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Basic Indian cooking question


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9 replies to this topic

#1 khana_hai

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Posted 20 June 2012 - 06:59 AM


In many indian recipes I follow, you usually add the oil, jeera/rai, some initial spices like big elaichi, cardamon, etc and then add the vegetables that take longer to cook like potatoes. Now the problem is the potato gets all the flavoring and what comes next seem to lack in flavor. This seems to happen with many dishes I make. For eg I made sabudana khichdi yesterday and the potato was great but not the sabudana

I know there may be a quick fix to this by adding half spices initially and the other half in the middle. However, the flavoring is best when you add the spices directly into the oil. Does it make sense to remove part of the oil after flavoring it and add it back later?


#2 patrickamory

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Posted 20 June 2012 - 01:25 PM

Hi khana_hai,

I'm not an expert like posters Jenni or V. gautam, but usually the initial spices are meant to flavor the first ingredient more aggressively, and the latter ingredients more subtly. Subsequent spices - and their preparation - flavor the subsequent ingredients.

That said, a lot of Indian recipes specify a tadka with some or all of the initial spices added at the very end as a garnish, which gets you that fresh impact again. Often the tadka echoes the earlier spices rather than replicating them exactly - so whereas the main dish might contain ground mustard seeds, the tadka contains whole ones. And other variations.

I hope this helps.
  • bague25 likes this

#3 khana_hai

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Posted 20 June 2012 - 01:31 PM

WOW - I'm already learning something. You see me and many others simply go by recipes and never truly understand the fundamentals of cooking. In my khichdi for eg I could have done tadka of evoo, jeera powder, hing, kadipata, aamchur

Hope to see more responses

#4 pacman1978

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 01:28 PM

Isn't is called a tarka? Simplest example is a tarka dahl with lentils and then some fried spices added at the end. Happy to be corrected by someone if I'm wrong there!

#5 Hassouni

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 02:00 PM

tadka/tarka are imprecise English transcriptions of the same word

#6 Rubytree

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 04:12 AM

Hi Khana_hai,

Very few Indian preparations need a second tadka at the time of serving; in over 15 years of North Indian cooking I have only seen it in some Dals (heavy lentil curries), never in vegetable curries or other rice/khichadi etc. recipes.

If you felt that the sabudana lacked flavor it is probably because traditionally sabudana khichadi falls under the category of 'Vrat ka Khana' (food for days of religious fasting). Some Hindu fasts allow consumption of grain-free and simple foods.. hence the recipe lacks the all important powder spices that are responsible for flavor. Also is there a chance that you did not add enough oil and green chilis in the first tadka itself?

I'm thinking of popular Indian breakfast dishes - Batata Poha, Vegetable Upma and even Pulaos where the first (and only seasoning) is followed by raw vegetables that cook for up to 10 minutes and only then the main ingredient goes in.. often with powdered spices like turmeric, red chili powder and garam masala. Never felt the lack of flavor! :)

Edited by Rubytree, 11 December 2012 - 04:20 AM.

#7 sachieauckland

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Posted 05 June 2013 - 09:34 PM

No, that does not mean anything, spices are always added initially in the oil, so that the spices get immersed in the oil fully, oil is never taken out but you can pour in additionally some more oil if you feel the need to do it.

Gud luck

#8 bague25

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Posted 06 June 2013 - 12:44 AM

You've got most of your replies, but sabudana is indeed a bland food unless you really put in a lot of spices or dump it in a sauce (not the point here), it will remain bland. Maybe you could try to sprinkle on some garam masala/cilantro/lemon juice to perk it up?

#9 sweetstoyou

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Posted 26 July 2013 - 03:08 AM

Hi There,


Heres a lil solution to your prob, whenevr you are making sabudana khichdi and want to add potatoes, try to saute the diced potatoes with a pinch of salt. And then add boiled sabudana and potatoes together with the spices. And you will get an amazing sabudana khichdi.


Hope this would help


#10 alankar

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Posted 06 August 2013 - 11:31 PM

If it's first your time, then try it for second time.

It's Indian speciality to follow-up much of dishes with initial spices & I like it.

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