53

The restaurants may be adding asafoetida, a ground root product that adds a savory, onion-y flavor to food. It's very concentrated stuff and smells awful, but once you cook it for awhile it's absolute magic.


32

I make biryani frequently. The recipe I follow differs from your link in a couple of areas. Specifically, in terms of your concern about onion flavor, my recipe uses much more oil, and twice as much onion. I slowly fry two, very thinly sliced, large onions (the variety doesn't seem to matter so much), in 3/4 cup of oil. The onions are cooked until they ...


23

Simple: spit them out. You're not supposed to eat whole cardamom pods or cloves, any more than you'd eat whole cinnamon sticks, bay leaves, or slices of dried galangal. Each diner is expected to spit them out, or pick them out of their food, and set them aside on their plate. Whole coriander seed, cumin seed, and other small spices are meant to be eaten, ...


17

For whole spices which are hard to pick out, you could try make a bouquet garni. Wrap the whole spices into a bundle, using cheesecloth, a piece of muslin (undyed, loosely woven fabric), a coffee filter tied with string, a tea strainer, or a drawstring tea bag (example). (image source) This is a technique commonly used for soup making. Depending on the dish,...


16

I'd recommend Mark Bittman's "How to Cook Everything Vegetarian", I use it all the time. It's certainly what I would call comprehensive; besides containing tons of recipes for everything from entrees to breads to soups, the sections are prefaced with tips on how to improvise or switch up the recipes as desired, including vegan alternatives.


16

They are fried chickpea noodles called "sev". http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sev_(food) Usually they are added to street food snacks such as bhel puri and pani puri, for example see what a nice look they add to this panipuri http://food4yourmood.files.wordpress.com/2013/05/pani-puri.jpg I usually buy them in Indian grocery stores, though I would think it's ...


16

The trouble with the Lea & Perrin's story & Lord Sandys' "original recipe" is that it is mainly myth/fable/advertising copy (I'd hate to outright call it a lie…) Worcestershire Sauce originally was basically curry powder and water, with anchovy sauce. It didn't start from a Bengali sauce at all, it started from curry powder, which someone ...


15

Hardly - pepper was exported from India before chillis were introduced. Some linguistic subgroups still use it in preference to chillis, and certain dishes use it in preference to (or in addition to) chillies. Ginger's also native (or at least an early import) to India (and while not always used in 'traditional' cooking), I do believe that garlic and ginger ...


12

In India curd means plain yogurt.


11

This spice is called "Kalpaasi" in Tamilian cuisine. I use it in my chicken gravy, mutton gravy and for few vegetarian recipes too. I use kalpasi when I season some of my chutney varieties. It releases a strong curry smell the moment you add it in hot oil. This spice grows inside water wells absorbing pure air (from what I heard from my aunt when I was ...


11

I would say that Madhur Jaffrey's World Vegetarian, with 650+ recipes, has been a source of great inspiration for me. It's comprehensive and boasts a great number of different styles and ingredients. Additionally it's informative, offering a lot of history about the foods, the places they have come from and the people who developed them. It strengthens the "...


11

It is a combination of the marinade (with yoghurt and lemon juice probably being the main factors in the tenderness) and the hot, fast cooking in the tandoor, further enhanced by the use of metal skewers which conduct the heat to the middle of the meat quickly. A good tandoor chef will time the cooking perfectly so that the meat is safely cooked but hasn't ...


10

I've had good luck baking naan on an indoor grill. I have an electric one, but you could use a stovetop one as well. Just apply a little butter, ghee, or spray oil, wipe it off, and bake. (Click for larger images) I used an alternative method to make lavash: an inverted wok over a stove burner. You'll need a gas stove to do this one. I applied them dry, ...


10

For whatever reason, the brand of tinned tomatoes I used to buy regularly had somewhat bitter-tasting seeds; the flavour was definitely present in pureed soups / sauces. I used to squeeze them all out by hand, but some still made it into my precious San Marzano tomato sauces. Then I found the perfect tool for skinning and seeding larger quantities of ...


10

As far as I'm aware, the traditional Greek tzatziki doesn't generally include mint at all. It's a cucumber dip that is made of yogurt and sometimes includes dill or mint as a flavoring: Tzatziki (Anglicized: /tsɑːtˈsiːki/ }; Greek: τζατζίκι [dzaˈdzici] or [dʒaˈdʒici]) is a Greek sauce served with grilled meats or as a dip. Tzatziki is made of strained ...


10

Starting with a "random piece of meat" may be part of the problem. Some cuts are more suitable for this than others. If the meat seems "raw", then something is very wrong here. An hour at pressure-cooker temperatures is more than enough to over-cook it. There's no way it could be raw. I suspect that over-cooking is the problem, and that will depend on the ...


10

I'm not sure if this gets at exactly what I'd call an "onion" flavour, but otherwise your experience sounds very similar to mine. I was pretty good at many different Indian recipes, but for the longest time, biryani eluded me. I tried all kinds of different things and ingredients and combinations, but could never seem to quite nail down a recipe that made my ...


9

I'm giving you slightly contrarian advice axed on typical indian household recipe. A) if I understand right your main problem is that the paneer crumbles in your curry. B) unlike Indian restaurants in western countries, paneer which is tough and squeaks between teeth is not considered right! Paneer should be soft but firm and hold together. Follow my sister'...


9

Apparently a lot has changed since this question was first posted exactly five years ago today. Today a simple Google search yields many recipes, a lot of lore, and lots of pictures. Here's one picture I like from DamnFineLife: But, I suspect that one has been very much prettied up for the camera. This one is from the blog Fit Foodie Megha, which does ...


9

The Moosewood Cookbook, by Mollie Katzen, is often regarded as a sort of bible of vegetarian cooking. It's one of the best-selling cookbooks ever, not just among vegetarian cookbooks, and helped show Americans that they didn't always need meat to make good food. The original is from 1977 and may be harder to find, but there's a revised version, The New ...


9

At the restaurants where I have made butter chicken, we used a very thick yogurt to make it. A Greek yogurt (or even sour cream) would work, provided it wasn't excessively sour. If you're feeling more DIY, you could strain some regular yogurt through a coffee filter to make it a bit thicker and use that.


9

The recipe 'thevasam' in the link is authentic ( but regional ) pre-columbian exchange cuisine, made with ingredients from species largely native to the indo-malayan ecoregion, and is pretty much reflective of Indian cuisine before the columbian exchange. I study crop dispersal, as I had an agricultural background from South India. Other heat giving ...


9

The recipe is easy on spices with (perceived) spiciness: No peppers, just the usual amount of ginger and only 2 cloves. On top of that, close to half a liter of coconut milk gets added, which will sweeten the curry, and dampen the (again: perceived) spiciness. The main veggies are cauliflower, far from the most exciting taste in the world, and peas, which ...


9

You could get a spice grinder and grind them. If you do it at the time of cooking (rather than buying preground spices) you're unlikely to get a significant decrease in quality of flavour Do be aware though that a fine powder will pack much more tightly, and impart a greater amount of their flavour into the sauce, than loose whole spices and so you'll likely ...


8

Oil and water have different boiling points. Oil has a higher boiling point as compared to water.Spices and aromatic release their flavors only in oil because the compounds in them that are responsible for aroma/flavor are oil soluble.However, they can burn easily in very hot oil. Most Indian recipes require that they are cooked in a mixture of water and oil ...


8

Rogan Josh was originally a Kashmiri dish. 'Rogan Josh' means 'bubbling fat'. Nowadays 'Rogan Josh' is pretty much any lamb/goat curry with a red gravy. Most of the Rogan Josh I've had in the US & UK isn't anything like what my Kashmiri in laws make. The red color of Rogan Josh comes from a lot of 'Kashmiri mirch', a red chili powder that is rich & ...


8

This is completely normal and expected. Indian pickle is fermented. One of the by products of that fermentation is gas. The salt keeps undesirable bacteria from growing. In the future you should use a container that can be less tightly closed and allow some of the gas to vent as it ferments. You wouldn't want a bottle to burst.


8

Cake decorating stores should have food grade edible foils, both silver and gold. These are specialty items that you are unlikely to find locally, and may have to order from online distributors. Surprisingly, even Amazon has a listing for silver leaf. You will find other sources if you google.


8

Indian recipes taste fine with reduced salt, as long as you haven't trained your palate to enjoy salty food. This is no different to any other regional cuisine. I personally cook curries with no added salt at all, a quarter-teaspoon of salt per portion of boiled rice, and minimal salt in breads. Try reducing saltiness gradually, until your palate no longer ...


8

Jaggery doesn't require any kind of soaking. It's usually added either while sautéing or if the dish is gravy based, while its boiling. Jaggery usually softens up when heated and gradually dissolves with other ingredients just as salt or sugar would. The hard blocks of jaggery are difficult to break into pieces and its easier to grate it.


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