Method that inspires my cooking

Indian cooking has evolved over the year however certain techniques used back in the days, are still being followed and continue to inspire me.

It is basically a process in which the heat (which is in the form of vapor) is trapped and sealed in the utensil in which the dish is prepared.

  It helps in maturing of a dish

  It helps in breaking the flavor of spices and herbs due to the pressure created.

  Since the vapor cannot escape, the dish retains all the delicate flavor and aromas.

  The process also brings ghee or oil on the surface, which helps to improve the appearance and increases the shelf life of the dish.

Combination of stewing, stir-frying and sautéing. The process helps in extracting the flavors of dry spices and herbs; it also ensures the vegetables & meats cook with less oil / water without charring. Cooking is done on medium to high heat. The process of bhunaoing is said to be complete when oil separates from the masala.

Process of imparting smoky flavours of dry spices to uncooked dry meat.

  Ingredients for Dhungar are live charcoal, ghee and dry spices

  Example: Galouti Kebab.

Cooking of food in dry heat. Food is in direct contact with heat. It can be done in a tandoor or on sigri.

Stewing is when food is partially immersed in water/ stock and allowed to simmer on a slow flame. In this, the liquid is not allowed to reach a rapid boil. Example- Kormas and Stews.

Cooking of food in little or no fat. Example- chapattis or broiling of spices like jeera, red chilly for some dishes, done on a griddle or tawa.

Steaming is the healthiest form of cooking as no fat needs to be used. The meat or vegetable is placed in a steamer with boiling water, without actually coming in contact with the water. The steamer is sealed with a lid allowing steam to cook the ingredients. There is very less loss of juices from the meat & vegetables and in turn the ingredients retain all nutrients.  Example: Idli, Dhokla.

It is a process in which food is allowed to cook in oil or ghee. It is of two types:

  Deep frying: When the food particle is completely immersed in the oil and allowed to cook. Optimum temperature for deep frying is between 165 -190 degrees Celsius. Example: Shammi Kebabs.

  Shallow frying: When the food particle is partially immersed in oil and allowed to cook. Example: Shikampuri Kebab.

  Hot oil has an ability to extract the flavours and aromas of dry spices and herbs.
  This process is performed eitherat the beginning of cooking a dish or towards the end.
  Ghee or oil is brought to a smoking point and then the heat is reduced.
  Ingredients are added in rapid succession.
  Crackling of spices or change in colour shows that the process is complete
  Tempering, which is done towards the end of the cooking process, should be poured sizzling hot over the cooked dish.
  The griddle should be wok shaped for even sizzling of spices, otherwise some delicate spices over cook and the hard ones undercook.

In this process the food is 70% cooked in its own juice with the aid of little fat. Then it is sauteed in the same masala by adding little water or stock. It is preferably done in a thick bottom Kadhai or pan on slow flame.

This process is very similar to tempering. In this, the oil or ghee is heated in a ladle on burning charcoal and then the spices and herbs are added, allowed to crackle and poured on the main dish.

In this a thick bottom pan or kadhai is heated to a high temperature. Ghee is poured into it, swirled and added to the main dish.

The name for the rustic clay oven is derived from the ward tata-andar. Tata means hot and andar means inside – hot from inside. Tandoor is traditionally fired with wood coal as a source of energy. Meat pieces are skewered on metal skewers & cooked; drippings from meat create smoke which gives a natural smoky flavor to the food. Tandoor is also used for baking breads.