5 Tips On How To Cook Indian Food Like A Pro
All culinary enthusiasts can agree that mastering the art of Indian cuisine requires experience and lots of practice. You need to give it the time and attention it needs in order to learn how to develop new flavours and aromas. Luckily, we know a handful of tips and tricks that will aid novice and intermediate cooks in refining their techniques. Here are our top 5 tips on how to cook Indian food like a pro.
Being organised is the key to avoiding overwhelm! Have everything ready before preparing your meal, from the ingredients, equipment, recipe, and a general framework of how you are going to tackle the cooking process. Have your timings in mind, as well as measurements of how much of each ingredient to use.
By having your ingredients prepared, you can get a better idea of when to add them into your cooking to develop your flavour. Planning out the essentials can also take the stress out of the equation, sieving out any chances of a kitchen nightmare!
Spices are the cornerstone of any Indian dish. However, using too much can overpower the food. Instead, try to layer your spices into the cooking process gradually. By doing so, you will notice a more balanced blend of flavours upon serving.
Dry-roasting whole spices removes any excess moisture and releases aromatics into the dish, which is the first building block to creating your complex flavour. Grinding whole spices is also an excellent way to release their volatile oils into the dish, as these interact with other ingredients to create unique combinations of taste and smell.
It’s important to use whole spices first and infuse them with cooking oil, before adding further garnishings like onion, ginger and garlic. When adding ground spices, never use them too early, as they can burn very quickly. Instead, sprinkle them in just before adding ingredients such as tomatoes and yoghurt. By cooking and stirring them on a low heat for about 10 seconds, the flavour will then blend with the next ingredients you add to the dish. The decrease in temperature will ease this process too.
Much like using spices, it is vital to know when and how much seasoning you need to add to your dish. Seasoning brings out flavours in the food, rather than adding to them – much like when salt is used in the right amounts. Seasoning isn’t just limited to salt and pepper, though.
Herbs, vinegar, and lemon juice play a big part in improving the overall flavour of a dish. It is essential to categorise seasonings to know which ones to pair. There are saline seasonings, acidic seasonings, hot seasonings, and saccharine seasons. When these are combined or added to a dish, they interact with existing spices and herbs in the food to draw out new flavours. Seasoning separates the novices from the experts!
Indian food is best cooked when the flavour is layered. It is wise to avoid adding all ingredients in at the same time. Patience is key here. To develop flavour, you need to leave each ingredient to cook for the right amount of time. For instance, sautéing onions for varying lengths of time can result in a different end taste.
By adding the ingredients in stages, you bring out the individual flavours of each one, making for a genuinely delicious final dish. Enough practice will better your timing and execution, ultimately improving the taste and experience of your cooking!
Cook no more than you need to. Measure up everything. Make sure your equipment is in good condition and is ready for use. These are just a few areas in which increased efficiency could benefit your cooking experience. Over time, you will start to notice that this comes more naturally. Keep your knives sharp and make sure your cooking equipment is well maintained. This will help you achieve maximum efficiency in the kitchen.
Think of ways to save time at whatever it is that you are doing. Try and multitask to get an idea of how long specific jobs take. This will give you a rough outline of how long the overall preparation time will be. Above all, always look for ways to improve your current process!
If you are looking to discover more ways to cook Indian food like a pro, we have an unforgettable experience waiting for you. Our Cookery Masterclass is for those looking to learn more about Indian cuisine, with interactive demonstrations from Executive Chef Samer Taneja and his Team. Interested? Click here to find out more.