7 Top Tips For Cooking Indian Food At Home

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Indian cuisine brings to mind an explosion of aroma, flavour and colour. Indian food generally is a concoction of spices blended in the correct proportion and cooked with extreme care...

Here are Chef Jainal’s top 7 tips:

1.Spices – Start simple

Chef Jainal said: “Spices are beautiful. Their aroma will give you an unexplainable pleasure. Indian dishes are all about having the correct proportion of spices to make the dish extremely aromatic and delicious at the same time.

“It’s always better to start with simple indian dishes that have a combination of just two or three spices in them.

2.Chapattis – how to make it right?

For Chef Jainal learning to make a chapatti (or roti as it’s also called) is an essential part of many Indian dishes.

He said: “Indians usually use chapatti to soak into their curry or even scoop it up before eating it. Since the chapatti is the base which acts as a sponge to soak up the wonderful sauces, it has to be soft and fluffy.

“To ensure the chapatti is soft, use hot water rather than cold to mix the dough. As well as water, you can also add milk or even a banana (optional) to make it even softer. Be careful if using mashed banana as they can make the dough too sweet.”

3.Think about what goes in the fridge

Often, out of fear, people store all fresh food in the fridge, however, there are items that would be better not stored in the fridge unless absolutely necessary.

“In some cases the natural flavour of vegetables and fruits might get destroyed”.

Some items which should not be kept in the fridge are:

  • Potatoes
  • Onions
  • Tomatoes
  • Garlic
  • Bread
  • Honey
  • Banana
  • Melons
  • Olive oil

4.Top tips when making a curry

Chef Jainal said:

  • Use ripe tomatoes as it will give the dish a great colour and a better taste.
  • Fry the masala first along with onion, garlic and ginger in oil to get rid of the raw taste.
  • Add the spices in careful
  • If possible, buy raw materials for making the spices and then grind them rather than going for the packaged ones.
  • Always cook on a low flame.
  • Use coconut oil for extra flavour.

5.Follow the instructions exactly 

Chef Jainal said: “Indian cuisine might be one of the only ones where the people who cook it have to strictly follow each recipe. Changes in the proportion may affect the taste of the dish drastically. So keep your measuring tools nearby when cooking and don’t estimate anything.”

6.Marinate the meat an hour before cooking

There is a widespread misconception that meat is not an integral part of Indian dishes. But that’s not true.

Chef Jainal explained: “In Southern and north western part of India, there is a widespread usage of meat.

“No matter what kind of meat you are using make sure that it has been marinated with spices an hour before cooking and always remember to cook the meat slowly on a low flame so that it brings out the flavour.” 

7.Cooking hacks, know them 

Here are Chef Jainal’s top cooking hacks:

  • Potatoes are one of the most important parts of any Indian dish. Indians usually don’t use the skin in cooking so to peel off the skin easily add salt while boiling.
  • Add lemon juice to boiling water to prevent your rice going sticky.
  • Soften paneer (cottage cheese) in hot water for some time and then cook it.
  • Like any other dish there is an order in cooking Indian dish. Onion first, then garlic, ginger and then the spices. Following this order makes the dish taste better.
  • You can make chapattis more exciting by adding finely chopped or grated leafy vegetables.
  • If chopping an onion makes you cry, cut it in half and soak in water for 10 minutes.
  • To retain the green colour of the peas add sugar while boiling.
  • After marinating fish with masala, give a rava coating to it so that it will be crispy once fried.
  • Onion, ginger, and garlic act as the base for any Indian curry. Have a clear idea about how you wish your curry to be. Softening them without any coloration will give a lighter curry. Caramelising them will give a rich darker curry.


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