My husband and I are BIG foodies, with a couple of friend of different nationalities we are members of the unofficial “International Supper Club” in Cologne, Germany. We would basically meet regularly to discover a new cuisine in a different restaurant and share amazing meals and moments.
For both Indian and French, food is the fuel for both your body and your soul. It is not only the food itself but also the company you enjoyed it with that our cultures value highly. This is the medium by which we built a family bond and share the most simplest joy in life. Those are the dishes prepared by our mother and grand mother and all the memories associated with it.
One of the first topic to tackle in a every marriage is to learn other taste and edit together the new version of your family food culture. We were no exception to this universal rule with the added challenge of different back-ground and religious food restriction (veg / non-veg, fasting or not).
Though both our food traditions are praised internationally* they have radically opposed fundamentals. Indian cuisine is all about marrying spices whereas French cuisine is about creating different textures to subtly highlight the fresh ingredients.
Learning the basics of Indian cuisine and mastering the french-cuisine techniques was key to strengthen the bond with my husband and build a bridges between our cultures. After all, “the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach”. Beside in Cologne the Indian community is not as big as in the US and the only way for my husband to enjoy his favorite food will be through home-cooking. Similarly getting decent french pastry in Cary, North Carolina is mission impossible.
On my quest towards Indian cuisine, I took the habit of asking people about their family recipe when I tried a dish I liked at a party. We exchange containers of food with our neighbor, I observe my Mother-in-Law cooking, take notes and pictures. I also relied heavily on the internet to check for recipe of common dishes like palak paneer or my favorite dal makhani. This Diwali I prepared tricky Indian sweets (Kaju Katli and Jalibi) for the first time and I met both success, failure and a lot of encouragement.
For many reason we mostly eat vegetarian lately. Because French cooking relies heavily on meat and my only way to satisfy my french food craving was to learn how to bake the traditional pastry that we would normally buy at a French Pastry shop.
If you are interested to learn about French and/or Indian cuisine, I have put a couple of link to the online resources I used in my culinary journey.
For French Cuisine all the recipes are in french but google translate can help
- Marmiton: This is the most known culinary website in France. They have plenty of recipe (not only french cuisine) with step-by-step instructions and sometimes videos. The user comments are also very useful to adapt or adjust the recipe.
- 750g: I do not always like their recipe and the ads are pretty annoying but they invite professional pastry chef to teach special cooking techniques (e.g. the traditional puff pastry, or the art of the perfect croqueembouche).
- Iletaitunefoislapatisserie: This website is all about pastry. I love the video associated with this blog, the recipe are easy to follow and it is done for family who like to prepare good pastry with whatever utensils are in the households. The finish of her cakes are not perfect like for a professional just. It can be a bit rough around the edge just like my end result!
- Le meilleur patissier (french version of the Great British Bake Off): I do not take recipe from this TV show but I get a lot of inspiration from it. The techniques used are more elaborate than the British version of the show and with A LOT less sugar than the american baking shows. If you are trying to learn the french language, culture and love pastries you will love it!
For Indian cuisine
- Veg recipes of India: This site is my Alpha and Omega, they have lot of vegetarian recipes and regularly create featured summary of dishes to cook for special festivals. For someone like me who is new to all those festivals and the culinary expectation toward the lady of the house, it has been a big help. Other big plus for me is that they also have the quantity in metrics and imperial and put ingredients name in both English and Hindi.
- Sanjeev Kapoor: My husband recommended me this site for non-veg recipe and I have used it a couple of time with good results. The videos are very well done and there is an awesome variety of recipes. For western viewers, just be prepared Indian (Sanjeev Kapoor is no exception) often use their hands instead of a spoon or a spatula while preparing food for the family.
Feel free to add your tips and online cooking resources in the comments, it does not have to be Indian of French… we just love good Food!