Wet. Dry. I had never thought of Indian food in these terms until I met my husband. But thinking back, even the South Indian meals we had growing up could be broken into these categories.
Monday – Sambar. Wet. Stir fried eggplant. Dry.
Tuesday – Rasam. Wet. Cabbage and peas. Dry.
Thursday – Green tomato kootu (stew). Wet. Crispy potatoes. Dry.
Friday – Thin AND Crispy pizza (b/c when my parents order a thin crust pizza, they have to specify thin AND crispy).
How had I never seen it before? When planning Sunday night menus, Rajat is always quick to point out that we need one wet curry and one dry curry. Dry-Dry. doesn’t work. Wet-Wet. no can do. I internally roll my eyes during this back and forth. But he’s right. There’s an art to planning an Indian menu. A science actually. And it starts with wet-dry.
So for example, it would be okay to serve Rajma (wet) and Palak Paneer (dry)* but not Palak Paneer (dry) and Aloo Gobi (dry). It would be okay to serve Bhindi Masala (dry) and Mattar Paneer (wet) but not Bhindi Masala (dry) and Aloo Gobi (dry) unless you added something wet to the menu like Dal Makhani (wet) or another dal.
Of course, as with many things, these are just “rules” with big quotes. You should eat what you like and any guest who shuns your dinner table because you served wet-wet should be made to starve anyways.
Any thoughts? Do you follow the wet-dry rule for Indian menu planning? Are there similar guidelines for other cuisines?
I’ve been seeing a lot of google searches reaching Hungry Desi asking things like “what to serve with Aloo Paratha” (answer: just serve some raita and pickles. let the paratha be the star of that show!) or “what to serve with Dal Makhani” (answer: dal is traditionally served with a North Indian meal as a side, so you can serve it with any other North Indian curries). So stay tuned for upcoming posts. I’ll help you put together a full blown desi meal worthy of an Indian dinner party.