When you fry spices and aromatics like garlic, ginger and onion, their flavour permeates the oil and allows it to easily be transferred to dishes. This is a common technique for chokas, dhals and curries. Most likely this came from the Indian technique of ‘tadka’ or, in English, ‘tempering’ whereby spices are roasted in oil or ghee to have their oils released. This method is also called chounk or bagar. Either way, this magical technique does not have to be limited to Indian cuisine. Chunkay can be used for pasta sauces, stews and soups, either as a cooking component or finishing oil.
#2 Spice Mixing
Most people forget that curry powder is, in reality, a combination of spices—this in itself makes it a brilliant blend of complex flavours. Throughout Indian cooking, spices are paired in both sweet and savoury dishes. Whether it be adding garam masala and fenugreek to curry for a deeper effect or, introducing cardamom into desserts, it’s no secret that Indian cuisine masterfully incorporates spice blending. Don’t be afraid to mix your own seasoning blends or, to add additional spices to pre-packaged seasonings. Also, remember, there’s more to spices in desserts than just cinnamon.
#3 Beauty of Roasting
Fire-roasting vegetables for side-dishes is a common practice in East Indian cuisine. Of course, modern times have led many people to roast in the oven or over their stovetops however, the smoky, charred effect is still there. Apart from cooking the vegetables for chokas, this method allows a different dimension of flavour and texture to be introduced to the vegetable. Roasting meat before a stew or curry also imparts a smoky flavour and crisp texture to the meat.
#4 Vegetables Can Easily Be A Meal
Most persons are used to the common formula of a meal: meat, vegetables and a carb. However, many times in Indian cuisine, vegetables and roti or dhal and rice are the only things on the plate. Indian vegetable side dishes like bhagi, fried ochro, pumpkin talkari and roasted baigan choka are commonly the main star of a dish. They are so sufficiently tasty that no other element is needed.
#5 Condiments Are Key
Condiments in Indian cuisine are carefully prepared, booming with flavour and well-balanced. From raw pommecythere chutneys to mango anchar and pickled kuchela, purposeful ingredients and time are put into making the perfect condiment for curries, pholouries and kachoris. The world of a difference is tasted when you know and can taste the care and labour of love into something as simple as a condiment.