4 Tips For Trying Indian Cuisine Without Getting Burned

Food & Cooking Blog

Indian food has a reputation for being hot and spicy, and that can scare away diners who dislike very hot spices on their food. However, you shouldn't let the cuisine's spicy reputation prevent you from trying out this flavorful cuisine. It is possible to order Indian food with milder flavors, and if you're curious to try the cuisine but don't want to risk burning your tongue, it helps to know what you can order that won't be too hot. Take a look at some ordering tips for diners new to Indian cuisine.

Start with Korma

If you want to try an Indian curry that's accessible even to those with delicate palates, korma is the place to start. In the United Kingdom, Indian cuisine is an overwhelming favorite, but most Brits eschew spicy food. So what are they ordering? The favored kind of curry in the U.K. is korma, and chances are that if you avoid spicy foods, korma will suit your American taste buds as well.

Korma sauce is sweet and has a mildly nutty flavor, as it often contains cashews. The base of the sauce is made with coconut milk, butter, and yogurt, and it's spiced with mild spices like cumin and coriander. Chicken korma is probably the most accessible dish, though you may enjoy lamb or vegetable korma as well.

Give Tandoori a Try

Diners new to Indian food often avoid tandoori chicken because of its fiery red appearance, but that appearance can be deceiving – tandoori chicken, especially in the US, is more smoky and savory than hot and spicy. The bright red color of the chicken comes from the spices used on the chicken: paprika, turmeric, and possibly some chili powder or cayenne pepper, but not enough to overwhelm the taste buds.

The name "tandoori" comes from the type of oven the chicken is cooked in, the tandoor oven. This is an open-top cylindrical oven that's made from clay and insulated with concrete on the outside. Meats cooked in a tandoor oven are placed on a skewer and roasted inside or over the mouth of the oven. The meat picks up subtle flavors from the spices that work their way into the clay of the oven and season the meat while cooking. Chicken cooked in a tandoori oven has a unique flavor that you won't want to miss.

Order a Side of Raita

If you're feeling adventurous and want to take a chance on a dish that might be spicy that you're not too familiar with, you can hedge your bets by ordering it with a side of raita. Raita is a condiment that goes well with a variety of Indian food.

Raita is made from yogurt and vegetables – most commonly cucumbers or beetroot. Occasionally, raita is made with fruits like mangoes or pineapple. Spices like ginger, mint, or coriander further enhance the flavor. If you're familiar with Greek tzatziki sauce, you'll find that cucumber raita is similar. Raita has a cooling effect on spicy food, so you can use it to balance out the heat of a dish that turned out to be unexpectedly spicy, similar to the way you might combine sour cream with spicy salsa.

Snack on Samosas

For an easy introduction to Indian food that doesn't need to be spicy, try ordering a plate of samosas. This is a type of pocket food that you can pick up and eat with your hands. They're crispy flour pastry shells that are either fried or baked and filled with vegetables like onions, potatoes, and peas.

Samosas are often served with chutney, which comes in two main varieties: red and green. Neither are spicy. The red chutney is made from tamarind and has a sweet and sour flavor, and the green is typically made from mint or coriander. You can also dip samosas in raita if you prefer.

Don't let a fear of spicy foods stop you from expanding your culinary horizons. If you have any doubts, just ask the server who takes your order about heat levels. They'll be glad to help you find a tasty dish that suits your spice preferences. For more information, contact companies like Deccan Spice.


25 August 2017

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