Asian food tastes better when it is eaten using chopsticks. Similarly, the flavors of Indian food are better experienced when it is eaten using your fingers. Most often flat hard breads or rice is served with different spicy curries and other side dishes. While a spoon and fork can be used to eat the rice, the only way to eat the flat bread is to tear it with your fingers and use the pieces to scoop up the flavorful curries. However, purists say both rice and flat bread tastes better when you use your fingers.
As far as Indian food is concerned it is more important how much you eat than how you eat it. Westerns are more accustomed to meals with meat or fish as the main dish. However, rice or flat bread is the main dish in an Indian meal and the meat or fish curries and other accompaniments are to be consumed in much smaller quantities. The spicier the dish, the smaller the amount to be eaten and rice or flat bread serves to neutralize their strong flavors. Another indication of how much to eat is the size of the serving spoon provided for a spicy dish. Some very spicy dishes are provided with coffee spoons. However, it is always better to warn an unsuspecting guest about how hot or spicy a particular dish is to avoid discomfort.
Pappadams or crisp lentil wafers are always to be served in separate plates to preserve their crispiness.
The right way to serve a meal is to first serve the rice in the middle of the plate and then serve the curries and other accompaniments around it in relatively smaller amounts. Contrary to general assumption that all the accompaniments have to be mixed together with the rice, each side dish has to be savored separately with a piece of flat bread or a spoonful of rice.
Cool sparkling water is probably the most complimentary drink for a spicy Indian meal. If you must have alcohol then a light ale drink like cold beer would be good. If you prefer wine then go for a light wine punch. Fine wines, particularly dry wines are not very good with Indian food.
The best drink to accompany any spicy and delicious Indian food is mango juice or you can just sip rose flavored syrup with crushed ice.
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