Hello, my name is Alonna, and I am happy you are here. I have been passionate about food all my life. Do you know how they say to create what you wish you had? Well, I wrote a book about the food of my hometown of Philadelphia: the best butcher, bakeries, farm markets, etc., because I wanted that resource. Now I am doing the same today: creating a resource I wish that I had. As an adventurous and accomplished home cook, I am having the time of my life, cooking through the many regions of India, learning different cooking methods, and the many ways of using spices, pulses, and creating unforgettable food, if I may say so myself.
My earliest memories of food were of my grandmother and mother’s cooking. They prepared simple meals from their garden. Both were feeding a large family, so there was no time for frills, but meals were hearty, healthy, tasty, and served with love. Coming from a Pennsylvania Dutch tradition of dishes “spiced” just with salt, pepper, maybe a little onion, and parsley is the exact opposite of Indian food from a flavor standpoint. This probably makes me appreciate the intricacies of many masalas even more. However, both cooking traditions share a tradition of cooking with fresh, seasonal produce and creating amazing meals with humble ingredients.
The Origins of My Indian Stove
The idea for this website came from running into so many people who love Indian food but would never consider cooking it for themselves. They claim it is too complicated and calls for too many ingredients. Years ago, my revelation about Indian food was actually how easy it is to make dishes that taste as good or even better (and healthier) than the dishes you order at a local Indian restaurant.
Besides being endlessly enticing, one of the beauties of cooking Indian food at home is that once you get a few steps under your belt, and the inexpensive basics of an Indian pantry, you are on your way. And using the kitchen equipment you probably already have, with possibly a minor purchase here or there.
My sources for recipe inspiration come from the 73 (and counting) Indian cookbooks that I am trying to find room for, countless other cookbooks, the 142 blogs I follow, and the 75 vlogs that demonstrate how to cook countless Indian dishes. I am excited by the increasing popularity of Indian cuisine in the United States. My new hometown of Albuquerque, New Mexico, boasts 15 Indian restaurants and 2 Indian groceries for a population of 550,000 people. It is also refreshing to now be able to get food beyond the Mughlai (North Indian) based curries, delicious though they may be. I am completely besotted by the flavors of Southern India: coconut, curry leaves, mustard seeds, and lime-based dishes. And I love exploring the wide-ranging orchestra of spices from each region of India.
The Truth Comes Out!
Full disclosure: I am heat (from chilies) shy! My recipes all start with the minimum of dried red chilies, ground chili, or fresh green chilies. So if you love hot dishes, you will probably want to double the chili amounts. Go slow, though, because you can always add ground chili at the end.
Oh, and I am passionate about taking Indian flavors and making favorite Western dishes, thus giving them more depth and added zing. My favorite meal? Chicken tikka masala, saag paneer (with my own paneer), lemon rice, and homemade garlic naan. Yes, I sense eyes rolling about chicken tikka not being an authentic Indian dish, but I haven’t met any meat eater, Indian or not, who doesn’t love this dish.
Working with me on the tech side of this website is my dear husband, Eric (who I call E). He never tires of my meals and spurs me on by always being appreciative of my efforts.
All About E
I married Alonna in 1988—the best decision I ever made (although she had to agree of course!)—and I have been the beneficiary of her cooking adventures ever since. For this site, I am the technical guy and photographer (my photography degree is finally useful, yeah!). I am learning to photograph food, which has its own aesthetic. Be patient; I’m getting better. The website, too, will get better over time: I’m grinding my fingers to the first knuckle working on it, listening to good advice, learning, and putting my new knowledge into practice. ~Eric
Heidi & Emma
We a Chinese Crested hairless dog, Emma, who help us live, laugh, and love. Her half-sister Heidi passed away in 2020 and we miss her terribly. Both dogs get especially excited when they smell Indian food. They sit at our feet until we are done with our dinner because they know they will get to lick the plates. We call it the doggie prewash.
We would love to hear from you! You can reach us with questions, comments, or suggestions:
~Alonna and ~Eric