I have a complicated relationship with Indian food. I really love all the unique and exotic flavors and spices, but I am unfortunately a bit of a wimp when it comes to spicy food. And Indian food is certainly spicy!
Working in IT, I have many Indian coworkers that have introduced me to a variety of different types of food from their country. From addicting (but spicy!) snack foods to silver-leafed desserts, I’ve tried everything they have offered. I have, however, developed a reputation in the office because of my reactions to what I think is spicy food.
I still remember one of the first times I went out to eat at an Indian restaurant with my coworkers. A little overwhelmed by the menu, I asked one of them to point me to something that wouldn’t be too spicy. I don’t even remember what it was now, but I’m pretty sure I had steam pouring out of my ears! Everyone found it quite entertaining, and after powering through as much as I could, I ordered a mango lassi and took the rest of it home for Seth.
Anyways, that experience made me pretty skeptical of believing any Indians when they said something was not spicy. A while later, I was sitting in the lunch room at work eating a PB&J. A different coworker came in with a plate of some sort of Indian rice dish (maybe Biryani?) and asked if I wanted some.
“No, I’m good. I’ve got my sandwich,” I said, holding it up.
“No, you have to try this,” she said.
“Is it spicy?” I asked, doubtfully.
“No, not at all.”
“I might try some later if it’s still around, but I am in the middle of eating a sandwich. Thanks for offering though!” I said, and took another bite, thinking that was the end of it.
But then, she walked over, grabbed the sandwich out of my hand, and put the rice dish in front of me!
“No, eat this,” she said, and she walked away with my sandwich and put it in the fridge.
I was a little shocked and not quite sure what else to do, so I tried the rice. It was certainly tasty, but it was also most definitely spicy! When I told my coworker, she insisted again that it was not spicy, but I had already started sweating!
When I made this beef kheema recipe at home last week, I wasn’t expecting it to be spicy. Aside from a sprinkle of cayenne, the ingredient list didn’t have anything else that jumped out at me as hot. Well, apparently when you mix enough spices together in a high enough quantity, they get pretty spicy anyways!
Now, granted, it still wasn’t as bad as the times above. And it is really really flavorful, so to me it is totally worth it! Just make sure you eat it with lots of rice and/or naan as well as the cucumber raita. Even as delicious as it is, you don’t want to just sit down and eat a whole bowl of it on it’s own!