... is knowing when to accept defeat. Accepting the result of the mental cost-benefit analysis (is it worth cooking it?) that any lazy cook should do for every meal is one of the hardest things to do - especially when you love to cook. Today, for example, after losing a battle with a wardrobe (not the kind where you will find an enchanted world behind some fur coats - more the kind where the kind where the door has decided it does not, under any circumstances, be parted from the hinges, and is not afraid to put up a fight), sore muscles and a craving for Indian food meant that cooking just lost out. Unfortunately, the one food that loses out every time is Indian food. I love it - especially the vegetarian dishes - but it just falls into the category of too much effort, not enough reward. Creating the complicated spice blends, stewing meats overnight, making naan from scratch - who has the time? Or, for that matter, all the spices you need to do it really well?
Making Indian food is definitely something best left for the experts. That being said, eating Indian food is something everyone should do - just because it's so good! When I'm in Melbourne, the Classic Curry Company is a mainstay of mine - practically nothing is over $10, and everything has been made the day before in large vats - just like good Indian food should be! This place is especially good because it delivers to the CBD and surrounding suburbs, and if your meal totals over $25, it's free. When I'm in Perth, 2 Fat Indians in Cottesloe (not Leederville) is my favourite spot - mostly because of the way it treats the proteins. It respects the proteins - every mouthful of meat or dahl or Paneer is a melting morsel (although they're not afraid of the chilli, so don't be afraid to ask for it mild if that's what you want!). They also fry the paneer before cooking, so it can actually be distinguished from tofu (something not every Indian place achieves...).
If you are an Indian food virgin, make sure you try the Palak Paneer (cubes of Indian cheese in a really rich spinach sauce), butter chicken (chicken in a mild tomato sauce) or chicken korma. And make sure you have a lot of rice, a lot of raita (yoghurt with cucumber, tomatoes and spices) and some naan - all these will help take out the heat. If you try extra mild Indian food doused in raita (as I did with my first butter chicken...) in the presence of someone from India, they will likely laugh at you. But if you can live with that, it's very much worth it!