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Indian Cooking Methods

Is there anything special about Indian Cooking Methods?

Well it's a question as big as India itself. There are, of course the usual frying, deep and shallow, boiling and baking etc. It's just like any other cuisine in that respect.

A good many dishes are braised. First the meat or vegetablaes are seared - cooked at high temperature in oil. Then they are cooked slowly in a variable amount of liquid in a covered pot. The dish Korma derives its name from the Hindi 'to braise', and a good many dishes (Rogan Josh, Dopiaza) are variants of Korma

It does seem that a good few dishes are prepared by shallow frying onions and spices then braising the meat and/or vegetables. Quite a few curries are cooked for a long period (and I frequently transfer to a slow cooker after initially cooking in a pan). Often the pot needs to be well sealed - if you don'r have a tight fitting lid this is often achieved by sealing the lid with a ring of dough.

Some dishes are simply fried quite quickly - Jalfrezi is an example. This is more common in the North where the food tends to be a little drier.

Also in the North, the tandoor is used a great deal. This is a circular clay oven fired by wood or charcoal and provides the intense heat. It is used for cooking both meat and breads. Naan bread is the most obvious example but many regional breads are cooked this way. Tikka dishes and kebabs are often cooked in a tandoor. It can be replicated to some extent using a heavy dry frying pan and the oven and grill. I use the oven for my raan of lamb but that would also be done in a tandoor

Deep frying is used for pakoras (vegetables in batter) and pooris (deep fried breads); and aloo chaat involves deep frying potatoes (like chips).

Steaming is rarer but idlis are a very common breakfast food which are steamed.

Marinating is quite common in Indian food as well especially with meat dishes - there seems to be a deep desire to get all the flavours into the meat - it does also help to preserve the meat.

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