Many people hold the belief that Indian cooking is difficult and too complicated due to the many spices involved in making the dishes. But this is a myth. With a just a bit of knowledge regarding basic techniques that you can apply in general to your Indian cooking experiments, you’ll be on your way to making dishes that taste just like the ones you’ve had at Indian restaurants or homes.
It would be untruthful to say that Indian cuisine doesn’t have its challenges, particularly if you’re only a beginner in its culinary ways. But there are certain very little known techniques to making dishes produce that wonderful blend of flavours so characteristically Indian. These tips and techniques are what we will share with you now:
The first advice we can give you is not to be put off by the long list of Indian spices you think you need. When you’re only beginning in the Indian cooking journey, all you really need are the 5 most common spices, and you’ll be able to make a perfectly Indian-tasting dish:
- Cumin seeds: These tiny brown seeds need their oils to be released so they can emit their nice, nutty flavour. Thus, they are tempered in oil before being mixed into a dish or recipe.
- Cumin powder: This is the ground version of cumin seeds, which is great for marinades and other spice blends
- Coriander powder: This spice is very woody and aromatic, and gives dishes their typical Indian taste.
- Turmeric: This yellow spice is an offshoot of the ginger family. It’s well-known for its anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties. It provides a vibrant colour to dishes, in addition to its health benefits.
- Garam Masala: No Indian kitchen can do without Garam Masala, which is essentially a blend of different spices. Some people like to make their own blend of Garam Masala, but as a beginner, you can simply purchase it to save you from a lot of trouble and learn more about its flavours by experimenting with the use of it in your dishes.
With these 5 spices alone, you can already create a savoury curry dish, Indian-style.
The second advice we can give you is that Indian cooking depends highly on the processes administered. If you simply throw everything in a pot at once, you’ll just end up making a stew without any distinctive Indian taste to it. Worse, you may ruin the dish because you did not adhere to the proper processes that ingredients need to emit their flavours harmoniously. Here are the cooking steps involved in Indian cuisine:
- Deep frying
Follow the process Indian recipes call for, because trust us, there is a method to the madness, which you’ll soon realise as you continue practicing them.
Lastly, Indian cuisine is all about a balance of different tastes and texture. For example, the balance between the sharpness of spices, the sweetness of the onions, pungency of ginger and garlic and the sour taste of tomatoes can come to play in a dish. Apart from spices, adding commonly used aromatics such as onions, garlic, ginger, herbs, and tomatoes add to the overall taste of the dish.
Indian dishes do tend to use ingredients that are completely different in the flavour spectrum, such as chillies and jaggery or yoghurt with cumin powder. But this fact only makes Indian cuisine more exciting to the palate. Yet you don’t have to know all of this at the start. We suggest that you simply follow the recipes. With more experience, you’ll eventually become familiar with the mix-and-match involved in this unique cuisine.
Ready to try your hand at getting those authentic Indian flavours in your dishes? Visit Curry Corner or browse through our website for a one-stop shopping experience of Indian food and ingredients. As the original and best-loved Indian store in Melbourne, you can bet that when it comes to Indian food, we have what you need.