Cinnamon: Powerful Spice

Cinnamon is a spice from the inner bark of trees scientifically known as Cinnamomum. Used as an ingredient throughout history, it used to be rare and valuable and was regarded as a gift fit for kings. Today cinnamon is cheap, available in every supermarket and used as ingredient in foods and recipes.

Cinnamon is made by cutting the stems of cinnamon trees; the inner bark is extracted and the woody parts removed. When dried, it forms strips that curl into rolls, called cinnamon sticks that can be ground to form cinnamon powder. The distinct smell and flavor of cinnamon are due to the oily part, which is very high in the compound cinnamaldehyde Scientists believe that this compound is responsible for most of cinnamon’s powerful effects on health and metabolism.

The spice has several evidence-based health benefits. Cinnamon has powerful medicinal properties; it is loaded with antioxidants and has anti-inflammatory properties.

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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.

Tandoori: A Recipe or A Way of Cooking?

Smoky Tandoori Oven

You must have sometime dined on tandoori chicken or tandoori lamb. It has that smoky 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.

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 in Bellevue and dine on perfect tandoori sizzlers and kebabs. We roast our dishes at high temperatures in the direct heat of a traditional tandoori oven. It doesn’t get any better than that.

Chickpea Flour: Ancient Indian to Modern Sensation

Chickpea Flour

Chickpea flour is a common ingredient across many of India’s regional cuisines. It’s in the savory pudla of the Gujaratis. In Karnataka and Maharashtra, it can be found in jhunka, a spicy porridge. In Andhra Pradesh, it is the thickener in the stew Senagapindi Kura. For vegetarians, it’s mixed in their omelet replacement. Centuries-old chickpea flour is in the cooking recipes of Indians, Nepalese, Pakistanis, Italians, the French, and many others.

Benefits of Chickpea Flour

Suddenly popular in the US, yet it’s been mentioned around 2009 in gluten-free blogs. Chickpea flour is naturally gluten-free and protein-dense, with less calories and carbs, a healthy choice for everything from baking to frying. Combined with water, it has great binding power. You can make flatbread, or fritters or vegetable pancakes. It is cheap, accessible, and versatile.

By 2010, the ingredient has been appearing in best-selling cookbooks as the French pancake, socca, layered with tomatoes and onion. It also appeared in a couple of dedicated cookbooks just for chickpeas, in 2015 and 2016, for food and fitness. There’s a Brooklyn based gluten-free bakery famous for its chickpea flour-based, gluten-free sweets, and its chickpea flour-based chocolate cupcakes. 

One company, Banza, mainstreamed chickpea flour by producing its chickpea flour-based pasta in 2014. By 2017, it was in 8,000-plus grocery stores and had raised $8 million in funding. Its secret of success was that it branded chickpea flour as a health food, not exclusively as a gluten-free product. It was one of the first alternative pastas that had a smooth, al dente texture, just like the real thing. It’s a delicious and higher-protein pasta substitute for empty carbs.

Tasting Old With A Modern Twist in Bellevue

Find delicious chickpea flour-based menu selections at MokSHA in Bellevue. We have many healthier alternatives for your dining out options.

Experiencing Delhi, Mumbai and Goa: A Food Trip – Part Two

Mumbai

In Maharashtra, in Southwestern India, you can find Mumbai. The region has a long coastline and a tropical climate with months of the monsoon season. Produce like cereals and vegetables vary greatly. Fish and seafood are part of the daily diet along the seaboard while elsewhere, millet, mutton and different seasonal vegetables and lentils predominate. 

There are several sub-regional cuisines, including coastal Malvani-style food in South Konkan, the Vidarbha cuisine, and the ultra-spicy Saoji cuisine of Nagpur. Of course, do not miss the street food scene of Mumbai. Look out for misal pav, vada pav and Bombay grilled chutney sandwiches.

In Mumbai, on the western coast, the food culture has long been shaped by industry and waves of immigration throughout the 20th century. Once it was Bombay, a city full of textile mills, home to India’s film industry and the country’s financial capital. It’s an important port, drawing immigrants from everywhere, so the cuisine is an explosion of flavors.

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Experiencing Delhi, Mumbai and Goa: A Food Trip – Part One

Food Destinations with Distinctions   

If you’re talking about India’s capital cuisine, it’s Delhi, the melting pot of all of India’s regions and ethnicities. With the world-famous butter chicken, stuffed parathas, chaat and kebabs, Delhi’s dining scene hosts a variety of international influences, food from any region in India is found here. Tourists and residents go to the noisy lanes of Chawri Bazar and Chandni Chowk for a total experience.

Old Delhi is the street food capital of India.

There are many authentic Delhi dishes here, such as bedmi puri (puffed bread with lentils), chole kulche (a popular breakfast of spiced chickpeas in a curry), nagori halwa (a sweet treat of puffed bread with a semolina- and ghee-based paste) or paaya (trotters). If you want nihari (a slow-cooked meat stew), go to Jama Masjid mosque and Turkman Gate; if you like biryani go to Taufeeq ki Biryani, or enjoy Hussain’s fried chicken.

Explore Tibetan cuisine beyond Old Delhi and love the momo dumplings in the city’s northern parts. And if you want more than momos, close to the Yamuna river is Majnu-ka-Tilla, a residential area with a wide variety of traditional Tibetan foods. There are lots of food stalls and restaurants, serving meaty stews, chicken thukpa (a Himalayan noodle soup) and spicy fried pork with steamed rice.

South Delhi is also a food adventure, home to a vast Afghan settlement of migrant workers, it’s known as Little Kabul. They have rows of Afghan tandoor shops and restaurants here. If you want freshly baked roht (Afghan sweet bread), mantu (lamb and onion dumplings) and juicy mutton kebabs topped with sour spice, go to Kashmiri Lane.

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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.

Digestion Booster

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.

Anti-inflammatory Properties

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.

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 popular spices 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.

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India’s Most Popular Spices Are Blends of Spices

Top Spices of the North and South  

India is known for its many herbs and spices. Four of the most popular ones are the chettinad masala, bafat, curry leaves and garam masala. 

Chettinad Masala

A traditional spice blend – consisting of 16 or more spices – is the Chettinad Masala, originating from Tamil Nadu, in the extreme south of India. Some of the spices are cinnamon, green cardamom, mace, star anise, cloves, fenugreek, black pepper, kapok, cumin, coriander, fennel, mustard seeds, dry red chili peppers, curry leaves, poppy seeds, turmeric, and the key ingredient called stone flower, which releases an intense aroma when tempered. To make Chettinad, all the spices are dry-roasted in a particular order, left to cool and pounded in a mortar with a pestle. Chettinad is usually used in various Chettinad non-vegetarian and vegetarian curries. 

Bafat

Bafat is another group of spices that is traditional Mangalorean, a collection of ethnic groups from the historical locales of South Canara on the south western coast of Karnataka.  Their cuisine is largely influenced by South Indian cuisine and the highly aromatic spicy blend is especially typical of the Mangalorean Catholic community. Bafat is a blend of ground spices such as red chilis, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, peppercorns, mustard seeds, and turmeric. To make bafat, each spice is dry-roasted separately until fragrant and slightly browned, then all of them are combined and ground to a powdery consistency; they enhance the flavor of various meat specialties, curries, and vegetarian dishes. Bafat is available at most grocery stores in Mangalore. 

Curry Leaves

Curry leaves are a staple of South Indian cuisine The dark, shiny green color and aroma of the leaves release a unique, nutty aroma when fried in oil. The leaves soften significantly when cooked and are usually used as a flavoring to rice, chutneys, dals, soups, and stews. Curry leaves are common in many Indian groceries, frozen or kept in an airtight container to keep their flavors for a longer time.

Garam Masala

Garam Masala can be literally translated as hot ingredients, and is sometimes described as an aromatic blend that is meant to heat the body. The blend is intensely aromatic and may consist of ground spices such as cinnamon, cumin, cardamom, cloves, and peppercorns. Its origins are in Northern India, where winters are typically colder than in the rest of the country. It is recommended to be used at the end of the cooking process to achieve the best flavor, although it can also be used at the beginning, when it’s usually added to ghee or cooking oil in order to provide a more pungent flavor.

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Enjoying Flavors of the North

MokSHA Bellevue uses all the above spices when and where to flavor our selections. We offer an unforgettable dining experience when you come for authentic Northern Indian cuisine.

Spices Indian Food

What is Papadum?

papadum

Papadum is a type of bread originating from Indian culinary traditions. Occasionally, you may see it go under the name “lentil chips”, “appala”, or “papari”. It comes in the form of a thin, cracker-like food made from a dough that might be made from a flour of black beans, lentils, rice, or chickpeas. Often times, the dough will be seasoned with an assortment of Indian spices to give it an extra kick.

People will enjoy papadum in a variety of different ways. Sometimes it stands by itself as an appetizer or a snack, possibly dressed with chutney, raita, or a similar sauce. It may also be served along with a curry dish, where it might serve as a utensil to scoop up the main dish.

Those who are unable to handle the strong spiciness of Indian dishes find the bread handy for cutting the intensity of the curry.

The Many Benefits of Chili Peppers

Chili Pepper

The chili pepper is surprisingly dense in valuable vitamins and minerals. In a single, 100 gram serving, you get 240% of your recommended vitamin C, 39% percent of your vitamin B6, 32% of your vitamin A, 13% of your iron, 14% of your copper, 7% of your potassium, and more.

The nutritional benefits of a diet rich in chili peppers are many, and include all of the following:

  • Heart Health: The capsaicin found in the peppers serve to reduce your cholesterol and triglyceride levels, protecting your heart from damage. It also helps your body break down fibrin, which is important for the formation of blood clots. It has been observed that cultures that eat a lot of hot peppers have a significantly lower rate of heart attacks and strokes.
  • Lower Blood Pressure: The high vitamin content of the peppers facilitate healthy, elastic blood vessels that are better able to deal with pressure fluctuations. Eating peppers also promote sweating, which removes sodium from your bloodstream.
  • Weight Control: The thermogenic properties of capsaicin stimulate your body’s natural fat-burning processes. This prevents the formation of adipose tissue and generate heat and promotes weight loss.
  • Metabolic Health: A scientific study demonstrated that capsaicin prevents stomach ulcers, kills harmful bacteria in your digestive tract, and may serve to cure inflammatory bowel disease.
  • Anti-Inflammation: Capsaicin is a potent anti-inflammant, helping your body fight pain associated with inflammation.
  • Cancer Prevention: It has been found that capsaicin kills off malignant cancer cells in the prostate.

Red pepper powder is a big part of South Indian culinary traditions. If you would like to make this healthy pepper a bigger part of your life, come down to our Bellevue Indian cuisine restaurant tonight.

Interesting Facts About India’s Food You Thought You Knew

Indian Cuisine

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.

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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 farms that raise grass-fed and cage-free animals for food consumption. Experience delicious and healthy options at MokSHA and know the difference.

Paneer: India’s Favorite Cheese

Paneer is a variety of cow’s milk cheese that traces its origins back to India. It is the most common of cheese used in India, as well as throughout much of the Middle East. It is called an acid-set cheese, meaning that it is curdled and set with the help of lemon juice or a similar acid instead of the rennet and bacteria that is commonly used for most conventional cheeses. Its lack of rennet and its high protein content makes the cheese a popular choice for vegetarians.

The word “paneer” is a Persian word that translates to “cheese”. It was apparently first created back in the seventeenth century, when the Portuguese introduced the process of creating acid-set cheeses to the country. After that, it spread throughout India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh, where it remains highly popular to this day.

The taste of paneer is simple and highly versatile. Many chefs like to crumble it into many curry-based dishes, since the cheese readily absorbs the strong flavors of the spices. You can also find it used as a filling for traditional stuffed breads and desserts. In modern India, it has been adopted for use in a number of familiar fast-food dishes, with paneer-topped pizzas, paneer cheeseburgers, and even a paneer-stuffed burrito appearing in Indian versions of American franchises..

At MokSHA’s Bellevue Indian cuisine restaurant, you can experience the taste of paneer in many of our dishes. Try a lahsooni saag paneer, a paneer butter masala, or a malai paneer kofta.

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Parotta: India’s Favorite Flatbread

Parotta

A parotta, alternatively known as “paratha”, is a kind of flatbread originating from Indian culinary traditions. The name is derived from the words “parat” and “atta”. Together, these words literally translate to “layers of cooked dough”, describing the flaky, layered texture of the bread. This fine texture and the great taste has made the flatbread a big favorite both in India and throughout the globe.

The preparation of a parotta starts with whole wheat dough. Sometimes ghee will be added during the kneading process. Once the dough is smooth, it is formed into balls, allowed to rest for as much as six hours, and then rolled or stretched out into paper-thin sheets. A cook will fold these sheets multiple times in order to achieve the unique, crisp, flaky texture of the final product. If a filling is to be added, it is placed in the middle of the dough during this process. It is then baked in a pan, cooking a few minutes on either side.

Parottas represent one of the subcontinent’s most popular breads. Indians will commonly eat them either as a breakfast dish, or as a tea-time snack. They will either be eaten plain, or stuffed with a filling like mashed, spiced potatoes, lentils, greens, or paneer. Sometimes, the bread will be rolled up and used as a dipping food with tea.

Eating Indian Food on a Low-Fat Diet

MokSha Bellevue Indian Cuisine

Healthy Dining Options

If you’re trying to cut down on your intake of unhealthy fats and cholesterol, Indian cuisine can be a very strong choice.

Traditional Indian dining is largely very friendly to a low-fat or low-cholesterol diet. First of all, there is a heavy dependence on grains and vegetables, rather than meats.

When meat is used, the grilling techniques frequently employed drain away much of the harmful fats. Finally, the strong spices used in most dishes serve to boost your metabolism, and are highly conducive of weight loss.

To get the most out of your diet while dining at an Indian restaurant, keep the following tips in mind:

  • Consider papadum bread or naan as an alternative to fried samosas.
  • If you eat meat, look for chicken or seafood instead of beef or lamb.
  • Shrimp is found in a lot of dishes. This gives you a healthy dose of the omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Look for a curry with a vegetable or dal base, rather than the ones prepared with a cream or coconut milk base.
  • Are you getting rice? Consider basmati over the familiar white rice. This popular Indian rice is big on valuable nutrition that can help you clean cholesterol out of your system, and has a great taste that works well without fatty sauces.
  • Try choosing dishes made with olive oil or garlic. Both of these common ingredients are effective in reducing your cholesterol levels.

At MokSHA in Bellevue, we offer many satisfying, South Indian-style dishes that mesh well with a variety of diets. Come and try one of our curries, kebabs, or more today!

Peanut Sauces in Indian Cuisine

Peanut-based sauces are a big part of the culinary traditions of numerous cultures, including those of Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, China, Vietnam, parts of Africa, and India. Variations can also be found in lesser degrees throughout Europe, the Middle East, and the Philippines. It is often used as an accompaniment for meat or vegetable dishes, and occasionally employed as a dipping sauce.

The nutritional benefits of peanut sauce are many. Peanuts are a great source of quality, vegan-friendly protein. They are also rich in niacin, copper, resveratrol, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and zinc, which serve to fight harmful cholesterol, lower your sodium levels, and prevent heart disease.

Though peanut sauces are generally high in fat and calories, much of this comes from monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats. Both of these are recognized as highly beneficial when enjoyed in moderation.

Typically, a peanut sauce will be made by combining ground, roasted peanuts with coconut milk, soy sauce, garlic, and spices. At MokSHA, you can experience the great taste of this sauce in our Peanut Indian Baby Eggplant dish, made with onions and cashews. Come give it a try at our Bellevue Indian restaurant.

The Story of Chicken Tikka Masala

Chicken tikka is an Indian dish that is largely attributed to the Punjab region. The word tikka translates to “bits” or “pieces”, describing the way that the chicken meat is prepared.

Traditionally, the chicken is cut into small pieces and marinated in a sauce made from yogurt, lemon or lime juice, and a blend of Indian spices which may include cayenne, coriander, cumin, ginger, garam masala, and turmeric. These pieces are then placed on skewers to be baked in a tandoori oven. In India, people will prepare chicken tikka for special, celebratory occasions.

Often times, particularly in the West, chicken tikka is served with a masala gravy to produce the familiar chicken tikka masala dish, like the kind you can find at MokSHA Bellevue.

Though the origins of this particular preparation are unclear, it is largely thought that it was first served by Indian restauranteurs living in the United Kingdom. It is said that a bus driver sent a plate of curry back to the kitchen, telling chef Ali Ahmed Aslam that it was dry. Aslam, who was eating tomato soup at the moment, mixed some of the soup into the curry with an assortment of spices. The driver loved the end result, and brought his friends back again and again to try it.

If you’re a fan of this popular, classic dish, come visit MokSHA for quality Indian cuisine in Bellevue today.

What is a Kurma?

The kurma, alternatively known as “korma”, “khorma”, or “qorma”, is a dish originating from Central Asian culinary traditions. Its name is derived from from an Urdu word meaning “braise”, which serves to describe how the dish is traditionally made. Generally, it will come in the form of braised meat or vegetables, prepared in a spicy sauce made with water, stock, and either yogurt, nut paste, or cream.

A number of main ingredients will be used in the dish, including lamb, chicken, turnip, beef, and others. Its flavor comes from a mixture of spices that generally includes ground coriander and cumin. Other common spices include chili and ginger. In South Indian versions, chefs will often add bay leaves and dried coconut to the mix.

Though korma has traveled far and been adapted by numerous cultures, it traces its origins back to the Moghlai cuisine of Central Asia. Historians place its invention back at some point in the 16th century, during the Mughal incursions into the area of modern-day India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh.

The earliest forms of the dish were cooked in mud pots over a wood stove made from mud; many believe that these old cooking techniques were responsible for much of the dish’s incredible taste. You can still find people using the same techniques throughout the rural parts of India to this day.

The Curious Origins of Vindaloo

Vindaloo is a common staple of any restaurant that specializes in Indian cuisine. Featuring a powerful, spicy taste, it is well-loved by fans of the more fiery offerings of India. However, if we trace the dish back to its earliest incarnations, we find its roots far away from the Indian subcontinent.

The first ancestor of vindaloo comes from Portugal, where it was known as carne de vinha d’alho. This is a term that literally translates to “meat, wine, and garlic”. It came in the form of a preserved meat eaten by Portuguese sailors during long voyages. Ships would pack wooden barrels with alternating layers of a meat, usually pork, and garlic, all soaked in wine.

The Portuguese took their preserved meat with them to the Goa region of India at some point after Vasco de Gama first arrived in the country in 1498. The Goan people assimilated many Portuguese culinary innovations into their own traditions, and vindaloo was one of them. It was the Goans who added many of the spices we associate with vindaloo to the recipe, including chilies, ginger, coriander, and cumin.

The modern vindaloo is far removed from its earliest roots, mostly reflecting the contributions of the Goans. Further, though traditional vindaloo has not historically involved potatoes, most modern dishes do; this is based on a misconception based on the fact that the Hindi word “aloo” translates to potato.

Mango: India’s Delicious Super-Fruit

Mango

The mango is a fruit native to the tropical regions of the sub-Himalayan plains of India. Delicious and highly nutritious, mango is considered by many to be “the king of fruits”. It is for this reason that it has been a big part of Indian dining for many years.

Nutritionally, mangos are among the richest of fruits, often identified as “super-fruits”. When you eat mango, you are enjoying all of the following benefits:

  • A 100 gram serving of fresh mango gives you 25% of your recommended daily intake of vitamin A, as well as flavonoids like beta-carotene, alpha-carotene, and beta-cryptoxanthin. These compounds are valuable for maintaining healthy vision and skin, as well as protecting you from oral cancer.
  • A high vitamin C content and strong antioxidant compounds found in mangos have been found to protect you from colon cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer, and leukemia.
  • A 100 gram serving of fresh mango contains 156 milligrams of potassium and only two milligrams of sodium. Potassium serves to remove excess sodium from your blood, helping regulate the blood pressure of people struggling with high sodium levels.
  • Mangos are high in fiber, helping you to maintain a healthy digestive system.
  • The strong iron content of mangos makes them a strong choice for people who need a meat-free source of iron.
  • Mangos contain a variety of other nutrients, including vitamin E, vitamon B6, and copper.