India is home to 1.3 billion people where 16 languages are spoken and upwards of 36 distinct cuisines exist with endless combinations and variations. What binds together the culinary diversity of this nation is its spices. A part of Indian culture for 3,000 years, these spices are legendary for their medicinal properties and their delightful flavours in enhancing food.
At Dhaba Casual Fine Dining, customers new to Indian food, think its spicy hot. There are spices but its not just chilis. There are an assortment of spices and combination of, that brings forth its own aroma and character to a dish.
For starters, there is no such thing as curry powder in an Indian kitchen. The jarred stuff you find on supermarket shelves is purely a Western convenience product. Though it brings forth flavor to bland recipes, all the dishes taste the same. In India, we make our own spice mixes that vary by region, with different blends used for different types of meats and vegetables. The varieties are endless. Each spice holds its own place on the kitchen shelf and combined with each other, create magic. If done properly.
Spice mixes can be very complicated and the timing of adding spices to a dish can be very critical. The base spices are similar in all regions of India but the quantity and emphasis varies thus bringing reginal variations to dishes. For example, six to ten spices are added to make chicken curry. In North Indian recipes more emphasis is placed on tomato and cumin; while, South Indian emphasis is on fennel seed and chilis.
After serving over 160,000 meals in Dhaba’s 5 years of operation, Co-owners and Executive chefs Faizal and Salma Junus decided to open a Sweets and Spice Shoppe to enhance home cooking for the novice and offer a variety of Indian spices to the advanced home cooking enthusiast.