Categories
Cooking

Why You Should Fry Your Spices

If you had to sum up the vast and complex tradition of Indian cooking with just one word, that word is most likely to be ‘spices’. The heady scent of fragrant spices brings to mind all the exoticism of India and one of the most interesting features about using this variety of colourful spices in your cooking is the subtle effect they can have, depending how you choose to handle them.

For those of us without too much experience of Indian cooking, we might feel most familiar with the racks of cheap, store bought, ground spices that we can spoon delicately into our dishes without too much thought. However, the advice from those more in the know regarding the subtle art of spicing recommend cooking up fresh, whole spices for a depth of flavour that is nearly impossible to achieve using the ground varieties alone. Just try out a meal at one of London’s best Indian fine dining restaurants and you will experience the range of subtle flavours that just seem so difficult to recreate at home.

To Fry or to Roast?

So, you’re ready to prepare your whole spices, ready to cook up a storm in the kitchen… but should you choose to fry or dry-roast them? It seems the world is on board with dry-roasting – it is considered by many to be an excellent way of enhancing the flavours, allowing the essential oils of the spice to be released. Dry-roasting spices involves heating them in a heavy frying pan, keeping them moving until they become aromatic and begin to pop. Be careful not to let them smoke – this could mean they are starting to burn.

However, more people are beginning to discover the method of frying spices and the completely different flavour this method of cooking produces. In comparison to dry-roasting which changes the fundamental flavours of the spice and gives them an earthier tone, frying them in a little oil has the effect of developing and intensifying the flavours of the spice – essentially making them bolder, brighter, more vibrant versions of their original selves.

What About Storage?

Dry-roasting spices could be more popular due to the fact that they can be stored after toasting for several weeks, as when kept in an air-tight container they won’t lose too much flavour. Fried spices are not meant for storing; they are known as a wet masala and need to be used straight away.

How to Fry Spices

There are three main methods of frying spices and all involve a certain degree of attention – spices are fragile ingredients and can burn easily without due care. The first method involves frying in a little oil before they are removed from the pan and ground to a paste using a good, old-fashioned pestle and mortar. The second is also known as bhunooing – this refers to gradually frying the spices along with onions. The final method is caaled a tadka and involves frying the spices quickly on a hot heat, allowing them to crackle and pop in the oil before the entire mixture is poured onto a dish as a spicy garnish.

Categories
Cooking

5 Potato (Aloo) Dishes Every Indian Girl Should Learn To Cook

Potatoes are the most common and most consumed vegetable in every house. If you have no idea about what to cook for the day, the only savior is Potato (Aloo). Potatoes can be cooked in various different manners and if cooked properly they indeed satisfy the taste buds and increase our appetite twice. In India Potatoes are cooked in various different ways. In North India, Dum Aloo is really very famous and is deliciously awesome. In south India, Hyderabadi Dum Aloo is the real attention seeker. Here we are listing 5 Potato dishes which must be learned by every Indian girl.

Punjabi Dum Aloo

This is one of the most delicious north Indian dishes which are totally unable to increase your appetite with its delicious smell. This dish is prepared using baby potatoes. They are boiled and peeled and deep fried into hot oil. Then fried onions, tomatoes and few cashew nuts are grinded into thick paste which is added to the potatoes. Salt, turmeric, coriander powder, red chili powder and garam masala are added to the mixture and again cooked for 5 minutes by adding some water to the mixture; it is again cooked for 10 minutes. It is then garnished with finely chopped coriander leaves.

Matthe ke Aloo

This is a very famous dish from Uttar Pradesh which is cooked in Yogurt. This tastes really good with hot chapattis and paranthas. You can also have this with Pooris. Kastoori methi along with panchforan and finely chopped green chili are added to two teaspoons of hot oil in the cooking pan. Then one spoonful of gram flour (besan) is added to the pan. Now yogurt is added to the pan and mixed well. The boiled potatoes are then mashed with light hands into big pieces and are added to the mixture. A cup of water is then added and is left for 5 minutes to simmer. The dish is then garnished with finely chopped green coriander leaves.

Kashmiri Dum Aloo

Kashmiri Dum Aloo is one of the royal foods in India which is really very delicious and posses the finger-licking taste if cooked properly. This dish tastes best with Naan, paranthas or chapattis. In this, baby potatoes are half boiled and then pricked with a tooth pick and are deep fried in hot oil. The gravy consists of Cashew, almonds, poppy seeds, cucumber seeds, fried onion, garlic, ginger and tomatoes. The gravy is very rich in vitamins and thus makes the dish a royal one. The deep fried potatoes are cooked in the thick paste prepared with the ingredients I already mentioned. Yogurt can also be added to this in order to increase the richness. Salt, turmeric, coriander powder, garam masala are added to increase the flavor. The dish is then garnished with finely chopped green coriander leaves.

Hyderabadi Dum Aloo Biryani

You must have heard about the Hyderabadi chicken Biryani and if you are a vegan then you have already missed the real taste of Hyderabad. But wait, you can still have that real Hyderabadi taste if you know how to cook Hyderabadi Dum Aloo Biryani. This is cooked with lot of ingredients and is highly time taking dish but if you really want to taste the Hyderabadi taste then you must know to cook this enormously delicious Vegetarian Hyderabadi Dish. Baby potatoes are peeled and pricked with fork and deep fried for 3 minutes in hot oil then marinated with yogurt mixed with turmeric, salt and garam masala powder.

Meanwhile, you need to cook the rice, but it must not be fully cooked. The rice should be half cooked. After this you need to add cumin, cassia (tej patta), Cinnamon, black cardamom, green cardamom, black pepper into the hot oil. Let them temper and add the marinated potatoes into this cook them for 3 minutes and bring the flame to the lowest. Make a layer of dried onions over it and then the half cooked rice and then finely chopped green coriander leaves and mint. Add one cup water to this. Now cover this totally with a heavy lead and seal the lid with the dough and let it cook for 35 minutes. Now you can uncover the lid and few drops of red food color to add the delicious look to the Biryani.

Aloo Parantha

Last but not the least; Aloo Parantha is the lifeline of North Indian people. This is very easy to make and consumes less time. You can have the immense flavor of these Paranthas with green chutney, Mango pickle or tomato ketchup. You can cook this with mashed potatoes mixed with finely chopped onions, green coriander leaves, salt, red chili powder and finely chopped green chili. You fill the dough with this mixture, close and round it to make a chapatti and cook it like a normal Parantha. You are ready to serve this with anything you and your family wants to have with.

The Last Words

These are some of the best potato dishes that can be cooked easily by you. The Dum Aloo recipes can surely win your heart and fill your appetite.

Categories
Cooking

Vacuum Cooking and Traditional Cooking – A Quick Comparison

Since vacuum cooking has taken the culinary world by storm, and many of us are still comfortable in our traditional cooking styles, we are about to do a quick comparison of the two methods, so that you can see for yourself why the former is better than the latter.

Definition of the terms:

Traditional cooking, in a broader sense, refers to the old cooking style of cooking your food in a greased pan, placed on a stove. This is the method that our respective grandmas and great-grandmas used for dishing out those mouth-watering dishes everyday. Our mothers, might have become slightly technically complicated and stepped up their game of cooking the food in an oven. However, everything was the same; the stove was simply replaced by the oven.

Vacuum cooking, or sous vide, involves cooking your food on a stove or in an oven, in the absence of air, so that the foods doesn’t get overcooked and remains juicier. A packaging machine is used to pack the food in an airtight manner for this process. Minipack-torre is one of the leading company in producing those kind of machines.

Equipments needed:

Traditional cooking:

1. Your ingredients

2. Butter or oil for greasing

3. Herbs and Spices

4. A stove or an oven, a pan and a spoon/spatula for stirring.

Vacuum cooking:

1. Your ingredients

2. A plastic bag made of polyethylene for cooking the dish

3. A packaging machine

4. Herbs and Spices

5. A stove or an oven, a pan and a spoon/spatula for stirring, occasionally.

6. A cooking thermometer

Now, the equipments in the latter might be more, but notice how harmful ingredients like fat and butter have not been mentioned. This means that vacuum cooking encourages healthy cooking.

The quality of the dishes:

Traditional cooking:

When you specially cook meat, using this method, the outer edges tend to get overcooked as you wait for it to get cooked on the inside.

Vacuum cooking:

This method allows you to cook food in the absence of air which helps it to keep it juicy while cooking it properly and also prevents the decay of food.

Conclusion:

Vacuum cooking gives your fresh, juicier food, is easy to follow, and even if you leave the food to cook for longer than you should, it won’t effect the taste because of the absence of air. Are you sure you don’t want to adopt the vacuum cooking technique now?