Most fish prepared in India is stewed or cooked quickly in the tandoor, but this dish from the Taj Lake Palace is seared, making it decidedly more modern. A fragrant herb mix is stuffed into each fish fillet and blended into a yogurt cream sauce. Then the dish is finished elegantly with crisp frizzled mint leaves and strips of ginger.
Peggy Markel saw okra (which in India is known as ladyfingers) at markets all over Rajasthan. To add complexity to a simple stewed okra-and-tomato dish, Soban Singh Bedla showed Markel how to cook whole cumin seeds, turmeric and chile powder in oil before adding the vegetables, which brings out the spices' depth of flavor.
At Bedla House, a homestay in Udaipur, husband-and-wife owners Vijay and Soban Singh Bedla invite guests into their kitchen to watch them cook. Peggy Markel loved the way Soban grabbed spices without stopping to measure quantities, adding just the right amount of coriander and turmeric to this wonderfully rich spinach dish simmered in yogurt.