Find Authentic Dishes at Food and Fashion of India

Photo by Susan Laughlin

Step into Food & Fashion of India in Nashua and your world will expand. Find all the necessary ingredients for Indian cooking, including those charming masala dabba, or metal spice containers. Owner Indira Shelat or her sister Smita will be happy to explain the variety of beans, grains and spices that are available and when they are used. In addition to dried and canned goods, there is a limited supply of fresh vegetables on hand. One wall of shelves is stocked with colorful Indian fashions too.

In the back of the shop, Indira cooks a limited menu of vegetarian Indian dishes in her unique style prepared for lunch and dinner. She was raised in South Africa, so her flavors are slightly influenced by a more worldly mix of ingredients. All dishes are prepared to go on a daily basis. Most of her dining clientele comes in on a specific weekday for their favorite dish. Her menu is online and it is recommended to call ahead with any special or large orders. She insists on preparing food fresh, especially rotis, chapatis and parathas. Otherwise, she will have three or four hot dishes ready to go each day — the type that get better the longer they sit, like dal makhani or chana masala. Sweets such as gulab jamun, basin ladoo or penda can be made to order also.

Food & Fashion of India
483 Amherst St., Nashua
(603) 595-0022

Looking for vegetarian Indian meals?

Go no farther than Food & Fashion of India

Find fresh spinach at local farmers markets, and mustard seeds, hing and cumin seeds at Indian grocery stores, including Food & Fashion of India.

Recently, Indira Shelat started offering small cooking classes in her store kitchen on Saturdays. Indian food lovers are thrilled to learn her secrets, how she prepares her fresh spices and her medicinal tips. Here’s her morning drink: ¼ teaspoon turmeric, ¼ teaspoon ground pepper, ¼ teaspoon chili powder dissolved in warm water. Drink up!

Call for her class schedule. Be mindful, when she is busy, the phone is not answered, but she will return the call.

Here’s the recipe for Indira’s Saag Paneer, a classic vegetarian Indian dish.

Prepare ahead:

1½ cups of paneer cheese into 2-inch pieces (You may substitute with a firm tofu.)
8 cups of spinach
1 cup, onions, diced
1 cup fresh tomatoes, chopped
1 tablespoon ginger, chopped
1 tablespoon garlic, chopped

Add to sauté pan:

3 tablespoons grapeseed oil
2 teaspoons black mustard seeds
Pinch of hing (asafoetida powder, used mostly for its medicinal qualities, but does add subtle flavoring)
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
2 teaspoons salt
Green Thai peppers to taste for heat or jalapeno peppers for less heat (OK to omit both.)
2 tablespoons turmeric
¼ cup of water
1 teaspoon garam masala
8 cups fresh spinach, chopped into ribbons and thick stems removed
¼ cup cream

Have onion, tomatoes, spinach, garlic and ginger chopped and ready. Many Indian recipes start in this fashion. Pour grapeseed or other flavorless oil into pan and toast mustard seeds until they hiss and pop. Add the pinch of hing to the oil and the cumin seeds and toast for a minute. Drop in the onions, chopped garlic and ginger, salt and cover and cook until mixture is soft.

Add green Thai chilies for heat, if desired, and chopped tomatoes. Sprinkle turmeric powder on top. If using tofu, add at this point. Add about ¼ cup of water. (Indira always has hot water on a back burner.) Cook until soft and mixture turns yellow. Stir in paneer and cook for 5 minutes. Add garam masala. Top with spinach mix and let steam, covered until it wilts. Stir in cream and serve.

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