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Basic Indian cooking question


khana_hai
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Guys

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?

Thanks

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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.

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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

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  • 4 months later...
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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 (log)
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