Thursday, October 4, 2012

15 Ingredients Every Achi Bivi Should Have

If you plan to be an "achi bivi" (good wife) and you want to cook Pakistani cuisine, here are 15 ingredients that you should always have on hand...

1. Garam Masala - A combination of spices (white and black peppercorns, cloves, cinnamon, black and white cumin seeds, cardamom pods) that you can usually just pick up an an Indo-Pak grocery store already combined.
2. Tumeric (Haldi) - This stuff will stain your clothes, your hands, and your counter-top, so be careful!

3. Red Chili Powder - It's in almost every dish, you can add a lot or a little and makes it spicy!

4. Crushed Red Pepper Flakes - Another way to make it spicy!

5. Dried Whole Red Peppers - You can get them round or long, both are used in Pakistani dishes.

6. Cilantro - You can grow your own or buy them fresh.  I get it at the local grocer for .25 cents a bunch, so I always have it in the fridge, even if I don't end up using it.
7.  Salt - Most homes already have salt, but this is really important and you use a good amount of it!

8.  Black Pepper - Another common ingredient that most western homes have, but make sure you've got it!

9.  Cumin Seeds and Cumin Seed Powder - Both are used.

10. Cardamoms and Cardamom Powder - This gives the food a nice fragrance.

11. Fenugreek Seeds - These are generally roasted to add flavor.

12. Mustard Seeds - Also something that is roasted to add flavor.

13. Curry Leaves - You don't always need to have these fresh, you can use dried curry leaves or freeze them.

14. Oil - Some people use Ghee, personally, I've never used it.  I always use vegetable or canola oil.  If you are deep frying, you might want to get a large container of oil and save it in a jar after each use to reuse it.

15. Basmati Rice & Bread - All dishes are either served with rice or a bread (naan, paratha, chapati, etc.).  Both are necessary.  The brand of rice does make a difference and I recommend either Reserve or Royal.

And lastly, there are some fresh produce that you should always have in your fridge or freezer that will help to cook up some quick dishes, such as:  tomatoes, potatoes, peas, carrots, spinach, onions.

If you have these ingredients, you are well on your way to cooking Pakistani!