All you must know about Indian Culture(Food, Spices & Wedding)

Top 10 Indian Food You Must Try!

If you hold the impression that Indian food is only for those who can handle fiery-hot flames in their mouth, you’ll have to stand corrected. Indian food is more than just being spicy – there are many dishes that are simply flavourful and will definitely make your tummy happy. If you want to tickle your taste buds, read on to find out the top 10 Indian meals that you must try!

    1. Biryani

Calling all rice lovers: this is one dish you really shouldn’t skip! Biryani is an aromatic rice dish cooked with an array of spices, including the most-expensive saffron, and you can get it with your choice of protein – either chicken, mutton or even fish in some eateries in Malaysia. It also comes with a hard-boiled egg that complements the fragrant rice and spicy curries.

    1. Tandoori Chicken

The word Tandoor simply means an oven and so, tandoori chicken is basically an oven roasted chicken. But what sets it apart from the Western roasted chicken is the fact that the savoury with a hint of smoky flavour tandoori chicken comes in a bright red-orange hue, courtesy of the spice mix of turmeric, cayenne pepper, chilli powder and paprika. Tandoori chicken is usually served with a lime wedge and some fresh onions.

    1. Thosai

Just like how Westerners have pancakes for breakfast, Indian folks have their own version of pancakes called Thosai. These are pancakes made from lentil batters and it is often served with coconut chutney and sambar, a fragrant, orange-hued, meatless curry.

    1. Vadai

Coming straight from South India, vadais are usually a snack made out of lentil or flour batter. These look almost doughnut-like but keep in mind that these are savoury snacks and can sometimes be a little spicy. Some folks prefer eating it straight as it is while others prefer dipping it into curries or even the Indian desserts, payasam.

    1. Chappati

Chappati is an unleavened flatbread made out of Atta flour, an Indian wheat flour, and it can be pretty bland when eaten on its own. It’s best to eat this with curries or meat dishes and many resort to this meal option as a healthier alternative compared to other Indian meals.

    1. Naan

If you’re into fluffy breads, you’ll definitely love naan. This is a flatbread made out of wheat or all-purpose flour and it is baked by sticking it to the sides of a tandoor oven. Naan goes perfectly with mint sauce and tandoori chicken but it’s such a versatile flatbread that it can even be eaten with curries or chutneys.

    1. Murtabak

Murtabak is basically a Roti Canai, made from wheat flour, ghee and water, which is packed with spices, eggs, minced meat, onions, ginger and garlic. It’s often cut into little squares and dipped into curry with a little side of fresh onions for those who want a little freshness to the dish.

    1. B utter Chicken

Living in Malaysia, you would most probably be familiar with the butter chicken that comes with curry leaves and bits of chillies. However, there is another version of it and that is the Indian variant where the chicken dish comes in a mildly spiced curry sauce with dollops of yoghurt. This can be eaten with rice or flatbread.

    1. Banana Leaf Rice

The banana leaf meal is a staple food to many Indians around the world. Rice is served on a banana leaf along with an array of curries, pickles and vegetables. There will also be meat and fish dishes that you can pick from to complement your banana leaf meal. This meal will almost always come with papadams which is basically Indian crackers made out of lentils.

    1. Raita

Raita is never eaten on its own, instead it is eaten along with many other Indian dishes to cool off the spiciness. This is a yoghurt-based sauce with a mixture of spices such as cilantro, cumin, mint and other herbs. In Malaysia, it’s often the case that raitas come with cucumbers, shallots and sometimes even carrots and tomatoes in it.

Indian Spices: Your Guide to the Essentials

Indian cuisine is often beautifully fragrant thanks to its extensive use of various spices. This doesn’t simply mean the dishes would be flaming hot as spices aren’t just spicy – they are used to flavour the food and when used alongside other spices, they magically merge to produce unique tastes. If you’re keen on exploring the world of spices of an Indian kitchen, we have just the thing for you!

    1. Cardamom

Indian cooking usually uses two types of cardamom – it’s either the green type or the black type. The former is the more common variety as it provides a light flavour and it’s sweet. The green cardamom is used by either blending it whole to form a fine powder or popping the pod open and lightly crushing the fragrant black seeds before using. Meanwhile, the black cardamom has a very powerful and smoky taste and it’s best to practice caution when using this.

    1. Clove

These are another common spice in the Indian kitchen and if you’ve ever eaten an Indian dish, you would have spotted a clove or two in the food. This spice gives off a strong and somewhat medicinal flavour. It can be used whole or blended into spice mixes and just like the black cardamom, it’s advisable that you use this with caution as too much of it can overpower other delicate spices.

    1. Black Pepper

Did you know that black pepper is actually native to India? Well, now you do. Just like most other spices, black pepper can be toasted before blending but it is often grounded fresh directly into the dishes for that extra kick of flavour.

    1. Cumin

This spice, when added to a dish, adds a wonderfully smoky note. It’s best to use cumin freshly grounded for an intense flavour. You can also roast these spices but be careful not to burn it as cumin burns really easily and that produces a very bitter taste that will be noticeable in your dish. A rough guide would be to just toast it for about 30 seconds and nothing more before blending into fine powder.

    1. Coriander

Coriander is one of the oldest-known spices in the world and this particular spice is very aromatic with a hint of citrusy. Coriander is usually dry-roasted until the golden-yellow colour changes into a light golden-brown colour and you can be sure that it’s done when the seeds starts popping in the pan. These toasted seeds are then grounded into fragrant spice mixes.

    1. Nutmeg

Fresh nutmeg is obtained by removing the pulpy exterior and sliding off the mace. This spice is then dried so that it would be able to last pretty much forever. Experts in Indian cuisines usually advice to buy it whole and grate it when required as nutmegs don’t tend to hold on to their flavour for a long time when grounded.

    1. Mustard Seeds

These tiny seeds can either be yellow, black or even brown and it is a common sight in many Indian dishes. The smoky and nutty flavour of this spice is released when it is crushed or cooked in oil. This particular flavour is especially important in curries and curry powders.

    1. Fenugreek

Fenugreek seeds are a vault of fragrance and it’s best not to use too much of it as it can ruin the overall taste of the dish. It gives off a very earthy and musky flavour that can be heavenly only when used in small doses. Fenugreek is also commonly used in traditional medicines.

    1. Turmeric

This yellow little thing is a common Indian spice – it wouldn’t be an Indian kitchen without turmeric! You can opt to use it fresh or even dried. Turmeric is famous for its various health benefits and it is used in an array of spice mixes and curries. Its yellow hue is pretty strong so it’s advisable to use it in small quantities to add a dash of golden colour your dishes and be sure that you are careful with it as it can leave stains on your clothes as well as your utensils.

    1. Saffron

Saffron is the most expensive spice in the world and believe it or not, this spice is actually more valuable in weight compared to gold. This is mainly due to the extensive labour required to produce saffron. This spice gives off an intense flavour and it is used sparingly by dissolving it in warm water or milk before incorporating it into the dishes.

Indian Weddings: More than Just Glitz & Glamour

When the term “Indian Weddings” is said, the first thought that comes into most people’s mind is usually glitzy sarees and an array of sweet and spicy delicacies. However, there is more to Indian weddings than merely that. If that has sparked your curiosity then read on to immerse yourself in the colourful world of Indian weddings.

    1. What’s An Indian Wedding Like?

In Malaysia, a typical Indian wedding is split into two parts. The first part is the wedding ceremony where a Hindu priest will officiate it by carrying out a series of rituals. These are derived from the oldest sacred texts of Hinduism, known as the Vedas, and the priest will also perform the Ganesha pooja, which is basically a religious ritual. Usually taking place in a temple, guests will be able to witness the couple’s parents blessing them and the newlyweds walking around a holy fire for three times. Don’t be alarmed when you see them cracking coconuts as this is an auspicious ritual offering.

    1. The Real Star of the Day

Just like how celebrities have outfit changes during prominent award shows, the bride of an Indian wedding is also required to change outfits during the ceremony. When she arrives at the temple, she will usually be wearing a saree bought by her soon-to-be husband. Once the rituals are done, the bride will then change into a saree given to her by her, now, newlywed husband.

    1. All Decked Out

What’s an Indian bride without jewellery? Believe it or not, gold jewelleries are actually a crucial part of a bride’s wedding outfit. These usually comes from the bride’s parents itself and at times, the groom’s parents will add to it. Aside from showcasing one’s status, these jewelleries were, traditionally, a form of asset.

    1. Time Is Of Essence

When it comes to weddings, it’s not out of the norm to see couples picking significant dates but Indians don’t just stop there. Time is also an equally important factor and this is usually picked after consulting a priest in the temple. The priest calculates the bride and the groom’s date of birth along with their Indian star signs and come up with the perfect date and time for them to get hitched – even if it’s the wee hours of the morning!

    1. Drown the Couple in Rice

If you have been to an Indian wedding or even just watching an Indian movie, you would have notice that guests usually throw fistfuls of rice grains at the couple when the groom is tying the thali, the golden necklace or string, on his bride. This is not at all hostile as the rice grains, coated in turmeric powder, is used as a form of blessing and it symbolizes prosperity.

    1. Dress To Impress!

Indian weddings are colourful events and so, guests will have no worry of standing out too much in their fancy ad shiny outfits. Go crazy with your accessories but just remember that you shouldn’t outshine the bride on her important day. Also, avoid wearing all-white or black attire to these occasions as these colours usually symbolize death and mourning in the Indian tradition.

    1. Wondering what’s The Best Gift?

There’s no need to stress over what gift to buy for the newlyweds as, just like Malay and Chinese weddings, Indian weddings usually encourage monetary gifts. Just place your token into an envelope and sign your name on it as these will be recorded by the newlyweds. Note that monetary gifts should be in odd numbers as this figure can’t be split evenly and so, it symbolizes that the newlyweds will be tied together, forever.

    1. Get Your Dancing Shoes On!

The second part of the wedding, the reception, is often carried out later in the evening where the guests are treated to bountiful Indian cuisines with a side of musical performance. That’s not all – when everyone has a happy, filled tummy, the night usually ends with some serious, sweat-dripping dancing!

    1. The Bigger, The Better

Indian weddings are usually an elaborately grand occasion so expect to see a lot of guests – including extended family members that the newlyweds do not know personally. Due to this, unlike Malay and Chinese weddings, guests don’t usually have the opportunity to take photos with the new couple. If you really want a photo, try to slit one in while presenting your monetary gift.

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