Indian Food Tastes Better With Your Fingers

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cheap cheap helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: 12pt;">Indian Food Tastes Better With Your Fingers

Not only does India offer some of the best food in the entire world, it also gives you full permission to enjoy the sensation of eating it with your fingers. It is quite commonplace in most restaurants but if you are lucky enough to be invited to an Indian home for dinner, you will invariably be expected to eat with your fingers. Although this may seem a little daunting to begin with, it is surprisingly easy. Here are a few tips to get you started.

 

Mind Over Matter

Remember , Indian food is designed to be eaten with your hands. Over one billion people can’t be wrong. Just think of all those different yummy breads for wrapping round chunks of meat or soaking up masala gravies. It’s the best way to combine different types of Indian food together, and to earn gratifying nods of respect from your fellow Indian diners. It’s a cultural breakthrough.

If your spice levels can handle it, we recommend diving into your local Dhaba for some practice. Dhabas are roadside restaurants found all over India where traditional food is served in a very informal atmosphere. They are usually very cheap too, so you can splash out (or splash on) a number of different dishes during your practice sessions. Lurking in a booth at the back of a Dhaba is the ideal way to spy on everyone else’s technique.

 

The Technique

Eating with your hands is a graceful art but a surprisingly simple one. Remember to always wash your hands before sitting down to an Indian meal -  and to only ever use your right hand for eating and drinking, as the left is considered unclean. A meal will traditionally consist of a heap of plain rice, one or more main dishes and several side dishes. It is polite to sample each dish individually first to appreciate the different flavours. Make sure you alternate each mouthful of a main dish with a portion of a side dish throughout your meal. Curd (yoghurt) mixed with rice is always eaten last to cool your palate and aid digestion.

 

KOKOindia’s top tip is to "use your thumb." Divide off a small portion of rice and blend it on your plate with a small amount of one of the other dishes, such as the traditional lentil based dish ‘dhal.’ Mix it together well using all five digits to combine it into a ball. Bring it up to your mouth using your four fingers like a spoon but keeping your thumb free. With a twist of the wrist, use your thumb to pop the food inside. It’s a simple technique and one that works.

 

An easy way to get confident is to use Indian bread (roti, chapatti, naan etc) to scoop up your food. Serve a small portion of each main dish onto your plate and tear off a smallish piece of bread. Place it over some of the vegetables or meat. If any of the food pieces are too large to be picked up and eaten, press down on the bread with your fingers to flatten or break them up. Fold the bread over the top of the food and pop it in your mouth.

 

Once you've finished eating, wait for everyone else to also finish and then get up to wash your hands or request a finger bowl to rinse off. Since North Indians eat a lot of breads and generally have drier curries, it is polite to only use the first two segments of your fingers. In the South, where they eat a lot more rice and very soupy curries, you can get your whole hand into the action. Try not to get too carried away though - having curry juices running down your elbow would be considered a poor show.

 

There. Simple, nahi?