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Techniques for Indian Spices

Hi Everyone,
   It feels really good to be back.  Thanks Michelle.  It's been quite a
while for me since I had a baby in March 1996 and fell off the bandwagon
pretty completely during pregnancy and had no extra energy for a
re-start until recently.  My baby is almost one year old and it's time
for me to get back to eating lots less fat! I did remain vegetarian and
ate little dairy for most of this time, so at least my weight is doing
  Tonight we went and had dinner at an Indian restaurant in Berkeley
(Maharani's on University) that claims to have dishes prepared for
McDougallers.  I'm quite skeptical about the claim having seen a
suspicious gleam on my food, but eating Indian food was great and I
decided I need to improve my techniques for cooking it myself. I know
that this has been discussed before, but do some of you have good
techniques for "frying" the spices without oil?  I've tried just
starting with a bit of water but haven't had success getting the mustard
seeds to pop as they should.
        Heather Levien