5 Ingredients to Authenticate Your South Asian Dish

So on top of being Muslim, I’m also, what’s considered desi… otherwise known as South Asian – of Pakistani descent to be specific. And if there’s one thing desis cannot live without its flavor. Whether we’re talking about food or life in general… we run from dull and bland.

And true to this admission is our love for certain ingredients which you’ll find in practically every mile-stretch-smelling dish. In our family, there are at least 5 ingredients that all but bread must include to be authentic and edible.

Suffice to say, these ingredients aren’t just tossed in for their palate perks. They also have valuable health benefits that assist us throughout life.

Garlic… the head of the house of cooking. Its infamous glory is not limited to Italy… but is crushed and pureed for everyday foods including meat, lentils, and vegetables. But garlic also adds a wonderful aroma tapering down the not so glorious lingerings of poultry and lamb – which we love dearly.

Ginger… is garlic’s bestie. We usually condense and combine the two in similar forms and use them for marinating. But ginger also steps outside the pot and is kept raw, garnishing specialty foods to assist in digestion. Its also great to prevent colds!

Green coriander… or cilantro for us west coast dwellers. Is a must have garnish for savory dishes. Its vibrant color, tantalizes our taste buds through sight and its fresh scent is equally naughty.

Green chili… is equally used as a base and garnish by true desi cooks. Eaten at one’s own risk these can either cause a lava to erupt in your throat or simply add a great kick to your entrée. But this little fire cracker has multiple benefits including speeding metabolism.

Turmeric… the yellow and more painful to look at, the more authentic… or so my mom says and my mom’s mom. If your food looks pale, turmeric is your answer.. God knows if it adds any flavor to the food it coats, but it definitely has incredible health benefits. As an antibiotic, a pinch of this ensures your food is healthier for you and rich in color.



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