I was first introduced to Indian culture when I lived in Durban, South Africa. Many workers immigrated to the east coast of Africa and there was a large Indian community down the hill from our house. I remember the smells of their cooking, and heard about "hell-fire" curries at a young age. I don't remember eating Indian food as a child, but I love the spicy heat of a good curry now.
There are several good Indian restaurants in our area, and as the meals are fairly labour intensive to prepare, I usually enjoy them when I go out. A friend at work, who grew up in East Africa, recommended a cookbook called A Spicy Touch as an introduction to simple Indian cooking. I ordered the book on Amazon in November, and just received notification that it was shipped yesterday.
I posted a recipe for a butternut squash chicken pilaf on my recipe blog today. It features spices often used in curry such as mustard seeds, cumin, saffron, cinnamon, turmeric and hot peppers. Fruit and nuts are featured in Indian chutneys and condiments, and this recipe includes both.
I also posted a recipe for a baked chocolate custard that provides a cool end to a spicy meal.