August 01, 2009
Most I speak to about making Indian food mentions their reluctance to even try cooking it because of the overwhelming number of spices out there.
As I put the finishing touches on my spice section for my cookbook, I realize there are a lot of spices out there. But, for the beginner, it's just a matter of getting your hands on about 9 key spices: cumin, mustard, and coriander seeds, turmeric powder, red chili powder, garam masala, green mango powder, white salt and black salt. The rest you can add slowly as you go. The Chicago Tribune article on spicing that I wrote earlier this year - to the right of this blog under Press - has a great how-to on which spices to purchase.
I also found a great English to Hindi conversion for all the key spices. I even learned a few things, as I never knew what caraway seeds were but realized they are the Shah Jeera that I've been using for months now!
Take a look and ask if you have any questions!