Indian Cooking Equipment
So what Indian cooking equipment do you need to prepare your Indian food?
Well first of all let me say that you will be able to cook good Indian
food in nearly any reasonably well equipped kitchen. A while ago I wrote
a short article about whether
kitchen gadgets save time. I came to the conclusion that whilst
there are some really useful things, there is a huge amount of stuff
that you can buy that you will use twice and then forget about.
You don't have to go buying all sorts of special equipment like a tava
or a karahi and things like a tandoor oven is just out of the question
for most kitchens (although some people build them in the garden and
they are pretty good for barbeques).
If you want to cook with the stuff you normally cook with there are
some points to make.
Pans. You will need to use heavy bottomed pans quite a lot.
These distribute the heat better but also retain the heat, so that you
can fry things quickly but also simmer food without burning or sticking
problems. Before I bought some Indian pans I used a cast iron saucepan
for a lot of curries and a cast iron frying pan for breads. Avoid aluminium
for most curry dishes as this can taint the food.
I have had this for many years - can't even remember when I bought it.
I use it for roasting spices and for naan breads as it is quite heavy
and so holds the heat better than the tava. It also has a slightly stranger
use. If I ever have to use a pan with a thiner base I put this pan underneath
it as a heat diffuser; it distributes the heat into the main pan better.
My trusty cast iron frying pan
Obviously, if you are going to buy pans or equipment
especially for Indian cooking, then you may as well buy traditional
Indian cooking equipment - its actually quite fun to use.
This is my tava - the first Indian pan I bought.Used for chappatis
and other flaf breads. It has
no sides but is slightly curved so it will hold a little oil. I can
roast spices on this as well. It's not cast iron but hard anodized (which
will stay non stick for ever) There are loads of different ones to choose
this one is 30cm
but not too heavy
My lovely tava
Lots of India street food is cooked on a tava - it is basically an Indian
griddle pan so I also use it for aloo tikki.
There is a recipe I have seen somewhere for tava fried vegetables -
basically an Indian stir fry - will do this and put it on the site at
some point. As a bonus it is really good for cooking beefburgers and
sauteed onions, making pancakes and even frying eggs! Use it as you
would a griddle pan.
A karahi is like an Indian wok but with a thick bottom and handles.
It is circular like a wok and used as a general purpose pan that can
be used for shallow or deep frying as well as stewing and braising.
Traditionally they are made from cast iron which holds the heat very
well. You can also get them in copper and stainless steel and can
even get them non-stick these days.
There is also a good case for using some pans only for Indian
food. Some of the spice seem totally impervious to all attempts at washing
Utensils. I use a wooden spoon for stirring and other plastic
utensils where possible. Again I think metallic things can taint the
food, particularly if you have things like lime, vinegar or lime juice
amongst the ingredients.
You will need
Grinding Spices. Some like to use a traditional mortar and pestle
to grind spices. I'm not sure that this really adds anything (except
preparation time and the odd blister) and I have a coffee grinder
that, for reasonably obvious reasons, I use only for spices (unless
you really want curried coffee).
My reliable spice grinder
This is my spice grinder, it is very good value and has lasted me a
good long time with no problems. Technically it is call a Lloytron
E825bk Coffee And Spice Grinder
It's quite neat (the top rotates and winds in the power cable. There
are loads of good grinders on the market.
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