Oh my gosh! Last nights dinner was one of those that Mark and I literally high five each other on. I know it’s corny but that’s what we do when I am able to duplicate the experience we get dining out at most Indian restaurants.

Earlier this week Mark came across an OnMilwaukee.com article about a new cooking show on MPTV Channel 10 airing Saturdays at 11am.  The program is Healthful Indian Flavors with Alamelu. Mark — knowing how much I love Indian food and also how I try to make healthier choices for us — was quite happy to have found this and I am very grateful.

The host, Alamelu Variavan, is a local cookbook author and culinary instructor. When the show was over, I told Mark, “I know what we are having for dinner tomorrow night.” Sunday evening, I made all three dishes Alamelu demonstrated.

Lemon Rice with Peanuts recipe

Lemon Rice with Peanuts

Eggplant Masala recipe

Eggplant Masala

Lima Beans Poriyal recipe

Lima Beans Poriyal

What a great vegetarian dinner! Each dish included a lot of the same spices and tempering techniques, so the process went quickly, and none of it was very complicated. It took me less than an hour and a half to complete all three.

Most of the ingredients were already in my pantry; I have been doing a lot of Indian cooking since we bought a pressure cooker a few years back. The drive to East Indian Market on Lathrop Avenue is not long, so when I need something that I don’t have on hand, I just stop by our friendly little neighborhood store.

I have a couple of Indian cookbooks that are fantastic. My favorite book to date would have to be Madhur Jaffrey’s Quick & Easy Indian Cooking, but so far I have none specifically geared toward healthy cooking. That’s why I am so excited about Alamelu’s new TV show.

I guess my love for Indian food started when our friend Sharon took us to Udupi Palace on Devon Avenue in Chicago.  Sharon is a vegetarian, and at the time lived right down the street from Udupi Palace. It must have been 15 years ago. We were part of a big group, and none of us knew what we were ordering. We just shared everything and loved it all.

I would have to say that Indian cuisine is my absolute favorite. Every time I eat really good Indian food, I kind of get intoxicated. I love all the spices that are used. They don’t always have to be hot. They just add so much flavor.

I would highly recommend trying any or all of the three dishes featured on Healthful Indian Cooking with Alamelu. Some of the spices may be a little exotic, but you will find yourself using them often. Most of the spices are not very expensive and have a pretty long shelf life.

I am looking forward to the next episode, and wish Alamelu all the best.

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