[MUSIC PLAYING] RADHIKA NAYAK: We're going to make three dishes today. And you have the recipes for all three of them. I'm going to follow the reverse order than what the recipes are in.
So I'm going to make what we call aloo gobi first. This is a dish that is made with potatoes and cauliflowers. It's what I like to call comfort food.
So I start out with the ghee. It may be something that you might have had in a restaurant here. It's-- I think today's menu is kind of predominantly North Indian, which is what most restaurants here serve. And Indian food is much more than that.
AUDIENCE: Where do we get ghee?
RADHIKA NAYAK: Very good question. So that's what I just added in here.
BETH: I think the question was, where do we get ghee?
RADHIKA NAYAK: Oh where do we get ghee? Thank you, Beth. That was the question. So we ghee, I bought it at Wegmans, and you can certainly get it there.
You can get it at-- there's a tiny store in College Town called the Mini Mart. And they primarily stock all Indian groceries, mostly all. So you could always go there as well. But I make my own at home, so I don't usually buy ghee. But this is very good ghee.
So I'm going to start out with just the cumin. And as the oil heats up, you can hear the cumin seeds sizzling. And once they do that, then I'm going to add what we call asafetida, or hing in India.
It's a spice that you only use a tiny pinch of, but it's mostly used for digestion. Digestive purposes, it aids that. And it's used with foods that are slightly on the heavier side or proteins a lot of the times, like lentils and legumes that are harder to digest.
But I found out that this is actually not originally from India. But they must have, way back then when the spices were being traded, they must have come across it. And it's used in a lot of Indian cooking.
So just a pinch, and then go the bay leaves.
AUDIENCE: Why do we have to use the ghee? Why not oil?
RADHIKA NAYAK: That's a very good question. The question was, why are we using ghee and not oil? So that was just a preference on my part today, because I wanted you guys to try the real stuff. But at home I do use oil. And I use sunflower oil for Indian cooking, because it works really well. And it has the right properties for the kind of cooking that we do on high heat.
AUDIENCE: It does not burn as easily.
RADHIKA NAYAK: That's right, it does not burn as easily. And also does not, I think the word I want to use is decompose, unlike olive oil that is not good to be used on high heats.
So there go the bay leaves. And then I'm going to use the spice base, which I already made ahead of time just to make it easier and quicker for us here. So one thing I did do today that isn't in the recipe-- I sometimes like to be a rebel-- and I just wanted to add a little bit of cumin powder. Nothing really too drastic, just a tad bit of cumin powder.
Because usually coriander powder and cumin powder go really well together, and most in most Indian cooking they are used together as a spice mix. So today I just did that. And you can do that too, or you may not. It's up to you.
AUDIENCE: What's in the spice mix?
RADHIKA NAYAK: So the spice base, as, listed there has ginger, coriander powder, turmeric powder, and cayenne pepper. So I have to admit, I cheated, as in a good way. Instead of cayenne pepper, I decided to use what we use in India or in Indian cooking is chili powder, which is much, much more spicier than cayenne. But I just used a tad bit of it, so hopefully it shouldn't be too overpowering in this dish.
I have all the spices out here, so you know, when we're done and when you're eating, you can actually come out here and check them out if you want. And if you have any questions, I'll be happy to answer them about the spices or where to buy them, etc.
Mostly though, Wegmans saves the day. I mean Wegmans really carries pretty much everything. And they're priced OK. Yes?
AUDIENCE: The spice mix here that you just added--
RADHIKA NAYAK: Yes--
AUDIENCE: --was liquid. So what is the liquid?
RADHIKA NAYAK: Water. Yup, so as in the recipe, it says add three tablespoons of water to make a paste. And the reason to do that is because if you were to add just the spices at that heat, it kind of tends to burn the spices up very quickly. And so you get that burned smell. And just to avoid that, you want to add just a tad bit of water. And then it just you saw how it works here with the water.
It cooks, and then I'm going to just stir it a bit. And I've said, like I said in the recipe, you want to kind of see the oil separating, which is happening right now. If you can see, the ghee is kind of separating on the side as the spice mix cooks in here.
And you know, even though I've added this, and this is a larger quantity that I'm cooking, and honestly, I want to confess that I don't measure at home. I just use just my judgment, and I just add the spices.
So when I add the vegetables in here in a moment, later on as they cook, if I feel that, you know, I don't feel like the color looks right or if I taste it and I feel like I could use a little bit more, it's OK to add a little bit more spice at that point too. So it's not like you're sealing everything right here.
So this looks pretty good to me. And I'm just going to add the cauliflower and the potato. Just to help with the time today, what I did was, I pre-cooked the potato a little bit so that we would not be rushed, because I learned a lot in last week's class. But today we'll have plenty of time.
So I'm just going to mix this up, and then I'm going to let it sit and cook and come together. So cudi is the word for a pan like this. So it's basically a skillet or a wok style pan that's thick and metallic and just something like a deep pot to cook in.
And so you may have tried dishes cudi chicken in a restaurant or cudi paneer. So that's all the word cudi means. It's just a cooking pot. And paneer is cottage cheese, Indian cottage cheese, you know.
I'm just waiting for the pan to heat up and then I'll add the ghee.
AUDIENCE: How long does it take you to make the ghee at home?
RADHIKA NAYAK: That's a good question. How long does it take me to make ghee at home? I think I spend about maybe 35, 40 minutes in all from start to finish.
AUDIENCE: Do you want to explain to us what it is?
RADHIKA NAYAK: Sure. I can explain what ghee is. It's basically clarified butter. And the difference is that it doesn't have the solids and the impurities. Those get removed in the process of making ghee, and then what you have is just clarified butter.
And ayurveda, is anybody familiar with ayurveda here? Yes, so that is, ayur, the word ayur means life in Sanskrit. And veda means knowledge or science. And so it's the knowledge or science behind life.
And so it covers all aspects of life-- food, exercise, like yoga is a part of our ayurveda, sleep, everything. So it's just a way of living life-- a balanced life. So in ayurveda, basically ghee is something that, you know, it's recommended that you consume ghee. Because it helps with strength, and it's just a very healthy thing.
But of course, everything is in moderation, right? So about a teaspoon or a tablespoon a day is supposed to be really good. So just keep coming with the questions if you have any. Don't hesitate.
AUDIENCE: Going back to the other dish, the one that aids in digestion. Does that have a flavor?
RADHIKA NAYAK: The asafetida?
RADHIKA NAYAK: The hing, does this have a flavor? Yes, it's actually bitter if you eat it raw. But when it's cooked, it just brings out an amazing very sharp flavor. It's not bitter so much. And you can barely taste it actually.
But they do use it in drinks too. There are some drinks in India that are like made with buttermilk that, in which we add a little bit of hing or asafetida for the digestion.
So once that is hot, I'm going to the cumin. So as you can see, the process is usually very similar. You start out with the fats, and then you add the seeds. And once they sizzle, then you start adding the spices.
And that's how I do it at home-- no measuring.
AUDIENCE: Saves time.
RADHIKA NAYAK: It does. So asafetida is actually, it's powdered gum resin from a giant fennel, the roots and the stems of a giant fennel. Yup, and like I said, it wasn't something that was originally Indian. But now it's grown in India.
All right, and to this, we add the tomatoes. So I said in the recipe about making a paste with the tomatoes and the ginger, but I'm just going to add the tomato paste. And I have really finely shredded ginger that I'm just going to add as well.
And I might add a little bit of water to make this more like a sauce.
AUDIENCE: And your can is what, tomatoes?
RADHIKA NAYAK: It's just tomato paste.
AUDIENCE: Tomato paste.
RADHIKA NAYAK: You can use really any form of tomato, because you could just chop up really finely chopped raw tomatoes.
AUDIENCE: I've never bought such a big can of tomato paste.
RADHIKA NAYAK: Yeah, so again, you know, my I guess my thought process is that you have to do whatever works for you. And so, if that means that you have a couple of tomatoes in the refrigerator, feel free to use those. You can always improvise.
Sorry, what was your question?
AUDIENCE: You put in a powder, what type of spice mix did you put in?
RADHIKA NAYAK: I haven't put in any spice mix here. All I did was just the ginger and the tomato paste.
RADHIKA NAYAK: And then once I have this tomato paste more like a sauce, and I'm going to let it sit here and cook a bit. And then I'm going to add the spices. So again, I'm going to just eyeball it. And I'll need more paste for the amount of paneer and peppers that I have today.
So last week, after this cooking demo last week, Beth mentioned that she went home and she cooked all three dishes, which is really wonderful. But she also mentioned that she was able to make a lot more servings with that recipe than what I have said on there.
So typically, I would say four, but I think Beth said she got a lot more than four. She got maybe six to eight. So just something to maybe bear in mind.
Most of these dishes will freeze just well. In fact, I do that quite a bit. I make a lot, and then I use it for whenever I might need it, in case I'm in a hurry or something like that. But I generally don't tend to freeze anything that has potato in it, because I don't think it freezes that well.
So this is the sample that was going around I believe of the paneer, the cottage cheese that we used in today's cooking.
AUDIENCE: Is the paneer in, like, the frozen section or the regular--
RADHIKA NAYAK: It is usually frozen, and that's a great way to store it as well until you're ready to use it. Like the night before, I usually bring it down into the refrigerator. So the question was, is the paneer usually frozen? And yes, that's a great way to store it.
You just want to bring it down into the refrigerator the night before, because then it thaws really nicely. And it's soft that you can cut it up.
AUDIENCE: But you buy it fresh? You buy it fresh.
RADHIKA NAYAK: You can buy fresh. There are places that do sell frozen. I have bought them in the larger Indian stores where they have them frozen. So it just depends on the store. Yes?
AUDIENCE: I was wondering about curry powder. There's a misconception about what curry powder is.
RADHIKA NAYAK: Yes.
AUDIENCE: It doesn't look like you're going to use it.
RADHIKA NAYAK: I don't, well because there is-- I honestly, I want to say that. So you're right. Thank you. So the question was to basically talk a little bit about curry powder, because there is a bit of a misconception about that term.
And I think, great question by the way, I think that it's a word that's very loosely used. These are spices. And there isn't really such a thing as a curry powder. I think it might have come about-- maybe there are some regions that use a certain mix of spices, and they call it curry powder. But I personally have not come across that in India.
And I have a feeling that it may have come about through the British, because I just made it easier to just call it curry. So where I am from, the word curry actually means a dish that has a lot of gravy or sauce. So it has nothing to do with spice so much.
It's like chicken curry. You may have read that on menus. Chicken curry or, you know, that just means a dish with lots of sauce, not like a dry dish. There are other places that use the word curry to mean a dry dish, like extremely dry with no water, no sauce, just cooked in oil and the ingredients.
So it just depends. That's why I said that. It's such a-- for me, if somebody says is there curry in this? I'm like, I'm not sure what that means. Because there is no such thing as curry as a spice. It could be like garam masala, which is a mix of spices. And again, depending on the region, the mix can have different spices in it.
Everything in India is so varied. There's such a huge variety of foods and spices and methods. Kadai paneer looks different-- depends on where you go. And so it's made slightly differently too.
I'm just going to-- the prep that I'm making today is something that I know as kadai paneer. And it's one that I've seen most often in restaurants.
AUDIENCE: So when a recipe calls for garam masala, would you recommend using store bought garam masala?
RADHIKA NAYAK: Again, another good question. When a recipe calls for garam masala, would I recommend using store bought garam masala? So I would say for convenience, sure. You know, and for somebody who doesn't make Indian food all the time, sure, unless you wanted to go ahead and make your own.
So the word garam means heat or hot. And masala is basically a mix of spices. So what, the way it's made is all those spices are roasted first, individually. And then they are put together and powdered. So that's what garam masala is.
And so it would depend on what combination of spices you put in there. And you know, just roast them and then powder them. And I usually use a coffee grinder for grinding spices. It works great. So you could do that, but store bought is just fine.
AUDIENCE: Would you ever use store bought garam masala?
I actually get mine from India. So I'm the wrong person to ask again, but in a pinch, sure. Yes, in a pinch, yes. But I stock up every time I go back. I get it from where my grandmother-- my grandmother used to make it for me and keep a stash and then provide it for me every time I went back.
That's how it worked, but she's no more. So I just get it from a person who actually makes it at home and sells it. So I'm spoiled.
So this is what I want is I just wanted to really cook through. And I can, I don't know if you guys can, but I can smell it now. And have the heat on high.
All right, so we have coriander, turmeric-- ginger was already in there. So I'm just going to do the coriander, turmeric, and cayenne. And again, I'm just going to eyeball.
And is everybody OK if I stick with the red chili powder, or do you want the heat level to be lower and I can stick with the cayenne? No we're good. You're good for the real stuff. I never use cayenne, but I did buy it just in case people preferred that.
AUDIENCE: Is that different from what Americans think of as chili powder? Do you--
RADHIKA NAYAK: This--
AUDIENCE: Know what I'm talking about?
RADHIKA NAYAK: Yes. Yes, no that's a different spelling. That's a different spelling. Yes, so I think that probably has some Mexican.
AUDIENCE: That's a Mexican--
RADHIKA NAYAK: Origin I think.
AUDIENCE: But that's not what you're using.
AUDIENCE: No, this is chili peppers. So let me show you. I have some for demo. I'm going to-- I have the fenugreek leaves on there. And I could add them right now, but I'm going to just let this mix a little bit and then add them.
That adds a great flavor by the way-- fenugreek. You get them in seed form as well, but it's the dried leaves that we use more for the flavor.
BETH: If you let me, I'll pass out some dried leaves so people can smell them.
RADHIKA NAYAK: Oh sure. Hey you go. Mmm, divine. So these are the chili peppers that we use. They're like the Thai chilies. And that's what we use in Indian cooking.
When I use fresh chili peppers, this is what I use. I don't use some jalapenos or serrano. I use this. These are extremely spicy. So one or two are perfect.
So that's when they are dried, when you get red chili peppers like that. And then when they dry them. And then they powder them, and that's what we call chili pepper.
So now I'm going to use some of the fenugreek. And you might be able to smell it as I stir it. It's like an herb.
RADHIKA NAYAK: It could use more.
AUDIENCE: Could you speak a little bit about the timing? So you're very clearly not rushing.
RADHIKA NAYAK: Not today. So the question was, could I please speak about the timing, because apparently I'm not rushing, which is true. Not today, but also maybe because this is my second take this. Last week I was rushing, because it's just a one hour demo.
And I'm doing three dishes. And Indian cooking can be very elaborate. These are not very elaborate dishes, but they can be. And I did not think that-- at first we wanted to just do the two dishes. But then we thought we'll get ambitious and do three.
And what I learned from that is that it helps if I were to just precook some of the things. Like this kadai paneer dish, what I did for today, which I hadn't last week, was I cooked the paneer and the bell peppers. And I have them ready. So that would take a lot more time. And so that's why today I'm not rushing.
This is coming together real nicely. I'm just going to leave it there on low heat for a bit more. Then I'll add the amchur And this looks good. I am going to add just a tad bit more water, because I want it to be more of a sauce than a paste.
So again, you just have to kind of go with how it turns out and get a feel for it. And then once you know it's liquidy enough, then I'll be ready to add paneer and the bell peppers.
AUDIENCE: Lots of stirring.
RADHIKA NAYAK: Lots of stirring, yes. Yes, I think in general there are some like this-- at this stage in this dish, yes. But once I add the paneer, I'm only going to mix it enough so as to not break the paneer. Because the paneer is very soft and it's already cooked, so it could fall apart easily.
And I don't want that. I want it to hold its shape so.
AUDIENCE: Does it absorb the sauce?
RADHIKA NAYAK: It will absorb the sauce. A bit more, and I'm going to-- all right.
RADHIKA NAYAK: Do we have the salt somewhere? You could make it really dry and you know, just add it. It's a preference thing, but I prefer it to be more of a sauce so that it coats the paneer and the bell peppers really well.
All right, this looks really good. So I'm going to add the paneer. So I'm kind of fried a bit, just like the recipe says. Not browned it, but you can see how it's a bit crumbly, because it was starting to fall apart already as I was frying it.
And the bell peppers. OK, this is a small kadai.
RADHIKA NAYAK: I'm going to have to be careful.
RADHIKA NAYAK: So some of the paneer might kind of crumble a bit and fall apart. But most of it holds well.
AUDIENCE: About how long would you cook the paneer?
RADHIKA NAYAK: I think about 10 minutes. Not too long, but again moving it gently, but constantly so that it wouldn't brown. Because then when it brown, it starts to fall apart too.
AUDIENCE: Does this kind of cheese--
RADHIKA NAYAK: Can you please repeat the question?
AUDIENCE: Does this kind of cheese melt at a higher temperature?
RADHIKA NAYAK: No, it would just be very crumbly. Yeah. It's very easy to make paneer at home too. I make it for myself. OK. So I'm just going to let it sit and come together. And then we could also garnish it with cilantro if we want to.
And then I will start the rice, but for that I might have to move this. Or maybe I could start the rice here Beth, do you think? So I'm going to add the amchur before I start rice.
So amchur, I don't know if I mentioned this before, but amchur sure is powder that was made with dried mango. So it's dried mango powder. And what it does is it adds a bit of a sour taste to the dish.
It's very popular in the North, in northern India. In the south mostly we tend to use tamarind in our dishes, or lemon.
RADHIKA NAYAK: I almost want to add a bit more.
RADHIKA NAYAK: So I have a bag with-- I wasn't able to find amchur powder when I was shopping for the ingredients. And so what I bought was just dried mango. It's sold in packets like this. It's dried amchur. It's amchur, but not powdered. And then I just used a coffee grinder and made some powder.
You can actually even taste some of it-- take a piece of it and chew on it. It's sour, but it's yummy. OK this is all coming together nicely.
So I don't want to leave this on high heat for too long, so I'm going to take this off. This is done. I'm sorry?
AUDIENCE: Smells good.
RADHIKA NAYAK: Smells good. Beth, can I get these to you as they're done? It's not hot. Thank you.
And then I'm going to start rice here. But that kind of a pot works great for a rice.
AUDIENCE: What does jeera mean?
RADHIKA NAYAK: Jeera means cumin.
RADHIKA NAYAK: Cumin. Cumin seed is jeera, yep. Sorry, the question was, what does jeera mean? Because what I'm making today is called jeera rice. That's cumin rice.
Again, it's something you may have tried in restaurants when they serve rice with a dish. Usually it's jeera rice. Sometimes it's just plain white rice.
And so have the ghee melting here. I don't think I added salt in this. I'm going to do that.
And stir it all up.
RADHIKA NAYAK: I'm going to add the cumin seeds in for the rice as soon as I'm done here. This is taking a bit of time. I'm just going to make sure that the potatoes have cooked through.
You guys are experts. You have no questions.
AUDIENCE: I didn't know that you were tasting either of the other dishes. Are you that confident?
RADHIKA NAYAK: Am I that confident? Was that the question? OK so the question was I'm not tasting anything to make sure it's turned out OK. I honestly think it's just a matter of practice. And just because I've done this enough times that I know that it will be fine.
Also, you know, honestly I don't remember my mom or my grandma tasting things. So maybe that's another thing. I don't know if it's cultural. It could possibly be.
Do you taste things Mala? No, maybe maybe it's an Indian thing. We just don't. You just pray and hope for the best.
RADHIKA NAYAK: So that was the bay leaves right after the cumin. And I'm going to do the cinnamon sticks, which I just bought at bulk in Wegmans. And for the cardamoms, I usually use a mortar and pestle at home to crush them. But what I'm just going to do instead here is use my knife and crush them a bit to get the flavor.
AUDIENCE: So nothing full, you use the chopped, you use the chopped the first step, the--
RADHIKA NAYAK: Third cup.
AUDIENCE: Third cup?
RADHIKA NAYAK: Third chalk.
AUDIENCE: Whole cumin, you use.
RADHIKA NAYAK: Yeah, yes, there are many dishes that use mustard seeds as well. Yes, so and that's fine. I don't know if-- so the question was, you know when I'm starting a dish, I've been using cumin seeds for all three dishes. And that's honestly a preference thing.
Something else that can be used is mustard seeds, which are like dark brown or a black round tiny, tiny seeds. You may have had those dishes in restaurants. Mustard seeds usually pop when you add them. They don't sizzle. They actually pop.
And they're great. But I prefer cumin, because cumin is great for digestion and many other things. And cumin is very easy on the stomach and the body. So I just tend to stick with cumin. But--
AUDIENCE: Panch phoron--
RADHIKA NAYAK: Yup, panch phoron-- and some dishes like aloo baingan, for example, will use panch phoron. So the question was, there is another mix of seeds that is used just like I used cumin here. And that mix of seeds is panch phoron. Panch meaning five, and phoron is what we call phoron, or this process of using the seeds. So--
Those five seeds are mustard, cumin, fenugreek, fennel, and onion seeds. That's the combination of the five seeds that is usually used also in some dishes. That is not something that's used in many dishes. But mostly it's cumin and mustard seeds that are the most popular for this kind of a prep.
So I have the frozen green peas in there.
AUDIENCE: And they were frozen?
RADHIKA NAYAK: They were frozen. They work great. Sometimes-- you know, you can add other veggies in here too. Like sometimes I use the frozen bag of peas and carrots, and that works well. Or corn would be good. Sometimes chopped finely chopped cauliflower really tastes good too.
So anything that you want, you know, or you have in the freezer. You can use that.
AUDIENCE: But you don't defrost it first?
RADHIKA NAYAK: Do I defrost the frozen veggies? No, well with the cauliflower I did. Because I needed to chop them up into smaller bite-sized pieces. So I did, but with peas no. I just dump it right in, and the heat helps so yeah.
So then once the peas are added, then just you know, I'm just going to let them cook. And then the next step would be to add the already cooked rice. So I figured everybody here would know how to cook rice, so I didn't want to go through that step. And I have my rice cooker here. And it has cooked and it's staying warm for me.
And I'm just going to add it in. And we'll be ready to eat. The green peas smell really good in the ghee. I think anything smells good in ghee.
AUDIENCE: I'm very hungry.
RADHIKA NAYAK: Yeah. That's a good question. The question was, is cilantro the only herb that's usually used as a garnish, or other any other fresh herbs? And I don't know of any. Cilantro is the one that is used as a garnish.
And it's also a pretty good source of calcium, by the way for the paneer dish.
AUDIENCE: You don't use parsley?
RADHIKA NAYAK: I'm sorry? We don't use parsley. We don't have parsley, no. We do use, like in-- is everybody familiar with the dish called raita? It's made with yogurt. Yes, so sometimes in that we might use some dill, an equivalent of dill. So things like that.
But generally speaking, dishes like this and you're garnishing, it's always cilantro. It's a bit harder to add the salt once the rice goes in. So I'm just going to add the salt now.
RADHIKA NAYAK: Yes sorry.
AUDIENCE: It's OK. So you use seeds versus powder--
RADHIKA NAYAK: The difference and when to use it? So the question was, cumin seeds versus cumin powder, and when you use either one. So very good question, again. Seeds, when we start out the process we use seeds. So that's when you would use the cumin seed.
But you can also, in addition to that, use cumin powder in the spice mix like I did in today's spice mix that I added for this. I actually added a dash of cumin, because it goes really well with the coriander powder. So cumin powder you can use like a spice basically, that you can just sprinkle over anything, you know.
And it's something that we even sprinkle over salads a lot of the times. We make salads with like chickpeas, garbanzos, and you know, you just mix it up with a little bit of red onion, chopped onion, and a couple of those green chilies to add a little bit of zing to it. And then some cumin powder, some coriander powder, salt and pepper, lemon juice. Good to go.
So just things like that. So you can add it, you know, for a variety of dishes, whether raw or cooked. And that would be OK.
AUDIENCE: Are the green chilies availableat Wegmans, or do you have to get them at a specialty store?
RADHIKA NAYAK: Those are from Wegmans. The chilies, they are, the question was where did I get them from? And they're from Wegmans. So they have, where the peppers are, they have a little basket that has Thai green peppers. And those are what I got.
All right, I think it's good now to add the rice.
AUDIENCE: Do you use some sugar?
RADHIKA NAYAK: I'm sorry, Mala?
AUDIENCE: Sugar? Sugar?
RADHIKA NAYAK: No, the question was, do we add sugar? There are some dishes that we would traditionally, but not all. And again, I think again it depends on the region. So where I come from, no we don't add sugar in everything. There are some dishes, though, that we do.
AUDIENCE: What about for the rice, do you use sugar?
RADHIKA NAYAK: No, for the rice we never use sugar, no. Do you? So there are some regions. I'm sorry.
Oh, the question again, is why do I prefer basmati? Primarily because it smells great. And it's a very good long grain rice that cooks well and holds well-- the shape, the form. So that's my main reason.
AUDIENCE: Do you ever use brown rice, brown basmati?
RADHIKA NAYAK: Fantastic question, a question that, actually, I love talking about. So I do, but mixed with white rice. And the reason is I used to. I went all gung ho with brown rice when I found out, you know, when that news was out that brown is better.
And then I read up that, because of the way rice is grown in paddy fields in water, there's a lot of arsenic in rice. And so, white rice, which is highly processed, loses a lot of the arsenic. And brown rice does not.
So the key is, I think, no matter what rice you use, the key is to really rinse it well before you cook it. Rinse it really well thoroughly, like four or five times in a strainer. And then you can cook it.
So what I do is I wanted the benefits of both. I didn't want too much arsenic, and I also wanted brown rice. So I started going 50/50. It's just a way of justifying in my own mind.
AUDIENCE: And you can do it in the rice cooker, 50/50?
RADHIKA NAYAK: So brown rice takes longer to cook, so I do not cook brown rice in the rice cooker. I actually use the Indian way of cooking it in the pressure cooker. And then it's just like 10 minutes. But you could just do, you know, just on the stove top and--
AUDIENCE: Or I could make two batches.
RADHIKA NAYAK: Or you could. You could, yeah. There are-- I've seen some rice cookers, though, in stores that say they have like a thing for brown rice as well. So maybe that would work
AUDIENCE: They have one for mixed.
RADHIKA NAYAK: Oh that's good, yeah, like a multi-grain or something. That would work.
RADHIKA NAYAK: The rice looks good, and it's ready, I think. So this is why I like basmati. Because it really holds up and even though you stir it so much, it doesn't get mushy. It cooks perfectly.
AUDIENCE: Does Indian cooking ever use sticky rice?
RADHIKA NAYAK: The question is does Indian cooking ever use sticky rice? The answer is no. We have a whole lot of variety, though, in rice. Just many, many, many different kinds of rice-- long grain as well as short grain, and use for different purposes in different regions.
Just going to mix this well. And I'll take this off the heat. Almost done.
I think we're in business.
AUDIENCE: It looks and smells awesome.
RADHIKA NAYAK: All right. We're good. It's ready and we can eat.
AUDIENCE: Thank you.
RADHIKA NAYAK: You're welcome. Thank you. Any other questions, feel free to-- I'm here. So feel free to come up and take a look at the spices or ask me any questions that you might have. Thank you so much for coming.
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Radhika Nayak, an accomplished Indian cook and instructor, makes three dishes: 1) jeera rice, a simple rice dish flavored with cumin seeds; 2) kadhai paneer, cubed curd cheese and bell peppers sautéed in spicy tomato gravy; and 3) aloo gobi, a main dish made with potatoes, cauliflower and a blend of spices.