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

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 ...


13

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 slightly but should be fine. The cardamom taste comes from the seeds, so you can remove the husks if you want, but I wouldn’t bother. If you do decide to remove ...


13

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 among South Indians and ate at their homes regularly, and continue to cook Indian food by default even though I haven’t been there in a very long time. When ...


12

In India curd means plain yogurt.


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

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

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

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

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

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.


8

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) and chickens because both are kept for food but not meat. So are cattle but they're special. There simply wouldn't have been a supply of pigs or the habit of ...


8

"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 word in their first explorations of the subcontinent, applied it more broadly to pretty much all Indian dishes, and used it in preference to words in other ...


8

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 one word for convenience] don't eat mouth-stingingly-hot food at every meal. Some food is mild, some is 'go-for-it'. Some is rich, some is bland, some has heat, ...


8

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 very last mouthful] of a biryani, you just politely place them on the side of your plate is probably more of a 'chewability' issue than toxicity. *As this ...


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