I assumed for the longest time that Indian cuisine is one of those things where if you did not learn from your grandmother or mother then you are at the mercy of your nearest Indian restaurant to have delicious Indian food. But with the internet there is a bounty of recipes to try, and most likely you will run into a recipe that will hit that sweet spot.
Also, exotic ingredients are so much easier to come by now with online shopping. Fortunately I do have an Indian market nearby which makes it very convenient to get the essentials for cooking Indian food.
One of my favorite Indian dishes is lentil curry, which theoretically seems simple but I just never got around to making it myself. I came across this Dal Makhani (Indian Lentils) recipe by SOGOLONDJATA on AllRecipes and I was encouraged after reading the description explaining how the recipe is a result of lots of different recipes and experimentation.
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As the recipe explains, the optional ingredient, fenugreek leaves, can be hard to find. At my local Indian grocer they have frozen fenugreek leaves (Kasuri Methi) which works great, but you can find dry ones online.
I tried the recipe without fenugreek leaves first and then tried it again with fenugreek leaves, and it does make a noticeable difference in the flavor. It’s not a strong flavor, but more of a further depth in flavor. It is kind of hard to explain (celery leaves/fennel?), but it definitely tasted more authentic with the leaves.
When finding fenugreek leaves, do not confuse with fenugreek seeds. If you see fenugreek powder (a beige color) which is a little more regularly available, it is a powder of the seeds. The seeds and leaves aren’t as contrasting in flavor as fresh coriander/cilantro and coriander seeds, but the fenugreek leaves are a bit milder than the seeds. Therefore, if you do end up using fenugreek powder instead of leaves, don’t use 2 tablespoons as in the recipe–reduce to about 1 teaspoon. Too much fenugreek seed powder and it will make the flavor quite bitter.
The other optional ingredient is heavy cream. I actually bought cream for the recipe and then totally forgot to add it in at the end. But I loved it without the cream. I could see that the cream would probably make it richer, so if you like a nice creamy and rich curry, I would recommend mixing in some heavy cream.Follow me on social media!