Kaveli Indian Food Mixes

Palau, pakoras and more Indian classics from Kaveli

We'd love to learn the culinary ropes at the side of an Indian matriarch.

So we turn to a close second: Elizabeth Chawla, whose Kaveli cooking mixes are born from years cooking and eating with her Indian mother-in-law.

The new mixes, which are made in Wisconsin and available online, feature starter kits for five stalwarts of the family's repertoire, plus a classic Indian sweet and packets of masala chai.

Kali daal ($15), a slow-simmered blend of three legumes scented with garam masala, is a staple. It's one of the easiest kits: Simply add fresh ginger, salt, water and butter to the lentils, beans and spices. Serve it over rice palau ($11), basmati rice studded with cumin, cloves and cardamom.

A dozen spices, including black cardamom, Indian bay leaves and asafetida, form the base of a tandoori chicken spice mix ($19), which is accompanied by the flour and yeast needed to make fresh naan. Add potatoes and spinach to Kaveli's pakora mix ($13) to make the popular spiced-chickpea-flour street snack, or dip vegetables in the batter and fry tempura-style.

For dessert, try besan burfi, here called "besan almond shortbread" ($13)–a crumbly, chickpea-flour sweet cooked on the stovetop, and an excellent match for chai ($15).