Indian Food Goes Mainstream, So Why Do You Feel Left Behind?

Lisa Lacy
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Aarti Sequeira won The Next Food Network Star last weekend. All season, she's been promoting her show, Aarti Party, which she says will make Indian food more accessible to home cooks in the U.S.

If you've never eaten Indian food before, here's a list of dishes to try before her show launches next week. And once you've introduced a little Indian cuisine to your diet, perhaps you'll be ready to bring Indian elements into your own cooking, too.

Samosas are a popular appetizer. They're basically fried triangular pastries that come with a variety of fillings, like potatoes, chickpeas, and spices.

Samosas are sometimes served with chutney, relishes made from fruit or vegetables cooked with sugar and vinegar. You've perhaps already heard of mango chutney, which is made from ingredients like mangoes, raisins, ginger, curry, nutmeg, and cinnamon.

One of my favorite dishes is Chicken Tikka Masala. It's essentially chunks of chicken in a thick red sauce that has a hint of sweetness to it. The chicken is marinated in spices and yogurt, baked in a tandoor (clay) oven, and served in a masala (which means "mixture of spices") sauce.

And you should always order a side of naan, which is a flatbread also cooked in a tandoor oven. It's great for mopping up whatever remains of your masala sauce, much like the bread at an Italian restaurant is good for soaking up pasta sauce.

Other popular Indian dishes include Rogan Josh, Chole, and Palak Paneer.

A friend who eats a lot of Indian food says he orders Navratan Korma, Malai Kofta, and Biryani. He also says Mango Lassi is a good dessert -- and a must if the food is too spicy.

What are your favorite Indian dishes? Or what Indian dish have you always wanted to try?


Image via jasonlam/Flickr

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