Which Cuisine is the Hottest in South India?

Hot, Hotter and Hottest of Them All

The states that comprise South India are Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamilnadu and Kerala. South India has hot, humid climate and all states are coastal states. With abundant rainfall, fresh fruit, vegetables, and rice are in high supply. All states share similarities including the presence of rice, use of lentils and spices, dried red chilies and fresh green chilies, coconut, and native fruits and vegetables including tamarind, plantain, snake gourd, etc.

Andhra Pradesh cuisine is fiery hot. Andhra is the leading producer of red chillies and this is reflected in their cuisine with the food being extremely hot. Its coastal areas produce a wide supply and varieties of seafoods, however, the diet is largely vegetarian. The people eat rice and lentils, which are based in tamarind (sambhar). The pancakes, pickles and stews are all really spicy. They also use sesame oil , which is quite uncommon in India’s daily cooking.

Tamilnadu cuisine is traditionally Chettinad cuisine, perhaps the hottest of all Indian food, which is also largely vegetarian. The Chettinad diet consists of different rice preparations and tiffin varieties like idli, dosa, uthappam, rasam, pongal, upma, and appams, too. However synonymous with very spicy food, the cuisine is a complex blend of well-balanced flavours. The traditional Chettinad dishes mostly used locally sourced spices like the star anise, pepper, stone flower and maratti mokku (dried flower pods).

Kerala is noted for Malabari cooking, with its repertoire of tasty seafood dishes. Its long coastline, numerous rivers and strong fishing industry have contributed to its rich seafood based dishes. Coconuts grow in abundance so it’s often used for thickening and flavoring. Kerala is known as the “Land of Spices” because it traded spices with Europe as well as with many ancient civilizations. Today, chillies, curry leaves, mustard seeds, turmeric, tamarind, and asafoetida are all frequently used.

Karnataka cuisine is mildest in terms of spices, it is also the home of “udupi cuisine.” Udupi cuisine comprises dishes made primarily from grains, beans, vegetables, and fruits. Food is primarily vegetarian, except for the coastal areas in the north. Ragi and rice are the staple food items for Karnataka especially in the south region. The Mangalorean cuisine of coastal Karnataka is unique and diverse, owing to the different communities. Curry leaves and coconut, along with local spices are the basic ingredients.

From Spicy to Spiciest in Bellevue

Your Bellevue Indian restaurant says that now you know which states in the South of India serve the spiciest and not so spicy foods, you’d know where to take your travels. However, you’ll find them all here in MokSHA, Bellevue.

Understanding Ayurveda and Ayurvedic Nutrition

Ayurveda: Personalized Nutrition

Ayurveda is the 5000-year-old medical system of India. It claims that poor nutrition is the main cause of disease, and to heal the body and prevent illness the answer is proper food. While modern nutritional systems address nutritional deficiencies and illnesses arising from them in a general way, Ayurveda has always had an individualized approach. The system may be ancient, hence, it needs to be adapted to the modern lifestyle of the cultures using it. What’s important is the structuring of the diets to personalized them to the individual’s unique metabolic functions.

Food speaks to you directly through taste. According to Ayurveda, the sense of taste is a natural guidemap towards proper nutrition. It identifies 6 tastes by which all foods can be categorized: sweet, sour, salty, bitter, pungent, and astringent. Each taste category has a primary physiologic action and corresponding food sources to address the pathology.

Sweet foods build tissues and calm nerves; common sources are fruit, grains, natural sugars, milk. Sour foods cleanse tissues, increase absorption of minerals; common sources are sour fruits, yogurt, fermented foods. Salty improves taste to food, lubricates tissues, stimulates digestion; sources are natural salts, sea vegetables. Bitter detoxifies and lightens tissues; sources are dark leafy greens, herbs and spices. Pungent stimulates digestion and metabolism; sources are chili peppers, garlic, herbs and spices. Astringent absorbs water, tightens tissues, dries fats; sources are legumes, raw fruits and vegetables, herbs.

Applying the basic principles of Ayurvedic nutrition you should include all 6 tastes in each meals which will naturally guide you towards your body’s nutritional needs. Sweet foods, for example, are rich in fats, proteins, carbohydrates, and water, whereas bitter and astringent foods are high in vitamins and minerals. It is as simple as a squeeze of lemon to cooked dishes (for sour taste), while adding a side salad will fulfill the bitter and astringent tastes. It all depends on your particular dosha.

Allow your unique constitution to determine the proportion of tastes you eat, favoring those tastes that bring greater balance to your particular constitution. If you are of a particular bio-element or dosha, for example, you are a Pita individual (you are medium or average build, skin oily and reddish, a perfectionist and competitive) you favor cooling foods and spices such as dark leafy greens and fennel, which are high in bitter and astringent tastes, while you will desire a smaller quantity of the pungent taste.

Knowing Your Best Food Sources in Bellevue

The Ayurvedic nutrition guide is pretty much easy to follow. Just know yourself, follow your tongue and it will lead you to your ideal food sources. Know more about Ayurveda at MokSha, here in Bellevue.

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.

Eating Halal: Conforming to Edict in Bellevue

Understanding Halal Meat

The word ‘halal’ literally means permissible or lawful. So when you encounter halal meats, they are simply meats allowed to be consumed by Muslims. Halal is an Arabic term and in accordance with Islamic law only meats certified as halal are permissible food. Arabic is the language of the Qur`an, the scripture revealed to the Holy Prophet of Islam by Allah to be followed in its entirety by all Muslims. What makes the meat halal?

To be called halal, the animal or poultry will undergo ritual slaughter (called Zibah or Zabihah). The animal must be alive and healthy, and with a one-time swipe of a razor sharp knife to its windpipe ensures less pain and suffering for the animal. But first, a designated Muslim rabbi will have to recite the required tasmiya or shahada dedicating the animal to Allah. His name must be pronounced during the slaughter also. All blood flowing from the animal should be drained until dry, as blood is not permissible to be eaten.

There are other things forbidden in undertaking this ritual. Doing so will negate everything else that halal signifies. For example, only a Muslim can perform the slaughter, the animal must not be dead nor unconscious before killing it, it must have no illness nor lacerations before the slaughter, must have drank water and been fed a natural diet that did not contain animal by-products.

Also, the animal must not see other animals being slaughtered. Accomplishing the ritual, both the one with the knife and the animal must turn their faces towards Mecca. Since pork is forbidden, the slaughter of any animal for halal purposes must not take place where pigs are normally slaughtered. It is also forbidden that animals killed by strangling or by a violent blow, or by a headlong fall should be considered for halal.

Hence, with all these edicts and rules concerning halal ritual and halal meat, and there are a few more, you can be sure that the animal’s or fowl’s welfare have been deeply considered.

Truly Halal Meats You Can Love

If you are not a pork-eater but are carnivorous just the same, you will love our halal meats at MokSHA in Bellevue. Our Indian restaurant serves some of the best halal foods and the best of Southern India cuisine in Bellevue. Reserve a table today.

The Many Uses of Indian Turmeric Powder

Turmeric: From Food to Pesticide to Cosmetics

“Indian saffron” or turmeric is easily recognized for its deep yellow color. Throughout Indian history, this powder has been used as a condiment, textile dye, health remedy, and a symbolism of purity, prosperity, and fertility.

Belonging to the ginger family, turmeric has been used in East India and the Middle East for thousands of years, and is now one of the most highly-prized spices in the world. A domesticated plant rather than wild, India remains one of the most prominent producers of turmeric, along with Indonesia, the Philippines, China, Taiwan, Jamaica, and Haiti.

In India, it is used in almost all curries and gravy dishes. It gives a rich color and a unique flavor to dishes. It is well-known for its plethora of health benefits. But we are not going to touch on those yet. Let us whet your curiosity instead of the many, yet slightly known uses of turmeric in India.

Did you know that turmeric is an effective pesticide? Just sprinkle the powder diluted in water near all entry points of your house to keep off insects, like ants and termites. It’s also a well-known preservative. Just add the powder to your cottage cheese (paneer) and your cheese will last up to 12 days. Use it as a dye and it can color your fabrics with that bright neon yellow. The color yellow is considered sacred and auspicious in India. Any fabric dyed in turmeric is considered pure.

Turmeric water is offered to the gods in the temples as a part of Hindu ritual called Abhishekam. Just before any Indian wedding ceremony, the spice is applied to the bride and groom as it is believed to ward off the evil eye. Additionally, it also gives the newlyweds a fresh glow. Hence, it is also used as a cosmetic by Indian women, applied as creams, face masks, and body scrubs to boost the glow factor.

New born babies are also rubbed with turmeric on their forehead for good luck. Washing in turmeric improves skin complexion and also reduces hair growth on body. Today there are lots of herbal products in the market in which main herb used is turmeric as natural ingredient.

Thanks to Turmeric: Like it Spicy

Now you know of turmeric’s other wonderful uses, it still doesn’t take away the fact that it’s a great gift to Indian cuisine. Here at MokSha, your Indian restaurant in Bellevue, we remind you all the time with each dish you enjoy.

Biryani: A Crowd-Pleaser Dish

The Indian Main Dish with Muslim Origins

“Biryani” is an Urdu word derived from the Persian language, which was used in medieval India under various Islamic dynasties. It is said to originate from “birinj”, the Persian word for rice. People in Central Asia, more than four thousand years ago, have been adding the meat of cows, buffaloes (beef) and goats (mutton) to rice, later called Pulao, the precursor of the Biryani. If people were well- off, they use goat meat, poorer folks use beef.

The one-dish, rice-based meal consists of rice and meat that are layered in a casserole before it is oven-baked. The meat can be chicken, seafood and other meats, or can be meatless, as in a veggie casserole. Normally, biryani is made of basmati rice, the long slender-grained aromatic rice of India, and then flavored with cloves, cinnamon, cardamon, bay leaf, coriander, mint, ginger, garlic and onions.

Orange saffron milk is traditionally sprinkled on the top of the dish before baking, which accounts for the rice’s yellow-orange color and saffron flavor. Biryani is often served with a yogurt-based condiment such as raita or a tomato, onion and cilantro relish.

Biryani is the primary dish in a meal, not just an accompaniment. The meat and rice are cooked separately before being layered and cooked together. Also, it has a strong taste of curried rice due to a high amount of spices. But not all biryanis are the same. With the massiveness of the country, there are different versions of this meal depending on the region. Pakistan, Delhi, Calcutta, Kerala, Ambur, Tamil Nadu, Karachi, and Hyderabad, among others have each their own version of biryani.

This is truly a dish to serve whenever families, communities and regions come together for celebrations.

Celebrating India in Bellevue

When in Bellevue and exploring exotic Asian dishes, try Indian cuisine. Visit our Indian restaurant and browse our menu – you might just find one you’d absolutely like. Give biryani a try and experience traditional Indian food at its best.

Tandoori: A Recipe or A Way of Cooking?

Smoky and Spicy Tandoori

You must have sometime dined on tandoori chicken or tandoori lamb. It has that smoky, burnt flavor attached to the meat that has been soaked previously in a strong mixture. Again, it is actually marinated meat cooked over an intense fire using, what else, but a tandoor. A tandoor is a clay oven in which a hot fire is built. Marinated meats are lowered into the oven on long metal skewers and cooked in this smoky and extremely fiery inferno until done. The heat comes from the charcoal or wood fire and the food is cooked by radiant heat, hot air, convection cooking and smoking. It is common for tandoor ovens to remain lit for long hours in order to maintain the high temperature.

Ancient Armenians cook their meats this way, in underground tonirs made out of clay. The Afghan tandoor sits above the ground and is made of bricks. Punjabi tandoors of the Indian subcontinent are also made of clay and is a bell-shaped oven, which can either be set under the earth and fired with wood or charcoal reaching temperatures of 480 degrees Celsius, or rest above the ground.

Some tandoor-cooked dishes are flatbread, roasted cashews, corn and cottage cheese paste stuffed potatoes, chicken and chicken tikka, kalmi kabab, and somosa. Tandoori marinade is made out of yogurt with its natural acidity and thick consistency. The meat is marinated and rubbed with a great combination of spices and produces the striking red color if ground annatto seeds are used; yellow if saffron or ordinary turmeric powder is used. Other traditional flavors come from ginger, garlic, coriander powder, cayenne pepper, and garam masala, a mix of spices.

Like many great dishes, tandoori is actually a cooking method that has become synonymous with the food that is prepared. If you’re having tandoori chicken, then you know how it has been cooked.

Perfect Tandoori in Bellevue

Want to eat tandoori dishes but don’t have the tandoori oven? Your backyard grill might do the same job as well. Or better, why not drop by MokSha, your Bellevue Indian restaurant and dine on perfect tandoori sizzlers and kebabs. We roast our dishes at 500 degrees F in the direct heat of a traditional tandoori oven, served on a pepper and onion salad. It doesn’t get any better than that.

Vegetarianism at MokSHA Bellevue

India: Top Vegetarian

Some experts say that the reason India is a vegetarian country is because of its warm climate that is conducive to growing vegetables. And India has lots of ground to grow vegetables that the need for meat is nil. That is why a non-vegetarian diet is essential in many countries with cold clime.

However, to assume that India is predominantly vegetarian country is not quite correct. A national survey in 2014 indicates that 71% of Indians over the age of 15 are non-vegetarians. The data shows that the Telangana state in southern India (pop. 35million) is 98% non-vegetarian. Other states that are extremely meat, fowl and fish eaters are West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and Kerala.

Reports have it that about 28 to 30% only of India’s population are actually vegetarians. The nearest figure to that is 13%, which belongs to Israel, followed by Australia at 11% of its population.

You will find out, though, that the reason for vegetarianism in India is primarily religious beliefs, and to some extent, their caste system. Very few Indians eat beef and pork as cow is sacred to Hindus and Islam prohibits pork. A significant percentage of Indians who eat meat, do so infrequently (like once a month) owing to the high cost of meat and properly cooked meat products. Indians who are vegetarians also consume dairy, eggs, and meat from chicken, lamb, and goat.

Serving Vegetarian at our Bellevue Restaurant

Well known for its penchant towards vegetarianism, and the unique creativity for diverse, tasty and nutritious vegetarian meals, India is the cradle of fantastic veggie cuisine. Here at MokSha, we offer many award-winning dishes to the delight of vegetarians. Meat-lovers as well will enjoy the quality of our cage-free and free range meat offerings. Come over and visit us sometime in Bellevue and you’ll surely find easy favorites.

Grass-fed, Cage-free Meat at our Bellevue Indian Restaurant

Why Eat Grass-fed, Cage-free Meat?

Eating meat is not all bad. In fact, you can make a difference if your meat of choice is sourced from animals bred for meat that feed on fresh grass and roam free in farms. These animals are more humanely treated, though may be more expensive meat, and their benefits are manifold.

Being raised organically, these animals are fed with organic feed, a more nutritious alternative. Since they are not caged or confined in closed spaces there are less chances of contamination or bacterial and viral attacks within their enclosures. Waste and pollution within confinements are also greatly reduced. Also, free range animals tend to eat their natural foods, like fresh grass, insects, grubs that are more nutritious and are out in the open. Being so, these humanely raised animals contain higher amount of vitamins and minerals and less saturated fat.

Bellevue Indian Restaurant supports Sustainability

Raising these organically fed animals is also good for biodiversity as sustainable farms raise a variety of livestock in a given environment building natural resistance to diseases. Local farms like these use less energy in terms of fuel for transport and need not travel far to deliver their goods. If you support these farms you are actually sustaining your local community and not the big corporations.

So why not grass-fed, cage-free meat for good health and sustainable community.

MokSHA, serving Indian cuisine in Bellevue, supports local farms that raise grass-fed and cage-free animals for food consumption. Experience delicious and healthy options at MokSha and know the difference.

Every Festival a Different Cuisine

Home Country Festivals

Celebrating festivals have a unifying effect on peoples and cultures the world over. In a nation as large as India, it is a coming together of the diverse and colorful backgrounds of the regions and their xxx. Every Indian festival has a special dish associated with it.

Take for example, celebrating the start of spring with Holi, also called the festival of colors. The streets come alive with people, including children, throwing and rubbing gulal powdered color on each other.

In the explosion of colors, amid dancing, people drink bhang,which is rosewater and flavorings of dried fruits. Also, these delicacies are found everywhere during Holi: kanji-ke-bare (thin lentil patties), papri (small pooris) and gujjias (sweet dumplings stuffed with khoya and dried fruits).

There’s Diwali, or the festival of lights. It is a 5-day feast where almost every Indian home is aglow with lights, celebrating triumph of good over evil, hope over despair, and signified by lighting diyas, or lamps. Swees are served everywhere – candies, cakes, desserts. Rice, whole green lentils and a sweet sauce called mandhi are cooked in every home.

Durga Puja is a large Bengali festival celebrating Shakti, the mother goddess. Bohg is the main cuisine of this long event and it offers moong dal khichdi, a mixture of dal and rice; there are also vegetables, tomato cutney, and rice pudding.

So you see, certain specialty dishes identify with major Indian festivals.

Bellevue: Remembering the Cuisine

Though thousands of miles away, our Indian restaurant also celebrates these festivals at our Bellevue Indian restaurant whenever the seasons come around. We see that those festival delicacies are available to all our diners. It brings back a certain sense of home.

The Etiquette of Indian Dining

Dining at its Best

Indian food

With the popularity of Indian cuisine outside of the country, rules that traditionally govern the proper way of Indian dining has adapted somewhat to the present times. We look at some of these traditions to understand Indian dining etiquette.

Eating with the hands is still a predominant Indian custom, and eating from a banana leaf, especially in southern India, is still observed. However, the use of cutlery, like spoon and fork, is becoming acceptable. You must wash your hands before and after eating; the use of towels and napkins is now permissible when it used to be insufficient. Try not eat too slowly or too fast for you might be thought of as not liking your food, or else, be considered rude for eating too quickly.

Where sharing food is concerned, it may be viewed as rude and unhygienic to offer food coming from your own plate; it is considered impure with somebody else’s saliva. Unless it is between spouses and close family members, it’s alright to share dishes. You are also expected to eat everything on your plate as food is sacred. And, until your host or the eldest is done eating, it is considered polite not to leave the table.

Same Enjoyment for All

Here at MokSHA, we welcome all diners, of varying nationalities, particularly Americans, who love to indulge in authentic Indian cuisine in our trendy Bellevue location. We let them enjoy our ambiance, our service, and of course, our food which they came for in a pretty much free and friendly manner. Hindi families come to similarly enjoy home country cuisine with some adapted etiquette versions that do not take so much away from customary traditions. What is important is that our Bellevue Indian restaurant offers the same culinary experience to all.