got the best of me the first time around but I’m feeling better prepared for my next meal.
As I said in Travelling at Home, travel isn’t only about getting to a new country to explore the culture, you can also explore your own countries take on a foreign culture or with a bit of research explore Indian food in your own kitchen.
How do you handle spicy food? Are you cut out for the heat of Indian food or like me do you need some training?