Each of us have a unique style and distinctive methods of cooking, we have our own approach to make a specific dish. We tend to cater to the needs and liking of our family members, while some like their food robust and spicy, crispy and crunchy, others might like their food rather simple, subtly spiced, just about cooked, with not too much oil. Here are popular cooking techniques we can use in our kitchens, that result in different textures of our food and flavours vary accordingly.
Various cooking techniques use different equipments and tools to achieve the desired textures and flavours.
These cooking techniques are used in different regions of our country, like the popular, dum technique used to make dum biryanis from Lucknow and Hyderabad, tandoori technique used across the North of India, talna or the deep fry technique used all over the country to make pakoras, bhajiyas, koftas, vadas.
Tawa cooking is one where the food is tossed and stir fried on tawa, and cooking on the cast iron tawa lends a lovely rustic flavour to your dish.
Steam cooking is popular in many states, steaming Gujarati dhoklas, South Indian idlis, and momos from east India. Maharashtrian cuisine too uses steam cooking technique for their traditional mithai - modak.
Here are a list of techniques along with recipes that you can try in your kitchen, and put out a lavish spread for your family. Although each of these cooking techniques have unique characteristics, ensure you eat healthy and mindfully.
1. Dum Cooking Technique
Dum cooking is that technique used, where the ingredients of the dish are partially pre cooked and the whole dish is then brought together and slow cooked on "dum". The utensil in which it is cooked, is often sealed with dough, and a pan of hot water in placed on the lid. This helps in applying pressure on the lid, ensuring the steam doesn't escape, and secondly the hot water in the pan adds to the heat from above the vessel.
The steam trapped inside the utensil helps in completely cooking the dish through and bringing the flavours together.
2. Tandoori Cooking Technique
A popular cooking technique across India, is tandoori. Tandoor is a clay oven, often used in dhabas and restaurants, that appear to look like huge drums, laiden with firm clay on the inside, and the tandoor is lit with charcoal on the inside which cooks all that goes into the this tandoor also known as a clay oven.
A kind of barbeque, this cooking technique can be used to make appetizers and Indian breads too. Crispy and roasted on the outside and soft on the inside is what the texture of tandoori dishes is.
At home though instead of a clay oven, you can use the Coal Smoking Method to get the tandoori taste and flavour in your dishes. Smoking food at home, using hot charcoal is a super easy method to achieve the tandoori effect right in your own kitchen. This method lends that smoky flavour usually obtained by cooking in a tandoor, with as little as a piece of coal. Using this technique of coal smoking, you will get the taste and aroma that the food has just come out of the barbecue grill or a tandoor, without the hassle of firing up a tandoor or barbecue at home. You can do this right on your stove top. Read this article on how you can smoke your food at home to get the tandoori flavor
Dishes like paneer, chicken, mutton and vegetables are pre marinated and put on metal skewers, and these skewers are placed in the tandoors. While Indian breads like rotis, naans, kulchas are flattened to their desired shapes and thickness, and these are pasted on the walls of the tandoor with water.
3. Talna Cooking Technique
Talna technique or deep frying is by far the most favourite of all Indians. Deep frying appetizers and snacks like samosas, kachoris, pakoras & bhajiyas to Indian desserts like malpua, gulab jamun and jalebis. There's something about those dishes, where the batter/ dough when dropped in a pool of hot oil or ghee leaves you with a crispy outer and a soft well cooked insides of the dish.
Main course dishes like kofta too require deep frying.
4. Tawa Cooking Technique
Tawa cooking is that where quick stir fry dishes are made on the essential tool in all Indian households called the tawa or a griddle. From making simple phulkas to tawa parathas, pav bhajis and tawa pulao and fish fry. Cutlets are yet another dish that are shallow fried on the tawa.
Cooking dishes on the traditional cast iron tawa lend the dish a unique taste.
5. Steaming Cooking Technique
A super healthy cooking technique is this where the dishes are steamed. This technique uses absolutely no grease like that of oil or ghee required for thee other cooking techniques. Dishes like dhoklas, idlis, modak, momos are steamed in a pot that gives us the dishes a super soft texture.
Steaming vegetables is also a good idea, as it keeps the nutrition intact.