Almost every country has a signature dish, but only a select few boast an entire repertoire that can capture the world’s imagination. Indian culture is synonymous with cuisine, probably more so than its fanatical obsession with cricket and Bollywood films. Consider the most common adjective used to describe anything with an eastern element: spicy.
Remember who triumphed in our local Masterchef series? For anybody of non-Indian descent, our first interaction with India is through its food.
But while foodies the world over enjoy tucking into those fiery curries and super sweet desserts, cooking them is another matter altogether.
There is so much complexity in the way spices are paired and prepared, and every self-respecting Indian cook will trump their way over anyone else’s. More often than not, those boxed spice mixes from the local supermarket leave you pining for the restaurant experience.
If you’re serious about importing the taste of India into your South African kitchen, but perhaps lack the confidence to attempt a korma or a vindaloo, then Glow TV has just a recipe.
Every week day, this eastern-inspired channel serves up an hour of Indian cooking shows, exploring the full gamut of this varied and delectable cuisine.
For starters, at 5pm, is Sanjeev Kapoor’s Kitchen. A bestselling cookbook writer, restaurant owner and accomplished chef, Kapoor takes his viewers through a three-course meal in each episode, demonstrating why simplicity in the kitchen doesn’t have to compromise great flavour.
Pulling recipes at random from a stack of cards, Kapoor uses both Indian and western food ideas to show how easy it is to put a delicious meal together.
Following Kapoor’s show is a selection of food programming that touches on India’s love of Bollywood, as well as the more modern lifestyle that is etching its way into this ancient culture.
On Monday, find out how you can enjoy rich Indian food without piling on the pounds in Health Mange More – a show that uses the expertise of a doctor to cut down on the calories without sacrificing the flavour.
Then on Tuesdays it’s the turn of celebrities to prove they can also be stars in the kitchen in Stars Ka Tadka. Friends and family are roped in here not only to help out, but also to give an insight into what these stars are like at home.
There’s plenty more star appeal on Filmy Dabba Party, which takes the novel approach of surprising Bollywood screen stars on set to find out what they’re eating inbetween takes.
Filmy Dabba Party explores the Indian custom of the “tiffin” or lunchbox, and looks at what the stars have in their lunch tin, as well as the food served to the crew, while the actors open up about their favourite cuisine.
For mothers looking to fix quick and delicious snacks for their children when they come home from school, there’s Mummy Ka Magic. And for tea-time treats that could easily be the centrepiece at a dinner party, why not check out Tea Time With Chef Rakesh Sethi on Thursdays.
• Sanjeev Kapoor’s Kitchen airs every weekday at 5pm, followed by one of the above shows at 5.30pm. All these shows are repeated throughout the week on Glow TV on OpenView HD.