Indian Food is absolutely in the rage, right now! And why wouldn’t it be? The flavours, the taste, the vibrant colors and the over the top goodness! From renowned chefs to people guilty of gluttony, Indian food is much sought after.
A lot of people have the misconception that Indian food is very spicy. The truth is, not all of it is. Different Indian states have their own staple cuisines. Some dishes are just steamed food with little to no spice and other dishes are rich with spices. It really depends on the person cooking it. No two dishes made by following the same recipe will ever taste the same.
While learning how to cook Indian food can take ages to learn, you can learn a few pointers for your own kitchen adventure. Keep reading till the end to find out Indian Cooking Done Right!
Spices, Spices, Spices!
This may come as no surprise but Indian food is generally laden with spices. Now, not all spices are spicy. Some add color, some are medicinal and all of them enhance the flavour and taste. For example, turmeric aka haldi adds color and is antiseptic in nature. Red chilli powder adds color and amps up the heat in the dish. Asafoetida has a fetid smell but when cooked in food delivers a smooth taste reminiscent of leeks. It is also used for respiratory and digestive issues. You must be careful to use the right combination of spices to flavour your food. Certain combinations work like magic, others not so much. Feel free to experiment in the kitchen till you feel like you’ve hit the mark.
Don’t follow the recipe
This might seem contradictory to everything you know about cooking but Indian Cooking when done right is about instinct rather than precision. If a recipe calls for a cup of milk and you carefully measure out a cup, you’re not doing the dish justice. Indian cooking is about following your gut. At each and every stage, you must stop. Reassess the dish. Take out your tasting spoon and let your taste buds take over. Add an extra dash of milk if you want to. Add more than one spoon of sugar. Be generous with the spices. Indian cooking is custom tailored to suit your taste buds. YOU DO YOU!
Time and Patience
Indian Cooking when done right is a long and sometimes tedious process. You need to have a little patience with yourself. Allow yourself to create a mess in the kitchen to create a masterpiece in the process. Time is another major factor. Indian cooking takes time. It takes time to prep, to cook and to adjust the flavours. For instance, slow fire is better than high heat to retain the flavours which means it will take more time to cook. Cooking in a wood oven or over coal also lends a smoky flavour to the meat which again demands time and patience. It is an art that needs devotion.
Say no to pre-made ingredients
While most cooking ingredients are readily available pre-packaged and only need to be cooked, it is strong advised to walk away from such ingredients. Authentic Indian cooking is done from scratch. This means if you’re cooking Butter Chicken you need to make the marinade yourself. You cannot use store bought marinade and expect it to taste as good as fresh ingredients. Take Dosa as another example, the batter you need to make it is readily available but you must be willing to go that extra mile to make the batter from scratch. Time and Patience, told ya!
Be ready to LOL – Lots of LOVE
However clichéd it may sound, cooking with love has no comparison. Indian Cooking is made with LOVE. It is the special ingredient that no one talks about but is crucial to take your dishes to the next level. Be generous with your oil, spices and ghee (clarified butter).Treat your ingredients with care and watch over your pot like you would a child. The tiny things add up and create an excellent dish.
Hope this helps you in your journey in the kitchen when attempting Indian cuisine. For those of you who are fresh out of college or have never stepped in a kitchen, the next blog “Amateur Hour” is your safety net!