Spices are an integral part of Indian food. This does not mean that Indian food is always hot. Indian food is well seasoned, aromatic and full of flavor. There are some hot dishes especially in the South of India, but, overall the dishes of India are skilfully prepared with the chef having a mastery over the properties of spices and how they are blended. We use cooling spices as well as warming spices, bland spices as well as pungent spices, sweet spices as well as hot spices. Spices are also used for colour and healthful properties. Indian food also has the health promoting properties of various herbs, ginger and spices. Yogurt, an accompaniment to Indian meals introduces good flora (acidophilus) into the digestive system.
Like any food, calories and nutrition depend heavily on the preparation technique. Deep fry an Indian dish and it’ll be very high in calories/energy (mostly from fat). Stir fry or bake it and calorie levels plummet. Tamarind chefs stir-fry in vegetable oil.
We add cream to some of our popular dishes like butter chicken, but most vegetables and lentils are low in fat. Tandoori foods are baked and are rich in nutrition. Indian vegetarian dishes are loaded with antioxidants.
And don’t forget the healthful benefits of spices – some of which are known battlers against cancer, heart disease, arthritis and Alzheimer's disease. The rate of Alzheimer's disease in India is among the lowest on earth and it’s attributed to the use of spices, which also promote a healthy metabolism.
Indian foods are rich in whole grains including lentils, legumes and dried varieties like kidney beans, chickpeas and black-eyed beans. Whole grains are good sources of protein, dietary fibre, vitamins and minerals; they’re low in fat and heart-friendly. They may also help reduce the risk of colon cancer, and cancers of the stomach and mouth.
Pairing Indian food with the right drink can be a tricky. Let’s begin with the obvious; beer makes an excellent beverage with most Indian food. As for wine, while individual tastes differ – and depending on what you order – we suggest Gewurztraminer, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Shiraz/Syrah or Cabernet Franc.
That said, please note that Tamarind does not serve alcoholic beverages.