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Indian 101

An Introduction to Cooking Indian Food

A Typical Indian Meal
Introduction to
A typical Indian meal consists of Indian food
a starter, a legume such as
dhal or lentils, one or two Indian cuisine is known around the world for its
diversity and its distinctive use of spices in creating
vegetable dishes and, a wide range of dishes, from the mild Kormas
for non-vegetarians, one and Tikka Masalas to the spicier Vindaloos.
or two meat dishes, all
Join us as we take you on a short tour of Indian
served with rice or bread and cooking, and open up a whole new world of
a variety of chutneys flavours that will enhance your everyday meals!
and pickles.
Dispelling the myths
Not all Indians are vegetarian, although most are,
which has contributed to the marvellous variety
of vegetable dishes found throughout India. Meat
is also eaten, mainly in the north, famous for its
tandoori cooking. Fish and shellfish are popular
along the coast, and pork is a specialty in Goa.
Contrary to popular belief, not all Indian food is hot.
The types of dishes vary from region to region -
cultural traditions, religion, and geography all play
a role in defining a typical Indian meal.

For more information, please visit our website
Not all Indian food is curry and not all curries are
the same. What we have come to know as “curry”
is a term referring to a dish that is made with
meat, vegetables or fish cooked in a spicy sauce.
Each sauce is characterized by the variety and
combination of spices used. Dishes cover the full
spectrum of tastes, from mild and delicately
flavoured to hot and spicy. The heat levels and
flavours are controlled by the amount and type of
spices added.

Indian Food Made Easy

The ingredients for preparing an Indian meal at
home are now readily available to you and your
family. And, thanks to Patak’s Foods, you no longer
have to spend hours in the kitchen, grinding and
mixing your own spices from scratch.
Patak’s conveniently-packaged curry pastes, cooking
sauces, chutneys and pickles make it easy to enjoy
an authentic Indian meal, or to add the flavours of
India to your everyday menus, one dish at a time.
Tired of the same old vegetables? Try our quick
recipe for stir-fried vegetables. Leftover blues?
Substitute cooked chicken or turkey for the meat
in any of our recipes.
The possibilities are endless. Enjoy.
Curry Pastes Biryani Paste - Traditionally used for Biryani recipes,
which combine meat, fish or poultry baked together
with rice in a pot. It is typical of the Andra Pradesh
Spice blends and pastes are the building blocks of
region of northern India. Medium hot.
Indian cooking. The different combination of spices
in each paste is what gives every dish its own Hot Curry Paste - For those who prefer extra
unique flavour. pungency to their dishes. Hot.
Pastes are a matter of personal preference, and Madras - This strong, spicy sauce, originating from
can be used interchangeably in recipes - what the main spice-growing region of Kerala in southern
distinguishes them is their different heat levels and India, has coriander, cumin, and red chilies. Ideal
the main spices used in each blend. for use with red meat. Hot
Patak’s Curry Pastes are blends of freshly ground
Mild Curry Paste - A delicate blend of mild spices
spices and herbs that are available in a wide range
ideal for a wide range of Indian dishes. Mild.
of flavours and heat levels from various regions of
India. Tandoori Paste - The traditional marinade for meats
that are to be cooked in the tandoor, a clay oven
used in northern India. Tandoori meats are noted
for the red colouring imparted from the spices. Mild.

Tikka Paste - Tikka means pieces of meat simmered

in spices and then grilled. This traditional Tikka paste
is rich with aromatic spices, including coriander and
ginger. Excellent with white meats and fish. Mild.

Vindaloo - The fiery Vindaloo takes its name from

a dish traditionally prepared with pork and vinegar.
Tomatoes, pepper and other spices give a rich,
tangy flavour. Hot.
Spiced Potatoes Spicy Vegetables
Ingredients Preheat oven to 375° F. Mix 2 tbsp (30 mL) Patak’s
1 lb (450 g) potatoes, peeled and cut Curry Paste with 6 tbsp (90 mL) olive oil and 2 tsp.
into chunks (10 mL) each minced garlic and ginger. Drizzle
5 tbsp (75 mL) vegetable oil over a mixture of chopped vegetables and roast,
1 medium onion, sliced uncovered, for 30 - 40 minutes or until tender,
2 tbsp (30 mL) Patak’s Mild Curry Paste stirring occasionally. Variation: Heat 3 tbsp
(45 mL) vegetable oil over medium-high heat in
Method a wok. Add 1 sliced onion and 1 or 2 tbsp (15 or
Par boil potatoes for 5 minutes. Drain. Heat the oil 30 mL) any Patak’s Curry Paste. Sauté 2 minutes.
in a large, heavy-bottomed frying pan over medium- Add your favourite vegetables, sliced, and cook
high heat. Sauté onions until golden brown. Reduce until tender.
heat and add Patak’s Mild Curry Paste. Cook for
2 minutes, adding a little water if the mixture seems
too dry. Add potatoes and sauté for 5 minutes,
adding more water or curry paste as required.
Variation: Try any one of Patak’s Curry Pastes for
different flavours and heat levels.

Mix 3 to 5 tbsp (45 to 75 mL) any Patak’s
Curry Paste with 1/4 cup (60 mL) natural plain
yogurt. Coat 1 lb (450 g) cubed meat with marinade,
cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours. Remove from
marinade and thread onto skewers. Grill. Serve
with Patak’s Cucumber and Mint Raita. For prawns
(at left), marinate for 20 minutes and then grill.
Cooking Sauces Rogan Josh - Tomato and paprika are at the heart
of this medium spicy sauce from the Kashmir
region of India. Josh means lamb, but this sauce is
If curry pastes are the building blocks of Indian equally delicious with chicken, beef or vegetables.
cooking, then sauces and their distinctive blend of
spices are the essence of what gives Indian food its Tikka Masala - A rich, tangy sauce from Rajasthan
variety of flavourful dishes. in northern India. Tikka Masala with chicken is the
most popular Indian restaurant dish. Its mild but full
Patak’s Cooking Sauces make it easy to prepare an flavour comes from a balanced blend of aromatic
authentic Indian meal at home. Simply sauté meat, spices. Goes well with chicken, fish and shellfish.
chicken, seafood or vegetables, add your favourite
sauce, simmer and serve with rice or bread. Patak’s Vindaloo - The hot and fiery Vindaloo was brought
sauces are available in a wide range of flavours rep- to Goa by the Portuguese as a popular sauce for
resenting the distinctive regional cuisines of India. pork, cooked with plenty of tomatoes, garlic, and
wine vinegar ideal for pork, chicken, beef and fish.
Butter Chicken - A popular Indian restaurant dish,
the original Butter Chicken recipe was created by Be creative!
restaurants in India to use up their leftover tandoori • If you like lamb with the Rogan Josh,
chicken and sauce. Tomatoes and butter give this try Madras Cooking Sauce next time
mild sauce a rich, creamy flavour.
• Freshen up leftover chicken and turkey with
Korma - This mildly-spiced north Indian sauce has Tikka Masala or Butter Chicken.
a rich, yet delicate coconut flavour with hints of
garlic, ginger and coriander. Goes well with fish,
chicken, and vegetables as well as lamb or beef.
Madras - This spicy, full-bodied sauce, originating
from the main spice-growing region of Kerala in
southern India, is ideal for use with red meats such
as beef and lamb. It has coriander, cumin, and red
chilies for a strong, authentic flavour.
Beef Madras
Meat is eaten throughout India, depending on
religious preferences. Lamb and chicken are
mainstays, while fish and seafood are popular
along the coast, and pork is a favorite in Goa.

1 tbsp (15 mL) vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
1 lb (450 g) stewing beef, cubed
1 jar (400 mL) Patak’s Madras Cooking Sauce
1 red bell pepper, cut into strips
3 tomatoes, cut into quarters
Fresh cilantro leaves, chopped, for garnish

Heat vegetable oil in a Dutch oven over medium-
high heat. Sauté the onion until just soft. Add the
beef and brown. Shake the jar of Patak’s Madras
Cooking Sauce and pour over the meat. Stir. Bring
to a boil and turn heat down to low. Cover and
simmer for 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally. Stir
in the chopped tomatoes and red peppers. Cook
for another 20 minutes or until the beef is tender.
Garnish with cilantro and serve. Variation: Equally
as good with lamb or chicken.
Prawn Tikka Masala
Try this variation of the popular chicken dish.
The name of the dish comes from the words
“tikka,” meaning cut into bite sized pieces,
and “masala,” referring to the blend of spices
used in the sauce.
2 tbsp (30 mL) vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 lb (450 g) large prawn tails, peeled and
1 jar (400 mL) Patak’s Tikka Masala
Cooking Sauce
2 tomatoes, chopped

Heat the oil in a large frying pan. Sauté the onions
until translucent. Shake the jar of Patak’s Tikka
Masala Cooking Sauce and stir into the onions.
Bring to a boil and then turn the heat down to
low. Add the prawns and simmer for 5 minutes or
until the prawns turn pink. Stir in the tomatoes just
before serving. Serve over rice or with chapattis.
Chicken & Vegetable Korma
Literally translated as “to braise,” korma recipes are
prepared by first browning the meat and vegetables
and then cooking them slowly to bring out their
flavour. Try this recipe with chicken, lamb or beef and
a selection of your favourite vegetables.

1 tbsp (15 mL) vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 lb (450 g) chicken, cubed
4 cups (1 L) assorted fresh vegetables
of your choice - carrots,
zucchini, cauliflower florets -
sliced or cut into chunks
1 jar (400 mL) Patak’s Korma Cooking Sauce
2 tomatoes, chopped

Heat the oil in a large pan and sauté the onions until
soft, about 2 minutes. Brown the chicken. Add the
remaining vegetables and cook for 3 minutes,
stirring occasionally. Shake the jar of Patak’s Korma
Cooking Sauce and stir into the vegetable mixture.
Cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes, until vegeta-
bles are cooked through. Stir in the chopped
tomatoes and serve over rice or with warm naan
bread. Variation: Substitute cooked chicken.
Starters, Snacks & Side Dishes
Chutneys & Pickles Raita
No Indian meal is complete without a selection of Raitas are yogurt relishes that are served as a side
chutneys and pickles. Their unique spicy-sweet, dish with snacks, breads and fried foods, and as a
salty-sour flavours help round out the spices used refreshing dip to cool the effects of hot curries.
in the main vegetable and meat dishes, and are All raitas have a yogurt base which is then flavoured
served as side dishes with every meal. with a variety of fresh vegetables or fruits. Patak’s
Cucumber and Mint Raita is great with grilled fish
and meats, and as a dip for samosas and fritters.
Similar to salsas, chutneys offer a unique blend of
sweetness and spiciness. In India, there are more Pappadums
than 3,000 varieties of chutney, and each family Pappadums are an Indian flatbread made from lentil
makes their own version. Patak’s Mango Chutneys flour. Served with a selection of chutneys and pickles,
are a special blend of fruits cooked in sugar and Patak’s plain or spiced pappadums enhance any
spices, and range from mild to hot. Indian meal, and are great on their own as a snack.
Chutneys are also incredibly versatile. Serve them Traditionally deep-fried in vegetable oil, pappadums
with snacks such as samosas, as a topping for can be cooked in a toaster oven or microwave.
grilled meats, or added to wraps and sandwiches.

Indian pickles or relishes are similar to chutneys,
except that they are hot and salty where chutneys
are sweet. Patak’s pickles are a combination of
fruits or vegetables, simmered together with a
blend of spices, sugar and vinegar to produce a
savoury accompaniment to meals.
Quick Tips for Everyday Meals
Patak’s curry pastes, cooking sauces, chutneys • For a succulent burst of flavour, rub a
and pickles make it easy to add the flavours of whole leg of lamb or beef roast with a
India to your everyday meals. Think beyond mixture of 3 tbsp (45 mL) Patak’s Madras
curries to marinades for summertime grilling, Curry Paste and 1/2 cup (125 mL) natural
spice rubs for meats, and quick fixes for plain yogurt. Wrap in plastic and let stand
vegetables. to marinade for 2 hours. Follow standard
roasting instructions.
• Combine 2 tbsp (30 mL) Patak’s Tikka
Curry Paste with 1/4 cup (60 mL) natural • Add 1 or 2 tsp (5 or 10 mL) of your
plain yogurt. Mix into 1 lb (450 g) ground favourite Patak’s pickles to salad dressings
beef, shape into patties, and grill. Serve and sandwich spreads.
on buns, topped with lettuce and Patak’s
• Mix Patak’s Mango Chutney with natural
Sweet Mango Chutney.
plain yogurt for a vegetable or fruit dip.
Patak’s line of Indian
cooking sauces,
curry pastes,
vegetable curries,
pickles, and

Photos: Patak’s Foods Ltd. and John Freeman, Meena Pathak’s Flavours of India
is available in
supermarkets and
grocery stores
across Canada.

For more recipes and information on Indian food, visit our Canadian website