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Indian cuisine in South Africa - Tast It!

Over the past decades the Indian cuisine has become quite popular in South Africa, not only because of the significant number of South Africans of Indian origin, but also because of the excellence of the many Indian restaurants.


Most of them are decorated and styled in the traditional Indian way. The cuisine has been adapted to South African tastes and the spicy dishes are not as hot as they would be in India.

Still, you are offered a choice of mild, medium or hot, with a warning that hot is not for the faint-hearted.

An essential feature of Indian cooking whether vegetarian or not, is the use of spices, mostly in the form ofcurries.

Curries, served sweet, mild or hot, are combinations of spices, of which there are 22 main ones usedin Indian recipes.

Popular favourites from the South African-Indian kitchen are,...

Sugar cane fields of KwaZulu-Natal - Indian Cuisine in South Africa, Indian Food Images
Sugar cane fields of KwaZulu-Natal
Indian Cuisine in South Africa, Indian Food Images

Introduction,...

Curries are mostly made from the so called "C" spices, cassia, cumin, coriander, cardamom, coves, chillies and cinnamon. Another important feature is the use of masalas, which are mixtures of herbs and spices with ingredients such as chillies, garlic, ginger, salt and oil.

Spices for sale in an Indian shop in Durban - Indian Cuisine in South Africa, Indian Food Images
Spices for sale in an Indian shop in Durban
Indian Cuisine in South Africa, Indian Food Images

Leaving out the ginger, the Zulu people in KwaZulu-Natal embraced the Indian curry in their cookery as if it was their own. Rice is a staple food in the Indian culture. It is often prepared with tasty ingredients such as nuts, saffron, sultanas, lentils, and vegetables to create pilau. Other starches often served with a meal are oven-baked bread (naan), unleavened bread (roti), spiced pancakes (poora) and fried yeast bread (foolka).

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Biryani,...

Biryani - Indian Cuisine in South Africa, Indian Food Images
Biryani
Indian Cuisine in South Africa, Indian Food Images

A ceremonial food, normally prepared for festive occasions, hence the use of expensive saffron to colour the rice. Chicken or lamb is marinated in a spicy yogurt mix and the rice is flavoured with cardamom, cumin and cinnamon.

Layers of marinated meat and fried potatoes are packed into a pot and these are topped with rice drizzled with saffron. In some instances nuts and sultanas are added just before serving. The pot is sealed and steamed in the oven.

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Korma,...

Korma and rice - Indian Cuisine in South Africa, Indian Food Images
Korma and rice
Indian Food Images

A lightly spiced cream with cashew nut and butter sauce, served with either meat or vegetables. Served to maharajas in the days of old, it’s rich and satisfying, corrupting the dieters and delighting the gourmets.

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Curry Stew,...

Curry stew with rice - Indian Cuisine in South Africa, Indian Food Images
Curry stew with rice
Indian Cuisine in South Africa, Indian Food Images

A good-quality Indian curry stew is an exciting palate experience. Fresh garlic and ginger pulp are lightly fried together with chillies, onions and a garam masala, a mixture of cumin seeds, peppercorns, cloves, cinnamon and cardamom.

Added to this are chopped tomatoes and finally the meat, seafood or vegetable of your choice. After slow simmering, the spicy stew is served with steamed rice and sambals.

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Sambals,...

Sambal Oelek - Indian Cuisine in South Africa, Indian Food Images
Sambal Oelek
Indian Cuisine in South Africa, Indian Food Images

Saucers of chutneys and relishes accompanying most Indian meals, are collectively referred to as "sambals". They include chopped tomato, cucumber and onion drizzled with vinegar, fruit chutney, mango atchar (a spicy pickle made with green mangoes), dried coconut, bananas in yogurt and chopped pineapple.

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Paneer,...

Paneer - Indian cottage type cheese - Indian Cuisine in South Africa, Indian Food Images
Paneer (Indian cottage type cheese)
Indian Cuisine in South Africa, Indian Food Images

A white, smooth textured cheese, a bit like Italian ricotta, is often combined with cauliflower and peas to produce a vegetarian dish. Simply delicious.

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Tandoori Chicken,...

Tandoori chicken - Indian Cuisine in South Africa, Indian Food Images
Tandoori chicken
Indian Cuisine in South Africa, Indian Food Images

A tandoori is a traditional Indian clay oven into which skewered meat is placed. A bright and red spice mix which acts as both a tenderizer and flavour-enhancer is rubbed into the meat. Slightly charred on the outside and meltingly tender on the inside, this is Indian style barbecue at its best.

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Onion, Chilli Bites and Samoosas,...

Indian samoosas (South African spelling) - Indian Cuisine in South Africa, Indian Food Images
Indian samoosas (South African spelling)
Indian Cuisine in South Africa, Indian Food Images

Are deep-fried vegetarian Indian snacks that combine Indian flours with vegetables such as onion and spinach to produce tasty starters. Samoosas, a triangle of dough with either a meat or a vegetarian filling, are another favourite snack and can be filled with anything from mixed vegetables to a very spicy minced meat mixture.

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Roti and Naan bread,...

Indian naan bread - Indian Cuisine in South Africa, Indian Food Images
Indian naan bread
Indian Cuisine in South Africa, Indian Food Images

Roti is a flat flour wrap used to scoop up bite of curry, while Naan is a flat Indian bread. They come in different flavours like butter, garlic etc. Naan is superb when served fresh from the oven, still steaming.






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