As someone who indulges in exotic cuisine as much as I can, I find that I never actually cook the stuff at home. Sure, I’ll go out to dinner to my favorite Japanese, Chinese or Indian restaurant and order the most obscure thing on the menu. But when it comes to home cooking, I am not nearly experimental enough with these bright and vibrant flavors. Is it because I’m fairly certain there’s no way that my creation will be half as good as the one I get from my favorite local place? Probably. But there’s also another reason: the intimidation factor. Having grown up in a household that was devoid of spices like garam masala, tamarind and curry, I’m slightly out of my league. But this is the time when I can take advantage of having my own kitchen and really branching out. Next stop: Indian cuisine!