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Gifts to Give the Indian Food Lover

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When it comes to giving gifts, the question uppermost in most minds is "what to buy". It's a good idea to try and give something that reflects the person's likes or interests. If you're setting out to buy for an Indian food lover, here're some ideas.

1. Indian Cookbooks

There's nothing like a good cookbook to get a foodie all excited about cooking. The nice thing is, there's a huge range to choose from both in content and price. While a general Indian cookbook that covers several different regions, types and courses of food is great, an extra special touch would be to find out if the recipient of your gift likes any particular type of Indian food - regional, vegetarian, non-vegetarian, snacks, desserts, etc – then buy accordingly. To help you decide which one to get, take a look at some Indian cookbook reviews.
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2. Masala Dabba or Spice Rack

Spices are synonymous with Indian food and for good reason. Over the centuries, Indian cooks have perfected the art of using and combining them. An Indian dish may have one or many spices in it and having them close at hand when you're cooking, is vital to saving time and energy in the kitchen. A good spice rack will also keep spices cool and dry and help them last longer. Simplify cooking for the Indian foodie in your life by giving them a spice rack. The added bonus - spices, with their myriad colors, textures and shapes are pretty to look at. A spice rack that displays them will be therefore, be much appreciated.

3. Mortar and Pestle

Did you know that crushed garlic gives off far more flavor than finely chopped garlic? Or that freshly roasted and ground spices are much more flavorful than pre-prepared ones? Many Indian dishes call for ingredients to be coarsely ground and nothing does this better than a mortar and pestle. While you can get small wooden ones fairly cheap, a really good, stone or stainless steel mortar and pestle will be on the expensive side. Preferably get one that is made from a non -porous material - granite is best - as flavors from previously ground ingredients mingling with current ones, is not desirable.
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4. Coffee Grinder

Just like a mortar and pestle but much more convenient for grinding larger quanties of dry spices finely, a coffee grinder allows for batches of spices to be pre-prepared and stored. While really fresh, made-as-you-need-them spices are best, this is a great alternative for those who cook Indian food often. Spice mixes like Garam Masala, Tandoori Masala and Sambar Masala can be then be made in advance and stored for a month at a time.

5. Kadhai/ Wok

Lots of Indian dishes involve cooking the ingredients - meat or vegetable - in their own juices. Little or no water is added while cooking and the style is very similiar to stir-frying. A wok-like Indian utensil called the Kadhai is perfect for this. A Kadhai is not too deep, has a wide top, rounded bottom and distributes the heat over a larger surface, allowing for faster more even browning and cooking. Indian Kadhais are made of iron, aluminum, copper, brass or stainless steel with a thicker bottom. If you can't get your hands on a traditional Indian Kadhai a good quality wok will do an equally good job.

6. Pressure Cooker

A pressure cooker works by building up pressure and temperature inside its tightly sealed pot. This makes food inside it cook faster(usually 1/3 the time) and more evenly than in an open pot. A pressure cooker therefore not only saves cooking time but also helps conserve precious nutrients in the food - cooking foods for too long destroys these nutrients. Lots of Indian foods are cooked in a pressure cooker, so gifting an Indian foodie one is sure to earn you serious brownie points! Choose from a range that includes the simple -with-no-frills pressure cookers to those with all the bells and whistles on!
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