53 votes

How do I add a strong "onion flavor" to the biryani (in restaurant style)?

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 ...
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  • 66.5k
32 votes

How do I add a strong "onion flavor" to the biryani (in restaurant style)?

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 ...
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  • 63.9k
31 votes
Accepted

What is this seed pod?

Looks like cardamom to me, regularly used in Indian and other South Asian cuisine and often left as whole seed pods in dishes for unsuspecting diners to accidentally chew on.
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  • 1,862
28 votes
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Dried basil leaves instead of bay leaves

No, this would be a bad substitution. Instead use cinnamon, in a smaller quantity, and preferably whole. Or leave it out entirely and rely on the other spices in your dish. In my opinion at least, ...
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23 votes
Accepted

How to deal with strong, sizable spices?

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 ...
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  • 45k
17 votes

How to deal with strong, sizable spices?

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 ...
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  • 3,098
16 votes

What was Indian food like before the arrival of the chili pepper from the Americas?

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) ...
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16 votes

What was the original "Lea & Perrins" recipe from Bengal?

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 ...
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  • 23.5k
15 votes
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Are cardamom husks edible?

The entire seed pod is edible. With a coffee grinder, you may not be able to reduce the husks to powder (that’s more of a job for a burr grinder), which may affect the mouth feel of the final dish ...
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  • 20.1k
14 votes

Are cardamom husks edible?

If the goal is to follow a South Indian recipe, then dehusking the cardamom and grinding just the seeds would be more authentic than grinding the pod whole. I spent much of my life in India. I studied ...
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  • 1,503
11 votes
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Why is the chicken in Indian food so tender?

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 ...
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11 votes

Difference between tzatziki and Indian mint dip (mint chutney?)

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 (...
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  • 16.2k
11 votes

How do I add a strong "onion flavor" to the biryani (in restaurant style)?

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 ...
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  • 111
11 votes

Why does garam masala powder taste bland?

I think we’re up against this mis-interpretation of the word ‘sweet’ again. Garam masala is a blend of aromatics you add towards the end of cooking. Many of the ingredients are the same as a generic ...
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  • 23.5k
10 votes
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Why to remove skin and seeds of tomatoes when we puree them?

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 ...
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  • 286
10 votes

What was Indian food like before the arrival of the chili pepper from the Americas?

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 ...
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10 votes

Why does my curry taste so bland?

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 ...
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10 votes
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What to do to get tender, edible steak instead of it being rubbery?

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-...
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  • 4,386
9 votes

What is meant by "cook until the oil separates" in Indian curry recipes?

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 ...
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9 votes

Indian Cuisine - Atta Chicken

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 ...
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  • 58k
9 votes

How to deal with strong, sizable spices?

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 ...
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  • 317
9 votes
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Grinding toasted spices without cooling

The reason to wait is that warm spices tend to clump when grinding, and the cooling step should help avoid this. I have a bladed coffee grinder that I use as a spice grinder. I rarely wait for ...
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  • 63.9k
8 votes
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Why is there no pork on the Indian take-away menu?

In the UK you see lamb and chicken on "Indian" restaurant menus, but not beef or pork. I suspect that in the colonial era when the English wanted meat there were goats (near enough the same as sheep) ...
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  • 38.3k
8 votes

Why is the English word "curry" used for all these different dishes?

"Curry" is based on the Tamil word "Kari", which refers to any of various highly-spiced side dishes intended to be eaten over rice. Englishmen from the British East India Company encountered the Tamil ...
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  • 45k
8 votes

How to predict and adjust the spice level of dal?

Firstly, it has to be said - the way you learn to judge quantities is … practise. However, there are several factors at play here… "Indians" [sorry, I'm generalising a whole continent into ...
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  • 23.5k
8 votes

Are cardamom husks edible?

As 'ground cardamon' is in fact light green*, it clearly contains husk, so one would imagine the husk is edible, if not directly digestible. That when you encounter them [for some reason always in the ...
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  • 23.5k
7 votes
Accepted

Why does fat make chapati/parathas/pooris remain soft?

The "moistness" of the bread - the soft texture - is actually from oils and fats as well as water - grain has some of these naturally, especially whole grain. Adding in extra fat, such as butter, ...
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7 votes
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How can I prevent a thick layer of tikka marinade on my chicken?

Use a higher chicken-to-marinade ratio, so a small amount of chicken isn't sitting in masses of marinade. If you see chicken tikka marinading in a restaurant, you'll note that is only lightly coated. ...
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7 votes
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Does toasting and grinding whole spice really improve curry flavor?

I don't think roasting spices "improves" them or rejuvenates stale spices but it certainly does change the flavor profile in ways that may be desirable in some cases, for some spices, less so for ...
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  • 2,946
7 votes

Difference between tzatziki and Indian mint dip (mint chutney?)

Mint chutney is normally almost all herbs (mint and cilantro), and it's ground/blended so it's completely green: (from this mint chutney recipe) I can't really see the chutney/dip in your picture ...
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  • 57.3k

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