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Indian cooking 101 - A table of recipes and spices

Written By Reena on 11 Mar 2011 | 05:00

I am often told that lengthy ingredients lists deter people from cooking Indian food - the (incorrect) assumption being that the number of ingredients reflects the difficulty of the recipe.  Any of you who have tried the recipes on this blog already will know that:
  1. The techniques are not difficult
  2. I avoid using any special equipment
  3. I try to write the recipes in a logical manner such that as long as you follow them word for word (and don't think too much!) the recipe should work.  
Another deterrent is the cost of buying numerous ingredients that you may only use a pinch of in a single dish.  The remainder of the (inevitably pricey) ingredient loiters in the back of a cupboard, goes off date and then is thrown away - just before you need it again!

For those of you that don't have a well stocked spice rack I have put together a table of the most popular recipes on this blog and placed them in an order that means you need to only buy one (occasionally two) dry spices at a time.  As your spice rack grows you can make more of the recipes.  I have however assumed that you won't mind buying fresh ingredients such as chillies, garlic, coriander and ginger as these are relatively cheap and can be used in many other recipes.

As I have mentioned before please don't buy your spices from your supermarket - go to your local Indian grocery store where you will receive four times the amount of spice for the same price.  The only downside is that you may need a spice cupboard rather than a spice rack!

I hope the table below encourages you to cook more Indian food.  I think you will find that it isn't difficult and the results are delicious.

Can do lamb curry Y Y Y
Gujarati meatballs Y Y Y
Corn on the cob y y y y
Serial killer chicken curry Y Y Y Y
Spicy spinach Y Y Y
Chickpea curry Y Y Y Y Y
Lamb and lentil curry Y Y Y Y Y
Spinach and sweet potato Y Y
Sweetcorn curry Y Y Y Y Y
Killer chicken curry Y Y Y Y
Gujarati okra Y Y Y Y Y
Butterbean curry Y Y Y Y Y Y
Egg curry Y Y Y Y Y Y
Stuffed aubergines Y Y Y Y Y
Spicy prawns/ fish/ bread Y Y Y Y Y
Yoghurt chicken Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Chicken biryani Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Pav bhaji Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Potato curry Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
BBQ recipes
Lamb kebabs
Lamb chops Y Y Y Y
Chicken tikka Y Y Y Y


About Reena


  1. Thank you for the table! It's easy to understand, and it makes the prospect of buying new spices (and trying new recipes) seem so much less intimidating.

  2. Hi Ryan, I'm so pleased it is useful! Good luck with the cooking. Reena

  3. What a brilliant idea! ... and I agree a spice cupboard reflect more of my reality than a mere rack.

  4. Hi Robin. Lovely to hear from you again. I'm now at the point where my current cupboard is bursting at the seams. I'm going to start hinting for a bigger kitchen...! Reena

  5. That really is a lovely, helpful chart! Would you mind clarifying for me one little thing-- is there a pre-mixed blend of cumin and coriander I could seek out, or is there a ratio you recommend?

  6. Hi Bevvbevv, I buy a premixed blend of Coriander and cumin powder from Indian grocery stores. I am not sure of the exact ratio of coriander to cumin but my best guess would be 2:1. If it is easier then just use half of each and I'm sure that it will taste delicious. Hope that helps. Reena

  7. What a clever and considerate idea, well done! I don't personally mind buying a selection of new spices for a dish, but I know lots of people who do. My spice rack is more of a spice drawer, and it's pretty well groaning under the weight of everything in it!

  8. Hi Souperior, thank you for your kind words. I wasn't sure that the table would be that useful to people and so it's good to hear that it is. Take care, Reena

  9. @Bevvbevv, My mum has just explained to me how to make coriander-cumin powder. Apparently, the proportions are: 3/4 coriander seeds to 1/4 cumin seeds + a little turmeric for colour. So now we know officially!

  10. I'm extremely impressed with your writing skills as well as with the layout on your blog. Is this a paid theme or did you customize it yourself? Anyway keep up the excellent quality writing, it's rare to
    see a great blog like this one these days.

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  11. Thanks anonymous. I got the template from Design Magz and then my husband customised it for me. Take care. Reena