Beautiful Indian food is one of the leading cuisines in the world. Every state, city, and household has its own recipes created by its predecessors, and the variety of food is just mind-boggling. Indian food is way beyond curries & chilies & rotis. There is absolutely no other cuisine in the world that locally produces such a huge number of vegetables, seafood, grains & spices which have multiple health benefits besides being tasty. India has now become a home to world-famous chefs, who excel not only in Indian cooking but also inspiring millions with their cooking techniques and experimentation.
So what is the reason for the success of an ingenious Indian cook? What are the hidden secrets of Indian cooking?
An age-old recipe that has been handed down generations? The rare & special ingredients which are native to a particular region? Or is it the constant looking and learning of new techniques and flavor combinations?
Well, these are just a few of the things that define cooking like an Indian.
Food is a very serious issue in Indian households. Cooking is considered to be an art form and mothers teach their children very early on about the myriad flavor combinations, ingredients, and spices that India is renowned for. Lunch and dinner always include several dishes like a starter followed by the main course & traditional desserts. Invaders like Arabs & Persians have definitely left their stamp on the development of Indian cuisine and the result of that are dishes that are legendary.
One of the biggest myths about Indian cooking is that people assume it is complicated and mastering it requires huge expertise. It might feel like climbing a mountain no matter how hard you try, you fall down at the last moment. Confronted with a huge list of spices, powders & ingredients, any beginner will baffle at the thought of understanding which of the spices works best with what vegetable combinations.
Let me tell you the truth. There are a whole lot of tips & tricks that are used by an Indian cook that makes the process of cooking gratifyingly delicious. So let us demystify Indian cooking.
Here are the top 10 tips to make you a better Indian cook.
Tip 1: Know your SPICES well
Indian cooking is all about traditional Indian spices. Understanding the flavors that the spices will add to your dish will make you better equipped to create beautiful tasty dishes. One more suggestion is to taste your spices. This will help you to understand the flavor that they will add to your dish. Whole spices like cinnamon, cardamom, jeere or panch phoron, should be tempered in the oil before your cooking even starts. Powdered spices like mango powder, turmeric, chili powder, etc. should be added in the middle of the cook to impart color as well as flavor. Finally at the end of the cooking more subtle spices like fenugreek should be added at the end of the cooking to impart their beautiful aroma and flavor into the cooked food.
Tip 2: Keep everything READY before starting
You must be ready with all vessels, recipes, and ingredients before starting your cook. Prepping is very important as timing is crucial to becoming a good Indian cook.
Tip 3: Know your SEASONINGS well
Seasoning is not just about salt & pepper & coriander. The difference between a well-cooked dish & and an average dish is the balance of flavors like sweet, salty, sour, bitter, and hot. The color and texture of the final cooked dish are also important.
Tip 4: Keep your kitchen CLEAN.
Indian cooking requires a lot of vessels and ingredients and spices. Make sure to continue to clear up your space to not spend half an hour searching for particular cutlery or a vessel. Cooking should be stress-free & enjoyable.
Tip 5: Read your RECIPE well
If you are a beginner, make sure you follow the recipe to the T. Do not improvise. Moreover, read the recipe well ahead of cooking so that you know the time required for the marination of meat or other ingredients.
Tip 6: Learn LAYERING
The beauty of Indian food is all about adding ingredients in a specific order. Layering is very important and for this reason, adding all ingredients at the same time will not bring out the flavor you want.
For eg. In some dishes, chopped onions need to be fried before anything else is added. The time for which this sauteing is done is different for different dishes.
Tip 7: Always TASTE
Always taste the food while you are cooking so that you can make adjustments to its flavor & seasonings.
Tip 8: ENJOY
Enjoy the process of cooking and don’t stress out if something went wrong. Practice will make you perfect.
Keep Smiling & Keep Cooking!