I'm no amateur, but there is plenty I don't know. If I go to any Indian restaurant, chances are that I will know what 90% of the things on the menu are without needing a description. Last night, I made aloo gobi, saag aloo, and a chicken curry (a vindaloo style curry,) raita, and basmati rice for dinner. Not totally from scratch as I used storebought masalas, but I know how to make Indian foods my self. Didn't need a recipe for anything, I make this kind of meal at least once every two weeks or so. I LOVE INDIAN FOOD! My questions (and these are just to start) and hopefully these can help others as well:
1. Is "paratha" pronounced paraNtha? (with an n?) If so, why is it never, ever, spelled with an n?
2. Is "roti" pronounced ROTE-lee? (with an L?)
3. Why is it mostly assumed that I don't want anything spicy? Yes, I get it that for the most part, I bet the folks at Indian restaurants have Americans whining about the food being too hot, but, I have never had Indian food that was anywhere near approaching too hot for me. I LOVE hot food. Example: I once ordered a naan roll and when the gentleman was assembling it, he reached for some kind of fresh chopped green chile (looked like jalapeno) and the counterwoman who took my order stopped him, and shook her head. Why wouldn't she at least ask?
4. Why do some Indian ppl think that bay leaf and curry leaf are interchangeable? I have an Indian cookbook that states specifically, in the glossary, that bay leaf is NOT a sub for kari pata. I once went to an Indian Mkt, and could not find curry leaf. The store proprietor told me to use bay leaf instead since it's basically the same. WHAAAAA????
5. If I go to an Indian restaurant, how can I politely say "I'd prefer my food to be spicy hot, and not dumbed down"
6. Ok, last question (for now, anyway:) REALLY, what do you do with pickle? How do you eat it? It's usually far too shockingly salty for me. I buy a jar every now and then, but I use it mixed with other things. Do you really just eat it straight or dab it on a bit of food before eating it?