India Inspired Six Pack!

India Inspired Six Pack!






India Inspired Six Pack!

My love for Indian Foods has giving me a much broader respect for the word curry. Curry is a generic description used throughout Western culture to describe a variety of dishes from Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Sri Lankan, African, Thai and other Southeast Asian cuisines. The major spices found in most South Asian curry powders contain turmeric, coriander, and cumin; but a wide range of additional spices may be additions depending on the geographic regional location and the food items being included; meats, fish, legumes, rice and grains. Curry’s popularity has spread from Southern Asia to figure prominently in international and fusion cooking. Consequently each individual culture has adopted spices in its indigenous recipes to suit its own unique tastes and cultural likes. Whatever you call it, curry just means a custom favoured mixture of spices and flavours. There are some foods that chefs like to have cooked for them and Indian Food is mine. I recently met with renowned Indian Chef, Vikram Vij at his very impressive food manufacturing plant in Surrey B.C. We chatted about his new line of Vij’s Inspired Indian Cuisine that is produced there and sampling these fine products I can attest Chef Vikram applies the same passion to his new line as at his award winning Vij’s and Rangoli Restaurants in Vancouver. Packed with tasty morsels of lamb, chicken or beef and the vegetable and lentil dishes carry his unique talent for making food bursting with flavour. These uniquely packaged frozen entrees sure come through in this new line of convenience take home meals. The same attention and passion goes into making al lVij’s Inspired Indian Cuisine meals so you will not be disappointed. I will say that the word convenience meal takes on a whole new meaning when trying the Vij’s India Cuisine line available at several grocery store locations across Canada. The six Vij’s Inspired Indian Cuisine items that I savoured , Chicken curry with kalonji spice, Punjabi Lamb Curry, Garam Masala Beef Curry, Punjabi Daal, Currried Chick Peas and Saag & Paneer exhibited an inexpensive great Indian feast with no fuss so you can enjoy great Indian food  right in your own home.

Here is a recipe by Meeru Dhalwal & Vikram Vij  for Cucumber Raita

(From Elegant & Inspired Vij’s Indian Cuisine Cookbook, 2006)

With the exception of coconut curries, it’s hard to think of any Indian dish with which we would not eat raita. This isn’t to say that we eat it every time we eat Indian food, but it’s refreshing with spicy dishes and is a great accompaniment to various rice pilafs. If you are serving raita with a spicy meal, you may want to leave out the garam masala in this recipe.

We often eat it as a cold soup, in which case the garam masala adds a mild, satisfying zing. Do not use bitter cucumbers or the long English cucumbers for this recipe. And, if you want to add colour to this dish, do not peel the cucumber (but be sure the peel is not bitter).

2 cups plain yogurt, stirred

1 medium to large cucumber, peeled or unpeeled

1 tsp salt

1 tsp garam masala

¼ tsp ground black pepper

¼ cup milk (optional)

Place yogurt in a bowl.

Using a hand grater, grate cucumber and all of its water into the yogurt.

Stir well to combine.

Add salt, garam masala and black pepper, and mix well.

If the raita appears too thick, stir in milk.