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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.


    My trusty cast iron frying pan

    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.

    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.


    My lovely tava

    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

    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 them off.
  •  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

    My reliable spice grinder

  •  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).

    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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