No Worries Curries Blog: Indian Food

Indian Cultured Foods - Natural Sources of Probiotics to Promote Gut Health

By Conchita de Souza

Indian Cultured Foods - Natural Sources of Probiotics to Promote Gut Health
Broadly speaking, the term “gut health” refers to the bacteria that lives in your digestive tract (known as gastrointestinal tract). The bacteria contained within is affected by numerous factors starting from how we were born (c-section or vaginal birth), to the environment we grew up in as well as what we eat.

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Capital of a Nation & of Culinary Delights - Delhicious Delhi

By Conchita de Souza

Capital of a Nation & of Culinary Delights - Delhicious Delhi
I spent close to two years living in a large suburb called Noida - just on the outskirts of Delhi. Many a weekend was spent taking the over-populated, but very clean and well-connected metro into town and exploring all corners of Delhi. Much like any large city, each quarter had something different to offer; from high end shopping in the white colonial buildings of Connaught Place (CP, as it is is affectionately abbreviated) to exploring historical sites like an ancient step-well situated just ten minutes from the city centre. 

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Part 1: Five Cooling Indian-Inspired Dishes For A Hot Aussie Summer

By Conchita de Souza

Part 1: Five Cooling Indian-Inspired Dishes For A Hot Aussie Summer
As we sweat our way through another sweltering Aussie summer (wouldn’t have it any other way!), we have put together some Indian-inspired dishes to help you to beat the heat down under.

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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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Kerala - A Journey Through God's Own Country (Part 1)

By Conchita de Souza

Kerala - A Journey Through God's Own Country (Part 1)
A friend and I were backpacking across the south of Kerala. He had come from Sydney to tour India, and I told him we’d do the south together. Our plan was to visit four different towns/regions in nine days, using local transport as our means for moving. I was excited for this trip, because I knew that Kerala was much like my home state Goa - filled with friendly fisherfolk, delicious seafood and cuisines rich in one of my favourite ingredients - coconut!  Yet the differences were also apparent between these coconut-ty dwellings, especially when looking at language, dress styles and traditions. A familiar flavour, but an entirely different dish - this is how I would explore and experience Kerala.

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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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All That Glitters is Gold - India's Use of Turmeric, the Golden Spice

By Conchita de Souza

All That Glitters is Gold - India's Use of Turmeric, the Golden Spice
Along with yoga, ayurveda, chai and namastes, turmeric (known as haldi in Hindi) is another heritage  of Indian culture and tradition which has been recently embraced by the western world. In India, the status of turmeric is far greater than just that of a spice (though if anyone classified me as a spice, I’d be chuffed as anything). This humble root is from the ginger family and its properties have been recognised, revered and used for over four thousand years. It is known as the ‘spice of life’ because of its golden hue, which is associated with the life-giving star - our sun.

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