South Indian Cookbook

How do I get the most Flavor From My Indian Cooking Recipes?

To bring out the best flavor from your tasty recipes, here are some Indian cooking recipe tips and techniques.

SEASONINGS

Season the Oil
With many sauces, to achieve the best, well blended flavor, it is best to heat the oil (such as ghee or gingely oil) without overheating, and add the spices such as mustard seed cloves. Allow these to cook for a few minutes. In the case of mustard seeds, they should just burst before adding onions.

Roasting and Grinding the Spices
Spices are best with bought whole and roasted at home. Have you ever had a cup of coffee where there was a roaster in the building and it was roasted that morning. The flavor is marvelous. The same is true with spices. It takes a little longer to roast the whole spices and it takes some forethought, but for that special meal the difference is worth it.

Have you Added Too Much Salt?
If you have added too much to your sauce (or masala), then take a raw potato and cut it into large dice and put it into your sauce for about 15-20 minutes. Remove the potato before serving.

Miscellaneous

Tamarind
is one of the unique ingredients found in South India. It gives a sour taste to the dish and it can be found in different forms. The most common way to find it is in packages where the tamarind seeds are compacted together. To use it in a recipe, take a piece off and soak it in water. The size of the piece will be indicated in the recipe. After it has soaked for 2 hours squeeze it between your fingers to extract the juice and discard the pith and seeds. Tamarind can be found in specialty stores in your area or at

Amazon Gourmet Foods.


Coconut
coconut is commonly used in cooking South Indian recipes. To extract coconut milk, pour warm water over the grated coconut and squeeze the juice out. If you only have shredded, dried (or dessicated) coconut and want to make a nice, rich milk, then take about 1/2 cup dried coconut and boil it in 2 cups of milk. Let it sit for an hour or 2 and squeeze through a sieve.

Working with Yoghurt
When you cook with yoghurt you have to be very careful to keep it from curdling. The main causes of curdling are acid, salt and heat. Many Indian recipes that use yoghurt have acidic ingredients like onions, tomato or lemon. I suggest that you add the yoghurt or milk products near the end of the cooking and once you have added it do not let the temperature get above 180 degrees F. Also, to lessen the chance or curdling, make sure the yoghurt or cream is fresh.

When you are boiling milk, if it begins to boil over, quickly sprinkle a little cold water over it and it will subside.

Using a pressure cooker can cut down a lot of time cooking Indian recipes. Cooking time is calculated from when it lets out a loud hiss. For example, if the recipe calls for 10 minutes, then shut off the pressure cooker 10 minutes after the hiss.

To find out more cooking tips, check out your local bookstore or try

Amazon Books.