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Jan 21, 2013 08:45 AM

Your First Time...Did You Enjoy It?

I speak, of course, about the first time you chuffed Indian food. My first experience with Indian cuisine came in 1994 when I was 26. I got take-out (don't even remember the specific dishes) from a joint called India Palace. And when I tried the stuff, it was like a bomb going off in my mouth--but in a good way. The explosive mosaic of flavors was unlike anything I had ever experienced, and it absolutely knocked me out. From that moment I was a loyal devotee of the stuff.

But I understand many Westerners have a very different reaction. I mean, let's face it. The flavor profile of Indian food is rather different from any Western cuisine. And the intensity of the spicing is a bit much for some.
At any rate, I'm curious to know people's initial reaction to Indian food.

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  1. Ah, the memory of the "first time" with Indian food. A fetching spread of deliciousness invitingly presented on white linen. My voracious hunger and animal instincts immediately kicked in, stuffing my face and nimbly using my hands, enjoying every luscious item. There was no holding back; not even the naan starter was a non-starter. I've been a fan ever since.

    3 Replies
      1. re: Perilagu Khan

        You mean my man cave? It's closed for remodeling.

        1. re: Veggo

          Ah, the Punjabi Prince Cave of Parrish. Its reputation is known to me.

    1. The first time? No, I didn't enjoy it, nor did I dislike. It was like "Hmmm.... Ok... Let's keep eating". It grew on me in time. Actually, I didn't like Southern barbecue the first time I tried it. I tried it a few more times and then I love it.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

        Just took a few of my wife's friends out for their "first time." I went with the less intimidating choices (samosas, dal, chicken tikka masala and a few others) and everyone enjoyed the meal.

        1. re: ferret

          <everyone enjoyed the meal.>

          :) Awesome. Yeah, some Indian foods are friendlier than others. Same could be said just about any other cuisines I suppose.

      2. Mine was in 2009, on a date, with a sous chef who worked at a VERY well known downtown Chicago restaurant. He took me to a pretty nice Indian place downtown and forgot his wallet. I bought the dinner (which was around $100 if I recall), and the 2nd half of our date ended up with us driving to his mother's house where he had been earlier in the day, about an hour away, so he could get his wallet, and then we went for pie at a diner, and then wrapped up the evening with him stopping at the ATM to pay me back for dinner :) I did see him a couple more times after that.

        But as for the food, I loved it. He did all the ordering and knew what he was doing, so that's helpful. I LOVE hot (as in spicy hot) food so many Indian dishes are right up my alley. It's just hard to find good places to get it. I do not live in Chicago anymore, and I don't dare even attempt to do it at home, if I could even find the ingredients.

        4 Replies
        1. re: juliejulez

          Which ingredients can you not find? From my experience, most "Indian" ingredients are not all that scarce because many of them are used in other cuisines such as Mexican and Chinese. If you can get the ingredients, I recommend you find a good Indian cookbook and try your hand at cooking the stuff. It's not only delicious but fun to prepare.

          1. re: Perilagu Khan

            Mostly the chiles, which seem to be in a lot of the recipes I am interested in making. The regular seasonings I can usually find at my normal store, although it gets pricey to accumulate them.

            Plus, like with most ethnic foods, I can never replicate what I can get in a restaurant at home... I guess I just don't have the knowledge or equipment to do so. Oh, and my SO cannot do anything that's too hot/spicy (he has Crohn's) so that takes the fun out of it :) He actually went to India for work for 3 weeks in 2010 and he said he was miserable the whole time, even the "mild" stuff did not agree with him whatsoever.

            1. re: juliejulez

              I agree with PK on making at home
              Flavors First by Vikas Khanna is a good "starter" cookbook for the uninitiated (like me)
              (and he's easy on the eyes too!)

              1. re: cgarner

                Hard to believe, perhaps, but the Betty Crocker Indian Cookbook is magnificent. Of course, it wasn't written by Betty but rather Ragavan Iyer.

                This book covers all regions of India, provides an excellent cross section of various categories of food and primary ingredients, and the recipes, virtually without fail, are delish and reasonably straightforward. Nicely designed book, too.

        2. The first time I ate anything remotely Indian was when I cooked Madhur Jaffrey's Lemony Chicken with Fresh Coriander. I had seen her make it on her show (aired on public TV in the early-mid '80s) and thought it sounded great. It was!

          1. The first time I experienced it was aboard ship and I thought it was excellent. Since then, although I have eaten it in many parts of the world, I do not particularly favor it for the reasons you mention.

            1 Reply
            1. re: mudcat

              I take it thus was not aboard the USS Oklahoma during WWII!