Indian Food Components: A Brief Overture

July 18, 2013

If you can say that you’ve never tried genuine Indian food, you are letting yourself miss a flavourful, different type food with a host of local distinctive versions that might or might not be spicy. There is a broad assortment of foods for vegetarians so this is a preferred type of cuisine for people who don’t like meats. It is quite simple to prepare, but you have to have certain components. If you find yourself in an Indian restaurant, or if you want to prepare Indian food at home, it’s wise to have a basic understanding of the ingredients. That said, we are offering up a list of widely used ingredients for Indian cooking and how they are used.

Atta flour: A flour made from whole wheat that’s used to make classic Indian flat breads. It’s also known as chapati flour.

Banana leaves: This is widely used to wrap uncooked food. Delicate food such as fish is great for wrapping in banana leaves. Before using, banana leaves are soaked briefly in hot water to make them flexible.

Basmasti rice: A fragrant and delicious long-grain rice that’s grown in the foothills of the Himalayas. The smell and taste is great. Numerous Indian cooks rinse and also soak the basmati rice in water for approximately 10 minutes, then proceed to cook it.

Besan: This component is prepared from chickpeas (ground); it is also known as gram flour. Besan is a flavouring ingredient and is also a thickener for curries and used to make pakoras which is a kind of pungent batter coated, fried veggie dish available in bona fide Indian food. Bhoondi are small sized fried besan balls.

Biriyani: An oven-cooked dish made with rice, vegetables, and meat or seafood. This dish is made with a special made spice called biriyani masala. It is prepared using cardamom seeds (ground), fennel seeds, and also cinnamon seeds.

Chana dal: A small bean that resembles yellow split peas but is quite different. Chana dal, with its nutty, sweet flavour will turn out nicely when boiled. You can use it for preparation of besan by splitting a small-sized relative of chickpes in half. In southern India, chana dal is used as a spice.

Chapati: Made on a round cast iron griddle (tawa), chapati is a flat bread that’s cooked over very high heat without fat of any sort.

Coconut: An indispensible element in a great number of India foods; this ingredient is utilized in not only sweet, but pungent dishes.Desiccated type coconut can be added to sauces to thicken them. Coconut oil is an excellent choice for cooking and frying because it remains stable at high temperatures.

Dal: Lentils, beans or split peas that are dried and skinned. Water rinsing should be done in advance of cooking these because pre-soaking will ensure shorter cooking time. Masoor dal are skinned split orange lentils. Mung beans that have been skinned and also split are moong dal. Toor dal split pea has a dark yellowish colour and it closely resembles the chana dal.

Dosa/Dosha: This flat bread is comprised of wheat, rice, legume and flour. It’s cooked like a pancake and may be filled with a spicy mixture.

Garam masala: A blend of spices that is used in savoury dishes.

Ghee: This is made when you melt whole butter, then divide the solids and fat. The preference for ghee preparation is unsalted butter. Savoury foods like curries can use this ingredient for richer flavour. Ghee stabilizes at heated temperatures just like coconut oil. Refrigerator storing is not a requirement.

Jaggery: A style of sugar which is raw, but you eat it without cooking it; plus, you can use it to enhance the flavour of a number of dishes like veggie curries.

Kalonju: Also called nigella, these are small black tear-shaped onion seeds that are used to add another dimension of flavour to breads and curries.

Kewra water: Its nice aroma makes it ideal for seasoning various dishes.

Lassi: This drink is prepared from yoghurt and can have ingredients like mango and other fruits.

Mint: A particular herb used abundantly in. Indian mint has a more pungent aroma and stronger flavour than what’s found in Western countries.

Mustard oil: Oil that is yellow in colour and comes out of mustard seeds. If you heat it, it has a sweet flavour; but its spicy if it is raw.

Naan: Bread prepared from using dough that is leavened. Naan dough is stretched by tossing and formed into an oval flat bread. Traditionally cooked naan bread is baked on a tandoor oven’s walls, oil or ghee is brushed on and then it’s served really warm or hot.

Panch phoran: A spice combination of mustard seeds, cumin seeds, anise, onion seeds and fenugreek seeds.

Paratha: A kind of bread which is more flavourful than chapatti bread. One cooks it in ghee on a griddle ‘til it becomes crisp. This is really thin bread.

Poori: Bread cooked in hot oil and when it puffs, it is done.

Poppadums/Pappads: Flat breads that are made from legume flour and rice flour. You will want them crisp when you serve them; so fry them in heated oil. You can use a blend of seasoning spices or eat them plain. In order to cook them low-fat style, set them under a broiler.

Raita: A specially prepared yoghurt side dish.

Rattam-jog: Bark which is dried and can be found in reed-like plants. Moreover it is used as a foot colour. If it is cooked, your food will turn a deep red colour.

Roti: Bread made using sorghum, whole wheat or millet.

Sambal: A nice assortment of spices made for veggie curries.

Tamarind: A well-known souring element which can be found inside pods which are dried out and rendered seedless. Before cooking, the flesh is soaked in water. You can squeeze out the juice (tamarind water) and put it in curries. The flesh, in addition, may be ground up with particular spices. Typically you can find Tamarind concentrate in grocery stores.

Tawa: A cast iron style flat pan which is made for bread making.

Uppama: Flat bread that has semolina as opposed to flour in the dough. It has a lot of savour and is easily prepared with various spices and veggies including onion.

Vindaloo: A piquant, fiery type of curry.

Wheat flour: Flour prepared using finely ground whole wheat that doesn’t have much gluten. Great for bread making. Pastry flour (whole wheat) works nicely as an alternative.

Real Indian food is thoughtful and well-prepared. Shouldn’t you try Indian food pronto?

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