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cagedflights is not online. Last active: 2/25/2007 12:11:03 AM cagedflights
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Indian food for an American ...Plz help!
Posted: 14 Feb 2007 07:45 AM
Hey!

I am having an American friend come to my house for lunch one of these days. I am going to decide the day for her visit when I see her tomorrow. She is actually a mid-wife whom I have been seeing since the past 9-10months while I was pregnant. She is from the southern region of USA.

I havent lived in USA long enough to know what an American would prefer in Indian food, but my friend has expressed the desire to try Indian food at my house since we really dont have any Indian place to eat out here in this small town of KY, where I live. I would love to fix a meal for her but I am afraid she might find the Indian food a bit too spicy or too strong in flavour and might not like it. Besides I dont have any Indian store or very many Indian spices that go into Indian recipes, just a few that my mom has sent me from India.

Could anybody here, preferably american, who has tasted Indian food tell me what would be best for me to fix for my friend. I want to make her some Indian food that she would love to eat and always remember!

Your help and consideration will be very much appreciated!
Thanks ..

Atiya




...mere ghar aayi ek nanhi pari...
mel is not online. Last active: 10/2/2013 7:44:01 AM mel
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Re: Indian food for an American ...Plz help!
Posted: 14 Feb 2007 10:47 AM
Hi Atiya,

This is just a quick list but I have found that many Americans really like these dishes. My family is from the Southern part of the USA also. I think that alot of the people on here could help you with this one so I will make a few suggestions.

First, Indian food is very popular here in the USA. People appreciate the intense flavors but not food that is too spicy. Make the dish flavorful but not so hot. Some favorites:

1. Chicken Curry
2. Aloo Matar
3. Raj Mal
4. Chana

You can also try rice pudding (kheer).

Good luck!

~mel~
Tabby is not online. Last active: 7/28/2008 10:19:17 AM Tabby
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Re: Indian food for an American ...Plz help!
Posted: 14 Feb 2007 12:05 PM
Hi Atiya,

My husband and I eat out at an authentic Indian restaurant weekly have been doing this for about 2 years. We live in a part of the US, the upper midwest, where many people are scared of Indian food because of its spicyness. We have introduced a few friends/family to Indian that were quite afraid of the spicyness, but did okay. These are just some ideas - I don't know how to make Indian dishes, so if any of these are too time-consuming or you don't have the ingredients to make them, just ignore them. :)

1. Any tandoor-type meats: chicken, shrimp, lamb (or kabobs would work too)
2. Naan
3. Palak Paneer (I see a lot of Americans ordering this)
4. Pakoras or Samosas
5. Gulab Jamoon (I hope this is the correct words - it's friend dough in a sweet syrup)
6. Kheer (as Mel suggested)

Hope this helps. :)
Tabby is not online. Last active: 7/28/2008 10:19:17 AM Tabby
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Re: Indian food for an American ...Plz help!
Posted: 14 Feb 2007 12:10 PM
Ooo! Forgot to mention raitha. My mom loves, loves, loves raitha (and she's not into Indian food), so that would probably work well too.
mel is not online. Last active: 10/2/2013 7:44:01 AM mel
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Re: Indian food for an American ...Plz help!
Posted: 14 Feb 2007 01:13 PM
Hi Tabby,

You did a great job! I did not mention the Palak or Saag Paneer because it is spinach and so many people I know in the USA have an aversion to Spinach. Interestingly, I love this dish but I can not eat Spinach any other way that I have tried so far. I love paneer period. We use tofu in place of it and it works well in spinach dishes if you can't get paneer but the taste is different. So Atiya, if you can not get paneer you can substitute firm or extra firm tofu which can be found in the grocery stores.

I also forgot about Pakoras. Glad you remembered it! Almost everyone I have ever seen trying aloo and piyaz (potato and onion) pakora loves it. Atiya, this might be a little hard for you at first because you can't get gram flour yet but you can use white flour found at groceries stores and ground red chili (just a little bit) and salt which can be found at almost any grocery store. The white flour doesn't taste the same but is close enough that you can probably pull it off.

Thanks for thinking of those really great dishes!

~mel~
Tabby is not online. Last active: 7/28/2008 10:19:17 AM Tabby
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Re: Indian food for an American ...Plz help!
Posted: 14 Feb 2007 02:11 PM
Mel,

You are so right about Palak (Saag) Paneer! Most Americans are a little leery of spinach - I think because they've had before prepared in a not so great way (like they ate canned spinach or something, which is pretty yucky). So this may be an iffy one to try unless you know the person likes spinach or other dark greens.

I'm really glad you mentioned about subbing tofu for paneer. I've seen recipes on the internet where paneer is referred to cottage cheese. I'm wondering how many Americans have used American cottage cheese when making this dish. I can't imagine it would turn out well since American cottage cheese has such a strong flavor and a totally different texture than paneer does.
mel is not online. Last active: 10/2/2013 7:44:01 AM mel
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Re: Indian food for an American ...Plz help!
Posted: 14 Feb 2007 04:36 PM
Hi Tabby,

American cottage cheese is definitely not something you want to use in place of paneer. I think the combination would be absolutely awful! Yuck! Tofu is just not as flavorful as paneer but the texture is close enough that it could pass. I have found when you are making dishes that the primary ingredient is paneer that it doesn't really make the taste conversion but in dishes like saag and palak the taste of the spinach is strong enough that you can swing it :-)

On another note, alot of Indian stores have started carrying paneer now in their perishable/refrigerator sections so hopefully it will be more available to anyone wanting to give it a try.

~mel~
Tabby is not online. Last active: 7/28/2008 10:19:17 AM Tabby
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Re: Indian food for an American ...Plz help!
Posted: 15 Feb 2007 07:00 AM
We'll have to look for the refrigerator paneer in our Indian market. I know we've made Palak Paneer in the past using tofu and it was really pretty close. Like you said, the spinach is pretty much all you can taste, so you really just need to duplicate the texture of paneer.

I know the original poster (sorry, your name has slipped my mind - I'm half awake because I didn't sleep well last night) doesn't have access to almost all Indian kitchen staples. But if someone else is looking for a good Indian food to introduce to Americans, I think pappadums would go over well. These are like potato chips except they're made from lentil flour and maybe some other type of flour? I actually prefer them to regular old potato chips. As far as a dipping sauce, if you've got someone who really dislikes spicy stuff, I know there's some sort of Indian sauce that's made from coconut and looks sort of like oatmeal. If they like a little bit of spice, the green sauce that has mint and basil (maybe coriander?) would work well. Sorry I don't know names the correct names for these sauces. :)
cagedflights is not online. Last active: 2/25/2007 12:11:03 AM cagedflights
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Re: Indian food for an American ...Plz help!
Posted: 16 Feb 2007 12:21 AM
Hi Mel and Tabby!

I am not a very good cook. I have to admit, I have been a brat until I lived with my mom-dad. I would help my mom some in the kitchen but she usually likes to fix meals for the family. So I have very short experience of fixing special meals for somebody. I used to share my indian food whenever I happened to fix some with my american landlord who used to be my neighbour at one time. The only dish she liked out of all I shared with her was eggplant and potatoes with rice. She never ate eggplants before she ate my dish but she loved the way I fixed it. And that was just her, her kids and hubby did not like it that much.

Mel, my friend told me today that she would like to have some kind of curry, so I guess the chicken curry needs to be on my list! As for the Kheer/rice pudding, I tried to fix it once but it turned out bitter in taste, second time I tried it and my rice remained partly uncooked no matter how long I tried to cook it. I have no clue what I did wrong but I will try again..

Tabby, it is real impressing and flattering to know that u been so regular for such a long time in eating indian food. U must really like it. Ur knowledge about indian food is very impressing as well! Wish I could get my hubby to try some and like it as well. He will try it but he dont necessarily like it which is very sad for me. He is a very country guy, give him meat, beans and potatoes anyday and hes happy. I tried to introduce him to indian food in the first few months of my marriage but he dont like the flavoury smelly of indian food and he hates rice which is basically cooked and served with most all indian food. He says the flavours makes the food smell like a bouqet ..lol. Anyways, that has kinda put an end to my efforts on cooking or learning about indian food. Since about the past two yrs. of my marriage I have been only trying to learn and cook american food but I'm not perfect yet so I still dont please many ppl when it comes to food.

Tabby, what kind of raitha does ur mom like?? I think it will go good with chicken curry....actually thats my next question. I want to prepare a simple meal but a nice and tasty one. Now that we have the list of what ppl like to eat here, what would u suggest would go best with chicken curry?? I'm a bad cook and very slow at it... so I dont want to fix too much , just chicken curry and one or two more dishes to go with it...what would u all suggest that might go best along with chicken curry??? Help me again plz... Also if u have any favourite website links for the recipes, I would like u to share it with me plz..

Thank you Mel and Tabby, I really appreciate ur help and suggestions. Im a first time mom of a brand new baby girl. She keeps me very busy so I dont get the time to get on my pc very often, plz excuse me on that one. I will try to get back to u all just as soon as I can.

Atiya

...mere ghar aayi ek nanhi pari...
Tabby is not online. Last active: 7/28/2008 10:19:17 AM Tabby
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Re: Indian food for an American ...Plz help!
Posted: 17 Feb 2007 11:32 AM
Atiya, thank you for the terrific compliment!Smiley Both my husband and I really like Indian food so much at this point that if we could, we would eat it nearly every day of the week. We are very lucky because we have an authentic Indian restaurant about two miles from our house that has a huge menu that includes both Southern and Northern Indian specialties. My husband and I both like to try new things, so even though I was not a huge fan of Indian food 2 years ago, I still wanted to try this restaurant. What I found out was the only reason I had not liked Indian in the past was because most Indian restaurants here take most of the spices out. You really must have some spicyness in Indian food or it won't taste right at all. (By the way, if you like Indian food, you must try Afghani food - yummy.)

Most Indian restaurants up here only serve one kind of raitha - I don't know the real name of it, so I'll describe it. The yogurt is the consistency of soup and then there are diced cucumbers, tomatoes, and onion in it. (Another restaurant in our town has raitha that's like coleslaw: I think it's shredded cucumbers but the yogurt is the consistency of the dressing used in coleslaw. I prefer this raitha, but this restaurant is more expensive and not as good as our usual Indian restaurant.)

As far as what to go with the chicken curry, I am not too sure. My husband does almost all the cooking and we've only recently started cooking Indian food (we're having chicken muligatawny soup today). My husband always eats lamb curry when we eat at the Indian restaurant and I know he loves naan with it. Naan sounds really complicated to make, but maybe you can find some pita bread at your local grocery store? It's not exactly naan but sort of close. I've never lived in a rural area, but pita bread seems to be so common in the US now, you may be able to find. Maybe some white rice with it if you cannot find basmati rice?

As far as favorite website links, I really love channa aloo. My husband found a pretty decent recipe on the web at http://blogs.dmjuice.com/?p=396 (there is also a recipe for poori, but we haven't tried that particular recipe). It turned out so well!! The only warning I have to give is this recipe makes a TON of food, so you may want to freeze half of it right after you cook it if you don't have a large family.

Also, I have an idea of a place where you can find some Indian spices and you won't necessarily have to use a credit card (I think). Check out Penzey's Spices at www.penzeys.com . There will be a link that will let you order their catalog. I assume you can order spices from their catalog and pay using a check or money order. They are a bit more expensive, but their spices are much better quality that your average grocery stuff.

Take care! :)
Tabby is not online. Last active: 7/28/2008 10:19:17 AM Tabby
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Re: Indian food for an American ...Plz help!
Posted: 17 Feb 2007 02:07 PM
Sorry for the double post, but since Atiya is in such a rural area with no access to Indian stores and no credit card and is extra busy with her little one, I found some Indian grocery web sites that will take payment in forms other than a credit card:

1. http://ishopindian.com If you click on "Help", then "Payment Methods" and scroll to the very bottom, there is a section on what to do if you'd prefer to pay with a postal money order.

2. http://bdbazar.com Accepts payments via cashier's check, money order or check drawn from an American account.

3. www.hotdishes.com Accepts check, money order or cashier's check.

We're lucky enough to have an Indian grocery near us, so we've never ordered from any of these companies (I don't know if they are good or bad). There may be more online Indian groceries that accept non-credit card payments; these are the ones that came up quickly.

Hope this helps! :)
cagedflights is not online. Last active: 2/25/2007 12:11:03 AM cagedflights
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Re: Indian food for an American ...Plz help!
Posted: 19 Feb 2007 01:44 AM
Hey Tabby!

I think ur biggest advantage is that u got such a great Indian place to eat at so close to ur home, besides the fact that you r interested so much in indian food. I have never tried Afghani food, cant imagine an Afghani restaurant in our li'l town but I would like to give it a try.

Yes, I know what kind of raitha u r talking about. I know how to make that one , and I quite often do. I have never heard of chicken muligatawny soup, I hope u enjoyed it though! Lamb is another thing that I miss eating ever since I have come to USA. I love Lamb curry, specially the kind my mom fixes is so yummy!! Naan is my yet another favourite! I agree its a li'l tough to make it at home and I am not a good cook... so I would not want to try it for a guest..lol. I have been looking for basmati rice here but havent found none yet in this town, I will try to look for Pita bread. I dont know if we have it here , I never tried to look for it.

Thank you for the recipe link, I love chana-aloo as well... I fix it in a li'l bit different way though... (that was actually an experiment that turned out successful in the kitchen one day) I wanted to eat chana but did not have a clue how my mom fixes it, so I tried my own method and it worked out great, it is just a bit spicy, but I love it.

Oh and thanks so much for the link to Penzey's Spices, I wont be able to buy any time soon but I have already ordered a catalog to check out and save for the spices I might want to buy in future.

I have to thank Mel for this website forum, its giving me new hopes each day and allowing me to meet some real interesting ppl like YOU!Smiley

I have decided now, I am going to fix chicken curry, white rice, raitha and get pita bread( I will have to look for it though) for my friend. I appreciate u and Mel helping me thru this one!

Atiya

...mere ghar aayi ek nanhi pari...
mel is not online. Last active: 10/2/2013 7:44:01 AM mel
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Re: Indian food for an American ...Plz help!
Posted: 19 Feb 2007 06:50 AM
Atiya,

You are so welcome for my part and I know Tabby feels the same. I believe the people who come here really are good people and I think this site can be a real help and resource for people.

Best of Luck!

~mel~
mel is not online. Last active: 10/2/2013 7:44:01 AM mel
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Re: Indian food for an American ...Plz help!
Posted: 19 Feb 2007 06:53 AM
Tabby,

That is so nice of you! I know Atiya will appreciate these when she gets a chance to look at them!

PS Just a reminder to all that while we list website addresses we are not endorsing them, we are only trying to give some options. This site, its owners, nor the poster can assume responsibility for any of the websites listed. Use common sense when ordering or communicating with them. In order to maintain a site likes this we have to adhere to certain legal policies and this, unfortunately, is one of them.

~mel~
Tabby is not online. Last active: 7/28/2008 10:19:17 AM Tabby
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Re: Indian food for an American ...Plz help!
Posted: 19 Feb 2007 08:47 AM
Thank you for adding the disclaimer.Smiley Keeps everyone aware of caveat emptor (buyer beware).

Atiya, if you are looking for American recipes to try, just post and let us know what specifically you are looking for. This may help in getting you acclimated to American cooking.
cagedflights is not online. Last active: 2/25/2007 12:11:03 AM cagedflights
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Re: Indian food for an American ...Plz help!
Posted: 21 Feb 2007 07:26 AM
That's awesome! I will look into these links, Tabby. Thank you so much!!

Atiya

...mere ghar aayi ek nanhi pari...
cagedflights is not online. Last active: 2/25/2007 12:11:03 AM cagedflights
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Re: Indian food for an American ...Plz help!
Posted: 21 Feb 2007 07:32 AM
Dont know about others Mel...but this site is certainly a real help and resource for me. Like I said before, u have a wonderful website and this message board is really a great idea for many reasons...

Thank u bunches!

Atiya

...mere ghar aayi ek nanhi pari...
cagedflights is not online. Last active: 2/25/2007 12:11:03 AM cagedflights
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Re: Indian food for an American ...Plz help!
Posted: 21 Feb 2007 08:05 AM
Tabby.. u guessed it so right! I dont know nothing about american food which reminds me of a real comical incident. It was when I tried to fix turkey in oven first time ever in my life...

I had no clue where to look for the hollow in the turkey to stuff it. And hubby had done pulled out the li'l thingy stuck on it that pops out when the turkey is done, with a hammer!...cuz it was too tight to pull out by hands from the raw unthawed turkey!! ..lol He thought it was some kind of a seal on the bird. We still roll laughing when we think of that day but it was a memorable one.

Anyhow, hubby dont like indian food and I'm not big on american food but I try to fix a li'l bit of whatever I can. His favourite is potato, beans and any kinda meat. I for the first time fixed lasagna the other day, it tasted pretty good. I would like to fix him a roast someday. I usually get my recipes from internet but if u have any ideas I would love u to share it with me. I would love to make him eat some veggies but hes hard headed and wont eat no greens other than green peas....or he will eat them if I hide em some how successfully in his favourite dish.

Just to let u know...we both dont eat anything made out of pig...like bacon, pork, sausages ,pepperoni , ham etc..

I guess Mel will have to move part of this thread elsewhere too..its going off topic. Sorry Mel!

Atiya

...mere ghar aayi ek nanhi pari...
mel is not online. Last active: 10/2/2013 7:44:01 AM mel
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Re: Indian food for an American ...Plz help!
Posted: 21 Feb 2007 09:44 AM
Hi Atiya,

No problem about the threads going off. It happens to us all! Check some of the recipes in the recipes section and then you can also copy and paste this thread into the recipes section if you like or start a new one :-)

~mel~
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