Interesting Facts About India’s Food You Thought You Knew

Little Did You Know

Food is much a part of India’s art and culture and many recipes today go back thousands of years in the nation’s history. With a tale that long, surely outside influences have come to shape and color India’s cuisine as we know now. The vast country’s myriad of dishes may not all be homegrown. Let’s look along those lines and what else.

Indian food is said to be based on six kinds of tastes or rasas – sweet(madhura), salty (lavana), sour(amala), pungent(katu), bitter(tikta) and astringent(kasya). This is the wisdom of Ayurvedic nutrition, much revered by the people of India, as they believe the tongue says it all – the natural guide map to proper nutrition.

Deep fried balls of dough or gulab jamun, which are dipped in sugar syrup, are not really from India. They originated in the Mediterranean region of Luqmat al Qadi, long before they came to India.

The popular samosa, the fried or baked dish with savory fillings, is from the Middle East and only came to India prior to the 13th to 14th century. Jalebi or Zalebi, the deep-fried, pretzel-shaped maida flour batter is also from the Middle East.

From Nepal, came India’s Daal Chawal/Daal Bhaat, which is steamed rice and a cooked lentil soup. Rajma, vegetarian dish of red kidney beans, originally belongs to Mexico. Naan, India’s oven-baked flatbread, has Persian roots. The famous saffron spice is not originally Indian; it was brought by Greek, Arab and Roman traders in the Middle Ages. And did you know that the world-famous Chicken Tikka Masala is Scottish in origin?

There’s more! Black rice is found only in India and China and is also known as forbidden or magic rice. Coffee was unknown to India before the 16th century. And thanks to the British! It was only around the 16th century when tomato, potato, and sugar were introduced in India. The lowest meat consumption in the world per person – you guessed right – India!

Having Fun with Amazing Food Facts in Bellevue

Know more when you dine at Moksha, your Indian restaurant in Bellevue. You never thought you knew until now. Have a little fun while enjoying our authentic Indian selections. Dine sumptuous, healthy and sustainable.

Serving Udupi Cuisine

Udupi Cuisine: The Love of Vegetarians

Karnataka, with Bangalore as capital, is a state in southwest India with coastlines along the Arabian Sea. The state is a manufacturing hub, the pan-Indian leader in the field of IT, and the nation’s front-runner in biotechnology. It has diverse linguistic and religious ethnicities, and so is its cuisine.

Karnataka cuisine is the mildest in terms of spice content of all four southern states with its generous use of jaggery, palm sugar and little use of chilli powder. Its cuisine is also described as the most vegetarian, enjoying widespread popularity. One of Karnataka’s 30 subdivisions is the smallish Udupi district whose cuisine forms an integral part of Karnataka cuisine – very vegetarian.

Udupi is mostly pure vegetarian food – there is no meat, fish or shellfish, not even garlic and onion. Due to its Saatvik tradition, dishes consist of grains, beans, fruits and vegetables, and considered incomplete without coconut and coconut oil. The Saatvik diet adheres to a philosophy of eating only pure, clean, safe, ethnic, ethical and vital foods; hence, it includes only organic and seasonal produce that does not use GMOs, synthetics, antibiotics or growth hormones. It considers all processed foods, stale foods,, overcooked and over spiced foods as destructive or tamasic.

So, hence, is Udupi cuisine bland and tasteless? On the contrary, it is neither. It is meant to include all the six flavors – sweet, salt, bitter, sour, pungent and astringent. Each meal caters to all these vital flavors.

The famous Masala Dosa is originally an Udupi dish. There are many other types of Udupi dishes. There’s the pepper water dish Saaru or Rasam; there’s Koddelu or Sambar made with green vegetables and tasty locally available ingredients; Huli, like Sambar, but is ground coconut based; Tambuli is watery vegetable paste. There’s Spiced Rice, a heavy dish with many aromatic spices; there’s dry curry and the sweet dessert Kheer or rice pudding.

Falling In Love with Vegetarianism in Bellevue

Dining at MokSha, experience vegetarianism yet have tasty and nutritious meals. We serve popular Udupi recipes faithful to the Saatvik philosophy. Trust our chefs to prepare for you favorite selections that have all the vital flavors of a vegetarian diet.

Interesting Origins of Kebabs

Kebabs: From The Battlefield to The Kitchen

Did you know that kebabs originated in the Middle East? Kebabs are various cooked meat dishes, first invented by Turkish soldiers who grilled chunks of freshly hunted animal meat skewed on swords on open fires. Also, kebabs were a natural solution for nomadic tribes who eat the meat of their animal game. Tough meats were marinated not only to tenderize, but also to get rid of some of the gamey flavor. It was said that the name was firstly discovered in a Turkish script of Kyssa-i Yusuf in 1377, which is the oldest known source where kebab is mentioned as a food item.

Kebab is a broad term that encompasss a variety of meat dishes that are grilled. You find them in English language and other native language write-ups in the Middle East, in India and other parts of Asia, and in the Muslim world. Not all kebabs, though, are cooked on skewers; many are also grounded, pan-fried, baked or stewed. Kebabs do not always pertain to an all-meat dish. According to recipe, kebabs may include meat, seafood, vegetables and fruits on a skewer, or served on a bed of lettuce, with rice and salad.

Traditionally, meat for kebabs are often of lamb or mutton. But regional recipes may have beef, goat, chicken or fish; in other cultures, pork is used. Two of the most popular and familiar kebabs are the shish kebab and the doner kebab. True shish kebabs are made with pieces of marinated lamb that is attached to a bladed metal skewer which is four sided and laid flat to grill. The word doner kebab means ‘rotating kebab’ where the meat is roasted or grilled on a vertical rotating spit; it was invented some 40 years ago.

How is Indian kebab different? Not so different, but it is as popular within and outside of India. A boti kebab is one made out of mutton; there’s tandoori kebab, made of cubed chicken marinated with yogurt and spices; and the Punjabi style chicken tikka or kebab is made with combination of mint and coriander. And due to widespread vegetarianism in India, there are many local, vegetarian varieties of kebab, made from paneer (cheese) or potato; some use lentils and spinach. Kebabs from India are distinguished from other kebabs mostly from the use of Indian spices.

It has been interesting to know the amazing journey of the kebab. From whence it was first enjoyed, in the Turkish battlefields to the present day different variants around the world – in homes, restaurants, and even on roadsides, the kebab is international and well-loved.

Must-Try True Kebabs in Bellevue

When in Bellevue, drop by MokSha, your Indian restaurant serving authentic Indian cuisine. Our kebabs are sumptuous Tandoor-prepared selections, served sizzling on a pepper and onion salad. Takes a little time to cook because we always serve fresh.

Being Curious About Curry in Bellevue

Curry Then and Now

When they ruled India, the British invented the word ‘curry’ as their version of the Tamil ‘kari’ which means sauce. The anglicized version of kari is now commonly used to describe almost any food of South Asian origin, especially that of India. However, there’s a misconception that all Indian food contains curry powder. A Indian curry dish contains meat and vegetables and served over rice and includes an Indian-style sauce made with strong spices such as turmeric. It can also not contain meat, hence, can be vegetarian.

After curry was discovered by the colonizers, the condiment was massively exported to other parts of the world in the 19th and 20th centuries. In the mid-20th century, Indian cuisine became more globally popular, so curry and curry powder became widely available. However, countries like China, Japan, Great Britain, South Africa and the West Indies all have their own unique curry dishes, so its flavor and technique can vary extensively depending on where it’s from.

What’s in the yellow-orange powder? Curry powder is commercially prepared with a mix of spices like coriander, turmeric, cumin, fenugreek and chili peppers. It gets its yellow color from the turmeric which is also the most valuable spice component. The complex mix within curry and the proportions of ingredients vary depending on national, regional, religious or family traditions in different parts of the world.

Curry dishes in India alone are not the same. From the Punjab region, for example, it involves wheat instead of rice, and is heavy on the butter and cream. Dishes from Malayali have coconut and coconut milk, as well as bay leaves. From Tamil, which is probably what most westerners think of when they think of curry, Tamil curry refers to shallow-fried meat or vegetables cooked along with dry spices.

In many parts of the world, you can buy a prepared blend of spices known as curry powder that is used to make a dish of this name. This powder may contain curry leaves, which come from the curry tree (or curry leaf tree), which is native to India. So you see, most people do associate curry with India when in fact, different countries have their own versions. This makes curry a true international food item and curry dishes globally appreciated.

Appreciating Curry in Bellevue

We serve many curry dishes at our popular Indian restaurant in Bellevue, the Spice Route MokSha. For meat lovers or straight vegetarians, our curry selections are classic favorites. Experience authentic Indian recipes that are tasty, healthy and sustainable.

Understanding Lamb Meat: by Indian Restaurant

Lamb Meat Benefits

A lamb is a sheep that is under one year old, and its flesh is known to be tender and its flavor delicate. It is the palest of meat and best slaughtered at 6 to 8 weeks old. Meat from older sheep is called hogget and are lambs from 1 to 2 years old, of stronger flavor and less tender meat. Lambs’ meat older than 2 years is called mutton. It has much more flavor and needs slow cooking to tenderize its tough flesh. The older the lamb, the deeper is its color.

There are various cuts of lamb, including lamb chops – which may come in the form of rib chops, loin chops or shoulder chops – and whole leg of lamb. Kosher and Halal varieties are also available. Organic lamb and rare breed lamb are the most expensive, adhering to the highest farming standards.

Is lamb meat that healthy? Let’s see. It’s an excellent source of protein. 4 oz. of lamb contains 27.5 g of protein, that’s 55% of the recommended daily adult intake. It also gives you 48% of daily value of vitamin B12, essential for red blood cell production, nerve function and in the metabolism of homocysteine; 37% of niacin, which helps the body release energy from food and is important for nervous system function; and 14% of riboflavin which helps the body release energy from foods and plays a role in good vision.

Lamb is also a good source of some minerals and trace elements, especially zinc, then iron and copper. Zinc supports the immune system, aids wound healing and maintains healthy testosterone levels. Iron is needed for red blood cell production and its deficiency causes anemia. Copper is important for iron metabolism and participates in red blood cell synthesis.

Unfortunately, lamb is rich in saturated fat and calories, with 4 oz. containing 331 calories and almost 10 g of saturated fat. Those who are obese or on a diet should mind the high calorie profile, not to mention that saturated fat is a risk factor for heart disease and high cholesterol. The high purine content of lamb meat is also of concern. It converts to uric acid which may increase the risk for kidney stones and gout. Then again, moderation is key to enjoying lamb meat and its health benefits.

Loving Lamb in Moderation in Bellevue

Hindus and our American diners so love our lamb meat and its varied preparations. Have lamb saag, lamb vindaloo, lamb karaikudi, and lamb biryani. Have them gluten-free or otherwise, but have healthy dining any time, here at MokSHA in Bellevue.

Amazing Benefits of the Golden Root

Raw Turmeric and Its Health Benefits

Turmeric is a member of the ginger family and naturally occurs in Southern Asia and India. It is characterized by its rough, brown skin and a dark orange flesh. With a fragrant aroma and slightly bitter taste, turmeric is a common Indian culinary spice. It gives curry its yellow color. Not only has it been used for thousands of years as a spice, it is also a medicinal herb. It is well known for its antioxidant, anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-carcinogenic and anti-inflammatory properties.

Turmeric’s number one benefit is that it is a digestion booster. Curcumin, turmeric’s main component, triggers bile production which helps facilitate smoother digestion through the digestive tract. Hence, those with gastric problems like indigestion and heartburn, and irritable bowel syndrome can benefit from this spice. Experts also say that raw turmeric may help treat stomach ulcers and irritation.

The anti-inflammatory properties of raw turmeric help relieve symptoms associated with both rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. Turmeric can also be used to treat inflammation due to eye infections.

The antioxidants present in raw turmeric can help cure a variety of skin problems, including those caused by air pollution. By curbing free radical activity, it can boost skin health. Using raw haldi is one of the oldest and traditional ways to treat skin disease.

In the same vein, turmeric could be a perfect ointment to any kind of cuts or injuries. Curcumin has antiseptic qualities, excellent also for external use. Its anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties boost healing. As a pain-reliever, one can take turmeric with warm milk for best results. It can also be applied in paste form on the affected area.

Experts and some studies claimed that the raw compound can also act as a blood purifier, eliminating toxins from the body. It also regulates blood clot formation. It was also claimed that it can regulate blood sugar levels, surely good news for diabetics also.

Delicious with Benefits in Bellevue

MokSHA in Bellevue uses turmeric in many of its classic dishes. Enjoy our selections and savor authentic southern Indian cuisine with their natural flavors and aroma. Dine delicious and dine healthy in Bellevue.

America’s Love Affair with Indian Food

The Rise of Indian Cuisine in the US

At best, the first appearance of any restaurant serving Indian food in the United States is under-discussed. In a 1921 news article of the New York Times, the influx of European immigrants to the US and them putting up restaurants, in particular in New York, was the main story.

The article only sparingly talked about immigrant cuisines from China and India. Earlier, in 1909, articles in the Chicago Daily Tribune talked about American fascination with India, including its cuisine. It was just the beginning. Food was central to the earliest South Asian immigrants to the Midwest and the East Coast.

In 2010, a New York university based expert on the succession of American ethnic foods talked about Indian cuisine and where it is in the succession line. With every decade, there seems to be an ethnic food trend of its own. In the ’80s it was Japanese food. In the ’90s it was Thai. The first 10 years of 2000 saw the hipsterization of the taco truck. Where is Indian cuisine?

The expert believed that there is a historical basis that Indian food can be as prestigious as Italian food in 100 years. When Italian immigration to the US started in the 1880s, it took a long time to become popular. But if you talk about prestige, Italian cuisine only gained respect in the 1980s, 100 years later. The expert said that it maybe by 2065 for Indian cuisine to reach the level. As far as Indian immigration is concerned, with only 2.7 million Indians in America (2010), it may take a population of 20 million before Indian culture can become everyday culture in the US.

Nation’s Restaurant News predicts Indian food will be one of the biggest trends of 2017. More millennials have a craving for diverse cuisine. Note the increasing popularity of curries, an indication of more adventurous palates. Many upscale restaurants are doing Indian flavors already, addressing the need for high-quality Indian food implying higher prices. The dollar-conscious American may be willing to pay but only for above par food standards.

Diversity and Quality in Bellevue

Take a culinary journey into South India’s best and most popular delicacies that many of our diners praise for their high quality diversity and taste. MokSha offers you not just a meal, but a cultural experience.

How Hinduism Affects Indian Cuisine

The Hindu Diet of Greater India

The diet of the people of India is as diverse as the religion they practice. Their beliefs seem to play a major role in what can and cannot be consumed. Take meat, for example. About 30% of the population are regular meat eaters. The most common meats they eat are that of goat, sheep, water buffalo, chicken, fish and prawn.

The rest of the population are lacto-vegetarians, meaning they abstain from eating meat and eggs, but eat dairy products. However, there are 2 types of these: the bigger group of strictly lacto- vegetarians and those who are semi-lacto-vegetarians – eat fish regularly (if living on coastal region), eat eggs for health, or eat meats on social occasions.

With more than 80% of India practising Hinduism, beef is forbidden food and many states do not permit the slaughter of cows or monkeys. There is no specific written law against eating meat, yet majority of Hindus are lacto-vegetarians. Many sects promote the sattvic vegetarian diet, obligatory living that causes minimum harm to other lifeforms. Vegetarianism, they say, purifies the body and the mind.

Lacto-vegetarians Hindus favor milk-based foods and all other non-animal derived foods, but excludes meat and eggs. Hindus believe that their diet promotes compassion to animals, that animal foods are not healthy for spiritual growth, and that only vegetarian foods can be offered to the deities.

Many non-vegetarian Hindus eat meat and eggs. They, however, will demand that the animal from whose meat they will partake should have been killed quickly and painlessly. Hindus will eat dairy products, fish and shellfish or even poultry. While they’ll eat meat, they distinguish those from cows and will not eat beef. Cows are sacred animals in India, regarded as family members and, as mothers, are life-giving.

Balancing the Elements with Hindu Diet

Southern Indian cuisine is mostly vegetarian, and so you have the familiar aromatics, coconut milk, lentils and seafood. That is what we offer at MokSHA, your Indian restaurant in Bellevue.

Turmeric: The Healthy Golden Spice of India

Amazing Health Benefits of Turmeric

Turmeric is a bright orange spice not only great for adding color to your dish, but the health benefits are immense. A member of the ginger family, this spice is harvested from the root of a curcuma longa plant. Its ancient medicinal use began when it was discovered to be an anti-inflammatory agent.

Curcumin is the primary anti-inflammatory component in turmeric that is comparable to OTC drugs without the side effects. Much later on, it was use to treat a wide variety of conditions, such as jaundice, menstrual problems, blood in the urine, hemorrhaging, toothaches, bruises, chest pain, flatulence, and colic.

Turmeric has a revered place in the Ayurvedic pharmacopeia, the comprehensive holistic health care list that dates back to 500 B.C.

This spice has almost no calories (1 tablespoon = 24 calories) and zero cholesterol. But even one tablespoon provides excellent phytonutrients. In fact, turmeric is effective even in very small quantities, such as one serving of a turmeric-spiced dish.

Basic nutritional aspects of turmeric include a 26% daily value in manganese and 16% in iron. It’s also an excellent source of fiber, vitamin B6, potassium, and healthy amounts of vitamin C and magnesium.

Curcumin’s immunity boosting properties are substantiated by studies, and which suggest also that curcumin is beneficial in conditions like arthritis, allergy, asthma, atherosclerosis, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, and cancer. This was arrived at because the agent has the ability to modulate immune system.

Turmeric has anti-oxidant properties so it fights chronic degenerative diseases. It protects against certain chronic liver conditions and fights against acute liver damage. It helps control the development of type 2 diabetes by lessening insulin resistance. It aids in weight loss and reduces the incidence of obesity-related diseases.

The golden spice can also improve rheumatoid arthritis, treat sprains and swellings, and is even a home remedy for chronic cough. The spice is not just a great food ingredient. Its amazing health benefits make it very much sought after.

Delicious and Healthy Spice in Bellevue

You know now how beneficial to health is India’s golden spice. A dish at MokSha laced with turmeric, your Indian restaurant in Bellevue, can give you your health boost for the day. That easy and so delicious, too.