No Worries Curries Blog: Indian Cuisine

Paneer (Indian Cheese) and its Uses in Indian Cuisine

By Conchita de Souza

Paneer (Indian Cheese) and its Uses in Indian Cuisine

Paneer is an unripened cheese that is made from coagulating milk and lemon juice or vinegar. It is hung in muslin so that the excess liquid (whey) separates from the solids and leaves you with the curds which can then be pressed into blocks.

Thanks to its plain flavour and flexibility in form, paneer can be prepared in numerous ways and is always a favourite ingredient for vegetarians.

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A Reflection on my Father - The Chef

By Conchita de Souza

A Reflection on my Father - The Chef
What is (or was) your father like? The kind that dishes out tough love or the kind that always cracks lame dad jokes? Is he into watching his sports or does he prefers to be adventuring amongst nature? Is he a DIY dad or one that can’t tell a spanner from a ratchet?

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A Background to Chillies

By Claudette D'Cruz

A Background to Chillies

This humble plant from South America has been hybridised to suit many continents. Chillies are the second most significant spice traded in the world (after pepper). Turkey and China are believed to be the world’s largest commercial producers of chilli.

Most Indian curry mixes contain Chillies. 

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A Beginner's Guide to Using Spices in Indian Cooking

By Conchita de Souza

A Beginner's Guide to Using Spices in Indian Cooking
To help you get started, we have put together a brief guide to using spices in Indian cuisine.

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Indian Festivals: Navratri or Durga Puja

By Conchita de Souza

Indian Festivals: Navratri or Durga Puja
Navratri in Sanskrit, means ‘nine nights’ (‘nava’ is ‘nine’ and ‘ratri’ is ‘nights’) and the festival goes exactly for that duration. It is dedicated to the Goddess Durga (also known as Maa Durga)and the nine avatars (forms) which she manifests herself. Each night celebrates one of her forms. During this time, devotees come together to fast, worship and celebrate the different forms of the devi (female god) and her victory over the demon Mahishasur.

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Indian Festivals: Ganesh Chaturthi - The Birthday of The Elephant God

By Conchita de Souza

Indian Festivals: Ganesh Chaturthi - The Birthday of The Elephant God
Ganesh Chaturthi is 10 day-long festival celebrating the birth of Lord Ganesha - the elephant God. Lord Ganesha is the God of Wisdom, Success and Prosperity and therefore he is honoured at the commencement of all things big and small, so that they may turn out well. Whether it be the beginning of a road trip or the beginning of a child’s first day at school, his name will always be invoked.

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Indian Festivals: Holi - The Festival of Colour

By Conchita de Souza

Indian Festivals: Holi - The Festival of Colour
Holi is probably the most fun of Indian festivals, that is if you don’t mind being bejewelled with a multitude of colours and squirted with water guns by friends and strangers alike. It is celebrated with more fervour in the North than compared with the South. 

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Pulses: Protein-Packed Plant Food

By Claudette D'Cruz

Pulses: Protein-Packed Plant Food

With today’s mantra of eat more plant food we see posh fruit and juice parlours sprouting around. Instagram is lush with tantalising pictures of luscious fruit and vibrant vegetables arranged in all manner of aesthetics by raw food enthusiasts.  But fruit and vegetables are not the only plant food we can enjoy.  Let’s take a look at what replaces a steak on an Indian plate - pulses.

With 47% of Indians following a vegetarian (lacto-ovo) diet there are a whole variety of pulses included in every meal.  They are cheap but provide high nutrition and the protein component in meals for millions.  Pulses are eaten at each meal both in sweet and savoury recipes.  In many Indian households lunch or dinner would consist of a dhal, a bean dish, 2 seasonal vegetables, rice and or chappati accompanied by pickle, papadums and a sweet dish.

Dhal for most Indians is synonymous with soul food.  A hot steaming bowl of dhal and some rice/roti to accompany it and you have a satisfying meal in minutes.  There are several varieties of Dhals and we will endeavour to explain some of them.

  • URAD (black coloured lentils) are black in colour and about the same shape and size as moong beans. They are highly nutritious and recommended for diabetics as are other pulses. Only needs washing before cooking.
  • CHANA (yellow split-pea lentils) have a deep yellow colour and look like the halves of a chick-pea, only smaller in size. They take a long time to cook and hence are perfect for use in a slow cooker. Need to be soaked to reduce cooking time.
  • MASOOR (orange coloured lentils) are most commonly used in many homes. They take the shortest time to cook and are excellent for quick meals. Wash thoroughly till the water runs clear.
  • MOONG (green coloured lentils) are easy to digest hence they are prepared for children. They are also used in sweet dishes like in the south (Godsheh in Goa and Vorn in Mangalore) and in the north (Moong Dal Halwa) – which is reminiscent of the Chinese Moon Cake.

The six major pulse groups grown in Australia are: Broad Beans, Chickpea, Field Peas, Lentils, Lupin and Mungbean.  Pulses are universally recommended as part of a healthy eating plan and feature prominently in some of the world’s healthiest diets such as the Mediterranean diet.  So feel positively pulsed and enjoy these easy recipes, which we have hyperlinked below:

  • DHAL MAKHANI - The richest of all the dhal dishes thanks to the addition of cream and butter. 
  • JEERA TADKA DHAL -  Basic everyday dhal that gets most of its flavour from the 'tadka', which is the tempering of condiments like cumin seeds, dried red chilli and curry leaves, in hot oil, which is then added to the lentil curry. 
  • CHANA DHAL - This lentil is much thicker than its counterparts and usually requires to be soaked in water before cooking. 
  • PALAK (Spinach) DHAL  - The addition of spinach in this dhal dish is so divine, you will want to consume it as a soup, rather than just a curry. 


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