As part of our Winter Chat series provided for patients and staff, Riggs Food Services Manager, Adrian Bennett, gave an informative and delicious demonstration on how to prepare and cook four basic Indian dishes (Lemony Red Lentil Dahl, Cilantro Mint Chutney, Vegetable Biryani and Kachumbar) that the audience gratefully sampled at the conclusion.
Adrian walked us through the six flavors of Indian food, which are identified as sweet, sour, salty, bitter, pungent (hot/spicy), and astringent (drying). He remarked that Indian culture looks to balance the colors and textures of food on the plate and aims to incorporate all six flavors, if not on every plate, then in the sum of meals eaten every day.
He also voiced his view that many of the ingredients used in preparing Indian food, such as the basmati rice (which is like regular rice, but with the hull and bran removed) or ghee (clarified butter), are often easier for our bodies to digest and extract useful nutrients from.
Adrian also provided some helpful cooking tips, such as:
- Let basmati rice soak in hot water for a while, then rinse a few times before cooking to keep from overcooking and sticking together once cooked.
- Peel the ginger root with the edge of a metal spoon to waste as little ginger as possible.
- To always have ginger root, wrap it in plastic, then foil and keep it in freezer. When you need some, you can grate it in its frozen state and return it to the freezer.
- To keep pepper seeds from scattering, slice off the top and bottom of the pepper, and then cut in a circular fashion around the seeds.
The lively cooking, presentation and conversations made the evening a real success. Thank you Adrian for your culinary expertise!
To see the recipes Adrian prepared, please click on the PDF below.