Indian food might seem intimidating and elaborate with all the spices, but only at first sight. If you come to know the Do’s and Don’ts of Indian cooking, you’ll soon realize how easy and fun it actually is.
- Start off your venture by preparing all kitchen tools required for Indian cooking, such as a non-stick wide pan, a deep heavy-bottomed pot, and a non-stick/aluminum wok or kadhai.
- Observe proper hygiene like you would prepare any other dish. Put your apron on and tie your hair. Wash you hands thoroughly and constantly during cooking as well. Use separate knives and chopping boards for meat, fish, garlic, onion etc.
- Indian cooking leaves the cook, kitchen, and possibly an entire apartment with intense and powerful aroma. While some people love it, others don’t. Keep your house well ventilated prior to guests’ arrival and store clothing away from the prepping area.
- Gather all ingredients and measure them carefully as indicated in the recipe. Arrange in bowls and plates to better concentrate on cooking and not miss out on anything. Use separate chopping boards for meat, fish, onion, garlic and vegetables.
- Know your spices. The standard spices that would help you cook delicious Indian food are Garam Masala or hot spice, Dhaniya (Coriander), Jeera (cumiin seed, crushed or whole), Haldi (Turmeric), Mustard seeds, and Red Chili powder/Cayenne. Commonly used herbs include cilantro, mint, curry leaf and bay leaf. Significant flavorings include onion, salt, sugar or jaggery, coconut and coconut milk.
- Indian cooking entails using spices that have strong flavors along with the right cooking technique:
-Whole spices are often fried in oil or fat to extract its flavor. cinnamon sticks, bay leaves, cardamon, fennel seeds, star anise and cloves.
-Spice blends like garam masala, chili or curry powder have to be cooked out longer duration to get rid of their raw flavor.
-Add spice blends after your sauce or puree is reduced to its driest, such that it holds a lot of heat and raw spices get fried rather than boiled to eliminate any spice harshness.
- Use extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil for healthier options. Typically, sunflower/canola oil and neutral smelling oils are used in Indian cooking.
- Always buy ingredients from ethnic Indian stores, then store in air tight containers for longer shelf life.
- Plan ahead of time. Currys taste best the next day since the masalas infuse perfectly with the sauces.
- Indian cooking is comprised of a lot of vegetarian dishes. When a recipe calls for more vegetable varieties, see to it that you chop them all in the same size.
- Resist the temptation to go all out and splurge on the interesting, exotic flavors of Indian cooking that you may be clueless about. It’s best to use a spoon to measure them out instead of haphazardly sprinkling and drizzling away when adding spices.
- Ingredients like mustard and even curry leaves splatter when put in oil, so be prepared and follow precautions like covering the pan and moving away fast.
- Never add raw spices to the sauces that has already been served on the dinner table to prevent ruining a dish with uncooked flavors. If needed, heat a bit of oil in a small cooking pan then saute the chili or coriander powder quickly in it prior to mixing into your final sauce. Always taste your Indian cooking before serving the meal.
- Masalas can get burnt really fast, so don’t leave pans unattended. In case gravy becomes too dry or gets burnt, add a little water to cool them and avoid getting yourself hurt.
- Never replace an ingredient for another Indian cooking ingredient unless you are quite sure about it. The fresh ones add texture and flavor to any dish, like fresh okras, beans, tapioca, and drumsticks compared to frozen ones. The time it takes to cook meals vary for lentils, legumes and veggies so be aware when it’s the right time to put them throughout the process.
Once you have the necessary equipment and staple Indian spices, you can be confident about playing with them and creating your own medley for your very own sumptuous Indian cooking made from the heart and your passion for food!