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54

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.


33

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 ...


26

Well, that depends on the individual Thai dish or Indian dish and how it was cooked, of course. But I understand what you're talking about. However, the difference in heat sensations is not due to the kind of pepper employed. It's all about fat, really. Frequently Thai dishes are made with fresh peppers, and have a lot of acid and salt in them (from ...


23

It seems to be an edible lichen. It looks very like one described online as (black) stone flower in English and dagad phool in Hindi, which seems to be a not uncommon ingredient in various spice mixes; e.g. on the left in this photo from an Indian food blog: [Edit: photo removed as I’ve just realised the author of that blog specifically requests not ...


22

I've seen a lot of different curry recipes with varying levels of authenticity, but the most common ingredients I see in curries that might impart that colour are: Garam masala (brown) Chili powder (red) Cumin (brown) Paprika (red) Tandoori powder (usually a mix of masala, cumin, ground red pepper, fenugreek, and others - very red) Saffron (red) Still, it'...


22

If Belgian food is anything like the Dutch food my Oma made, your best bet is to limit it to the dessert course and strike out in a different direction. Even there, throwing in an extra pinch of salt and a little fresh ginger or cardamom powder may help liven it up for your friends. One area where you'll both be happy: Mediterranean/Middle-Eastern fare. ...


21

Garam masala is a catch-all term for an Indian spice blend. It has no fixed recipe but is likely to contain a combination of cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, bay, black pepper, star anise, dried chillies, coriander, cumin and maybe more or less. Blends vary according to family tradition and region. Spices are then dried out and possibly roasted, before being ...


18

Paneer can be used as is. Sometimes it is fried to extend shelf life. Cooks will also sometimes fry paneer until it is slightly brown and then put the fried cubes of paneer in hot water for a few minutes. This makes paneer very soft. If you do cook paneer, it will not melt, like most other cheese varieties, because it's an acid-set cheese.


17

Chutney is a fairly generic term, so your confusion isn't too surprising - the definition may also vary from region to region, and it's a loanword. It's generally defined as a condiment consisting of some combination of vegetables, fruits, herbs, and/or spices. (So by definition, it's intended to be paired with other foods.) This means they're usually fairly ...


17

Basically, a chutney is a kind of savoury jam. This is a very simplistic definition though. The main differences between jam and chutney are as follows: The preservation in jam is only by sugar. In chutney, vinegar and sugar are used together, so chutneys are not necessarily sweet. Jam is almost always made with fruit as the main ingredient. In chutney,...


16

I think for Indian recipes you should in general look for an unstrained, set yoghurt. There are other factors that determine the final taste and texture of the yoghurt (the bacteria, the type of milk, length of fermentation, …) but you may not have much choice w.r.t. other factors than these two: Production process: Set yoghurt is yoghurt that's made the ...


16

The sauces are called chutney (plural chutneys). The green one, called hari chutney in Hindi, is generally made with a mixture of coriander (cilantro) leaves and mint leaves. Hari means green in Hindi. The leaves (I have used them in a 3:1::coriander:mint ratio) are ground to a fine paste along with a tbsp of sugar, a pinch of salt, and about 2 tbsp of lime ...


16

When you cook a vegetable, such as a cut up onion, it will release water. The water initially will create an emulsion with the oil in the pan, so you won't see them as clearly separated elements, but the water will also be evaporating. When enough (perhaps all) of the water has dissipated, the emulsion breaks and you see the oil separate from the rest of the ...


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 ...


15

I actually have two slightly Zen comments about this, in that they don't answer your question though they may solve your quandary. First, you might have the right spices but get the ratios wrong. In my exeprience, the ration of cumin to turmeric is about 4 to 1, sometimes more. Turmeric is to be used sparingly, half a teaspoon is usually plenty in a big ...


14

Indian food is commonly cooked with ghee (clarified butter), for both religious and flavor reasons. Where ghee is not used, coconut or refined palm oil are common. I can also tell you from experience that Indian food can be made with unflavored vegetable oils (canola, sunflower or soy), without a deleterious effect on flavor or texture.


14

Rule of thumb, dairy in the north and coconut in southern recipes. ie korma wouldn't have coconut Indian yogurt is made with whole milk. As with western recipes, balancing the fat for good mouth-feel is important: yogurt can be a good choice when a larger quantity of liquid is called for. Cream works great when a finishing splash smooths out flavors without ...


13

It sounds like you're assuming that recipes are scientific creations carefully engineered to achieve a precise result. But most "recipes" are an attempt to relay a rather imprecise series of steps based on available ingredients, familiarity, superstition, and habit in a way that is approximately reproducible by someone else. Even within the bounds of ...


13

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

Well, I am Indian, so let me tell you this: in traditional North-Indian cooking (and this is where paneer is widely used), paneer is almost always cooked. Yes, no problem with not cooking it, but uncooked paneer is not a good dish. It is more a dry and stingy (for lack of a better word) cheese. So you see paneer or cottage cheese is best served cooked and ...


12

You can find recipes online for the following suggestions : One thing you can try is to give a shot to Indian Chinese cuisine. I'm sure everyone must have tried some cooking some Chinese at some point. Basically they use spices to tastefully to fire up a Chinese dish. They are pretty easy to dish out. Also you can try to mimic the Goan cuisine. Goa is a ...


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

If you are having trouble rolling dough to a uniform thickness then you might consider putting training wheels on your rolling pin until you get more practiced. http://www.amazon.com/Rolling-Hills-Pin-Rings/dp/B000I1ZXBC (I don't know anything about this particular brand.) These rubber bands fit on your rolling pin and act as spacers so you can enforce a ...


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

There is nothing inauthentic about using sugar in an Indian dish, even a savory one. For example, Gujarati cooks often add raw sugar (jaggery) to daal and curries. Quoth Wikipedia: "It is common to add a little sugar or jaggery to some of the sabzi/shaak and daal. The sweet flavour of these dishes is believed to neutralize the slightly salty taste of the ...


10

I was doing some product demonstrations at an Asian market in Portland once, and an Indian vendor treated me to some of his samples brushed with a brownish ghee. I mentioned that I had never seen this kind of ghee before; I was used to a more yellowish, clarified-butter style. He told me "Yeah, my wife hates it when I make this kind of ghee, but I prefer it ...


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, ...


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