Sooner or later we all get bored with the same type of food and look for something new, something we haven't tried yet. Indian food is a great way to learn more about the cuisines of the world. There is a common misconception about Indian food, apparently some people think that Indian cuisine is full of fat, curry powder, and a myriad of spices and is really hot.
I am comfortable saying that this is not true. There are a plethora of dishes that are using only some or a major spice to bring out the flavor of the ingredients used and although they are 'sinful' Indian dishes, many of them are actually healthy and surprisingly Roasted, boiled or fried vegetables.
Sometimes there is not enough time or enough confidence to cook some exotic food and this is when an Indian restaurant comes in handy. I'll put together a list of five points to make sure your first experience with Indian food is as good as these dishes deserve.
- Choose a good restaurant. Though this is not always true, most of the time you pay more for better service. Don't let the somewhat high price tag put you off, the best restaurants make their gravy and spice blends from scratch using only the best quality ingredients. The process takes time and costs more than using canned ingredients but you'll probably agree with me when I say the result is worth it.
- Educate yourself about the items on the menu. If you're not sure which name means which food, ask a waiter or someone you trust. It is not rude to ask a waiter or cook what a dish is made of and how hot it will be. You are probably new to this culture and it is strange to be curious.
- Wash your hands thoroughly before sitting at the table. This obviously goes without saying, but you'll see why I insist on it. Many Indian dishes are eaten with bare hands without cutlery, and for hygienic reasons as well as a good way to ensure that you wash your hands before eating. Use your right hand to eat as the left hand is considered impure in Indian culture. If you don't think you'll want to use your fingers to pick up the rice by all means, go ahead and ask for cutlery. The employees of these restaurants are accustomed to these questions.
- Always choose dishes that go together. If you have a hot main course, try having a plate of lentils or something lighter for a side dish. Kashmiri food is usually a light creamy serving served with rice or flat bread. If you don't know what to choose, always ask the chef or waiter, they'll be more than happy to answer these questions because they mean you care about what you eat. People like you if you show interest in their culture.
- Find someone more experienced and take their advice. If you have friends who love Indian restaurants and food, you can go with them and try some of their suggestions and enjoy eating out as well.
Choosing an Indian restaurant is easy, but as a sixth step I would suggest doing some homework and looking at local places and Indian food recipes first. You'll probably find something you want to try and make at home later, when you realize that making these delicious recipes on your own isn't that difficult.