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).
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