Essential Tips for using my Recipes

The aim of this website is to teach the basics of Indian vegetarian cooking and provide you with delicious Indian recipes that your family and friends will love. You won’t need to know much about Indian cooking to use these recipes.

I do suggest that at least for the first few times you follow these recipes step-by-step. With that being said, I hope that you will feel free to experiment and make these dishes uniquely your own. Half the fun in cooking is experimenting. Don’t be intimidated as Indian cooking is geared for flexibility.

These are some essential tips that I find most useful:

Read the recipe before starting and make sure all ingredients are ready.

Throughout my recipes, I use standard measuring cups and spoons instead of weight. I find this to be more practical.

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To get rid of the burn smell, when you have burned your dal or vegetables, immediately transfer the dal or vegetables to another (uncovered) dish and place that dish over a pot of cold water.

I do not like to reuse oil to avoid any mixing of flavors. Oil absorbs the flavor of whatever you are cooking. This is especially true if you frying foods using gram flour or spices.

Use a skimmer when you are frying as the holes that help in draining excess oil.

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When cutting vegetables to cook, cut them in equal and bite sized pieces. This allows for the vegetables to be flavored and cooked evenly. This is my favorite cutting board:

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Select the right size pan. If a pan is very small proportionally to the food you are preparing, it will be difficult to evenly cook. Using a pan that is too big will cause the liquid in the food to evaporate too quickly.
The suggested heat in my recipes may vary depending on your particular stove, so use the suggested heat as a guideline.

Measuring vegetables and fruits using cup measurements can vary depending on whether raw, chopped, or cooked foods are used. For everyday purposes I find it is best to approximate measurements. Remember the cup measurements are just guidelines.

A zester or fine shredder works great to make a ginger paste, or ginger juice. Squeezing the ginger paste with your fingers you have a ginger juice to flavor your dishes.

Roasted Cumin Seed Powder

I use this powder often as it adds a very nice flavor. For roasting cumin Seeds heat the skillet over medium heat and add cumin seeds. Dry roast the seeds until they become dark brown and start exuding an aroma. Let them cool before grinding. Roasted cumin seeds can be prepared in advance and stored for a month in an airtight jar.

Chaunk (Seasoning)

Chaunk is also known as tadka or baghar which is a seasoning technique made with spices fried in oil or ghee (clear butter) and added to a dish to give it a distinctive flavor. Chaunk is added to a dish in the beginning or end. Chaunk has endless possibilities of combinations of ingredients. It is important to prepare chaunk the right way to ensure the proper release of flavor and aroma of the spices. Make sure to have all the spices ready before because the spices need to be added to the hot oil at just the right time. Mostly chaunks are comprised of cumin seeds (jeera) or mustard seeds (rai) or both. The best way to know if the oil is hot enough is to add one or two seeds in hot oil and if the seeds sizzle or pop up right away, the oil is ready. After the seeds sizzle, start adding the other spices.