Cooking methods, technique and terms used in Indian Kitchen. These are the useful excerpts taken from my Book Simplifying Indian Cuisine for the benefit of my avid readers. Please find more about the book here.
It is a combination of sautéing, stir frying and stewing.
This is not a complete process but it helps to prepare a dish. Oil is added to a kadhai or pan. To this cumin/garam masala, then onions are added. After the onions are browned the desired herbs, spices are added. A small quantity of water and/or stock is introduced to the pan if and when the ingredients start to stick. Subsequently the main ingredient (vegetable or meat) is added and the same process continues. This ensures that the initial cooking is done in the ingredients’ own juices.After the oil separates from the mixture; some liquid is added to complete the cooking process.
Dum literally means steam. It is a method of cooking food on very low flame,with the help of steam entrapped in a sealed containers.
It allows the Partial cooked ingredients to cook, in their own juices and bone-marrow, if it is meat and thus regarded as the maturation of the dish.
The technique is more than 200 years old.Tradidionally dum pukht cooking uses a round, heavy – bottom pot/handi in which food is tightly sealed and cook over slow fire. The container is sealed traditionally with a dough that is spread, , like a lid, over the container, to seal the foods. This is known as a purdah (veil),on cooking it becomes a bread which has absorbed the flavours of the food and the two are best eaten together.Some times, a metal lid is used to cover the handi and some coal is placed on the lid to ensure proper heat from top and below.
Dum Pukht food is about aroma and flavour. there are also some fresh herbs andspices used for flavouring, and the steam is entrapped inside,so the dish retains all the aroma and flavours. when the seal is broken the fragrance of the dish floats in the air.
Baghar is known as Tempering in English. And also known by different names in different parts of country – Tarka, chowkna or Ghee durust karna.
This is basically a process by which the aroma and flavour of spices and herbs is imbided in the oil which, when mixed with the dish makes it delicious.
The goal of this technique is to add flavor to a dish instantly. Spices and herbs are added to hot oil/ghee. Hot oil extracts, and retains the aroma essence and flavor of the spices and herbs. This tempering is done in two ways.
1. Before preparing any of the food, the first step is to infuse the desired spices in either oil or ghee.
2. Then, you pour the tempered oil over dal. Spices and herbs cooked this way retain and enhance their flavors.
Balchao (Pickling) (बल्चाओ)
A Goan specialty, influenced by the Portuguese, where vegetables like eggplant or seafood like prawns are "pickled" in sugar, vinegar and spices for a day or two before eating.
Zammin doz (ज़मींदोज़)
This is a style of cooking in which a hole is dug in the ground and the ingredients are placed and covered with mud. Then burning charcoal is placed over it. It is a time taking process and takes around 6 hours.
Dhuanaar (Smoke Seasoning) (धुँनार)
This is a quick smoke procedure used to flavour a meat dish, dals or even raita or salad.
The smoke permeates every grains of the ingredients and imparts a subtle aroma.The process is carried out by glowing charcoal is placed in a small bowl, which is then put in a bigger pot. Cooked meats are placed around this. Dry spices and ghee are poured on top of the coals and a lid is quickly placed over the larger pot, the lid is not removed for 15 minutes. This meat enhances the fresh taste of ghee and spice,the coal is then removed and the meat put through further cooking processes. It is very popular in the cold months of North India, especially in the desert areas.
Tawa Cooking (तवा)
A tawa is a round, thick iron griddle, and is slightly concave in the center. It is used when very high temperatures are needed and is mostly used for Indian unleavened breads called chappati or rotis. It is also used for cooking some unique dishes which require fast cooking with the outer rim is used to keep the dish warm. Popular in Indian street food- especially Pav Bhaji, is a typical tawa dish and needs to be constantly stirred to avoid burning. It is served straight out of the tawa and eaten immediately on sour dough bread. Besides fast food a number of main courses like tawa chicken, tawa vegetables and others are also very popular in this category.
The concept of Handi cooking is around 600 – 700 years old which has been passed from generation to generation in India.Handi means an earthen pot in which cooking of curries takes place on slow fire.Handi comes in different shapes and size but main feature remains the same to all that is a thick bottom that ensures that food does not stick to the bottom.It is well known fact that the food cooked on slow fire preserves the natural characteristics- aroma. Flavour & nutrition to its maximum. The most important aspects of handi are bhunao and dum, meaning roasting and maturing of a prepared dish. It is best for preservation of natural characteristic of vegetables, herbs and spice.
Talna (Frying) (तलना)
It is the process of cooking food by immersing it in the dip pan of hot oil. It is also know as frying.It could be shallow fried also.
Ubalna (Boiling) (उबालना)
This is to cook ingredients in liquid with the liquid kept at boiling point 100 degree centigrade so that the surface of the water bubbles and turns over continually. There are different degrees of boiling from gently boiling to fast boiling with the surface changing from just gentle bubbling to fairy violent turbulation.
It refers to the use of softening agents like raw papaya paste (papain), pineapple, kachari etc. to tenderize the meat.
Loab / Rogan (रोगन)
It refers to the final stage of cooking when the oil used during cooking, rises to the surface, giving the dish a finished appearance. This happens when slow cooking of gravy dishes is involved.
Gunana/Guthna (Kneading) (गूथना)
This is a process by which a flour or a mixture of flours and other ingredients are combined to form a dough.This also refers to a process by which a mixture or dough is made smoother, softer and more elastic.Doughs are generally kneaded on a board by applying a gentle pressing and stretching action with the hand.
Fetna (Beating) (फेंटना)
This is a process by which the consistency, appearance or colour of a mixture or a substance is modified by a sharp stroking movement.The operation is carried out in many ways according to the nature of ingredients, utensils used and the purpose.
A variety of mixture like pakora batter is beaten with spoon or palm. The egg mixture for omelets is beaten with fork or a whisk.
To moisten meat at intervals with a liquid as melted butter, fat, or pan drippings especially during cooking especially used in grilling and roasting and other meat preparations where the meat is over heat for extended periods of time, basting can flavor the meat and keep it moist. Meat needs to be basted several times during cooking.
This is to press moistened flour or other ingredients into a sticky ball using the fingers e.g. stuffing samosa etc.