Sunday, August 15, 2010

Decoding the Basics of Indian Cooking Methods

The traditional methods of cooking Indian food have survived the onslaught of the age of packaged and precooked foods. Most adorers of Indian food have understood that the typical, cooking methods use to prepare these dishes cannot be replicated in any way. Indian cooking methods might seem a bit tedious in the beginning, but most patrons of this form of cuisine have understood that each mannerism incorporated in an Indian kitchen contributes in a distinctive manner to the eventual flavor. The most elementary of Indian cooking methods have been discussed below:

Tempering of food or seasoning methods
Usually referred to as Tadka or the Chawnk, this is a simple and extremely effective way to quickly add a dash of flavoring agents, particularly spices, to food that has been already cooked. The entire process is very simple. A small frying pan is usually reserved for adding the Tadka. Here, spices and raw herbs are added to a few teaspoons of ghee or oil that is simmering in the frying pan. This heated mixture is then added to the cooked food. The fresh aroma of the heated spices quickly intermingles with the food’s ingredients and lends that characteristic, zing associated with Indian food. Common ingredients of the Tadka include coriander seeds, cumin seeds, mustard seeds, turmeric powder and red chili. Some folks also prefer to add some asafetida and ginger paste.

Currying of dishes
Most people are familiar with the concept of curries that are globally recognized as the staple part of most Indian dishes. However, it should be understood that the typical, household Indian curry necessarily isn't as spicy, oily or dense as those served in specialty restaurants. Since currying is used on a daily basis, the idea is to ensure that its consistency is moderate and it isn't so spicy that it overwhelms the taste of other, accompanying foods and is easy-to-digest. The basic method of preparing the household, Indian curry is almost the same across the entire, Indian mainland. This starts with heating some oil in a pan. This is followed by adding chopped onions and diced tomatoes. This mixture is heated for a few minutes and some cumin is added. Many people like to add other herbs during this phase itself. The idea is to allow the main spices and the herbs to blend with the curry paste which is best accomplished when the ingredients are being sautéed. There are some variations in the basic curry-mix wherein some Indian households prefer to use curd or yogurt instead of tomatoes. This is primarily because yogurt has a less tangy essence than tomatoes but it adds more thickness to the curry.

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