Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Smoking in Indian Cuisine


Recommended Posts

Hi,

Some of the most memorable dishes I have eaten in Indian restaurants had a smokey flavour to it. I can still almost taste the mixed dal I ate in a small restaurant in Edinburgh, the aloo gobhi and a mushroom rice here in Dublin , the smokiness enhancing their flavour superbly. I know that they must be using their tandoor to get that flavour, but is there any way to recreate it at home? I neither have a tandoor nor a BBQ, so I was delighted when Sanjeev Kapoor showed a way to cook 'Dhungar Dal' on Khana Khazana. The results were quite disappointing - there was no smoke flavour at all. These are the things I have tried:

- Cook dal, place a piece of foil on top. Now put a piece of live coal on the foil and pour a few drops of ghee onto the coal. Cover tightly and allow to smoke for a few minutes. This is Sanjeev Kapoor's trick, but it didn't work for me.

- I roasted the uncooked dal, even burnt it a bit on purpose, and then cooked it. This tasted burnt (and why wouldn't it? :laugh: ) rather than smoked.

- I added liquid smoke to my aloo gobhi, but the flavour of the liquid smoke goes better with Western dishes, definitely not with Aloo gobhi.

- My bharthas and naans are good enough because I char them over the gas fire. And as I write that it occurs to me that perhaps I could char the aloo/gobhi a bit too. But how do I do the dal?

Suman

Link to post
Share on other sites

The Dhungar method works everytime, perhaps you didnt have enough air space in the pot to supply some oxygen. Try it again, I am sure it works, I have used it on Biryanis, Curries, Raans and Tandoori Chicken.

Though for the last few years I have been using a different contraption using a disused Pressure cooker.

I fry by the heat of my pans. ~ Suresh Hinduja

http://www.gourmetindia.com

Link to post
Share on other sites

The neatest smoked food trick I've seen in Indian food is smoked buttermilk or lassi. Rajdhani, the Gujju thali place near Crawford market does this as an extra to the main thali - you have to ask for masala chhas.

Its quite a production. They bring a brass tray with a few smoking coals on it, then in front of you add some ghee on the coals and then a few spices, I forget which. Then as the ghee is spluttering and the spices start smoking, they quickly put a stainless steel tumbler over the coals to trap the smoke.

Then after a minute or less they take the tumbler out and VERY quickly before the smoke trapped inside has a chance to escape they pour in the buttermilk, swirling it around so it captures the smoke. And it really does taste smokey, its quite something. I've never seen this done anywhere else.

- I roasted the uncooked dal, even burnt it a bit on purpose, and then cooked it. This tasted burnt (and why wouldn't it?  ) rather than smoked.

This works very well with skinned mung dhal. In a Taste of India Madhur Jaffrey has an excellent Bengali recipe for roasted skinned mung dhal with spinach, where the roasting gives the dhal a wonderful rounded taste.

Vikram

Link to post
Share on other sites

The Black Dal ( Maa ki Dal ) most restaurants serve gets its smokey flavor from the tandoor. Presoaked is left on the the tandoor for the duration of the night. In the morning the dal is cooked. The pot is transfered to a stove, seasonings etc addded and it is cooked till done.

The smokey flavor in the bharta is also from char broiling the eggplant in the tandoor.

Then again some dal tarka and other dishes appear smokey becauce at some stage the cook actually sets the pan affire for a minute, I don't think this is intentionally done though, while some consider the flavor thus obtained uniquely restaurant fare some pleople don't like it.

The way you described the smoking of your dal, Rajsuman, I think it did not work as with the foil covering the dal no smoke came in contact with it. If you poke a few holes in the foil it might work.

Or take a pot and place a katori in the at the bottom. Pour your dal into the pot making sure the level remains below the edge of the katori. Place a burning coal in the katori pour your ghee on top and a few spices like clove, cardamon, cinamon etc and place a lid on top of the pot. No peeking! as the smoke will escape, let the pot remain covered for a while. Remove katori with coal.

See if that works.

Bombay Curry Company

3110 Mount Vernon Avenue, Alexandria, VA 22305. 703. 836-6363

Delhi Club

Arlington, Virginia

Link to post
Share on other sites
Though for the last few years I have been using a different contraption using a disused Pressure cooker.

Hello Episure,

Could you please elaborate? You've got me curious as a cat!

Suman

Edited by rajsuman (log)
Link to post
Share on other sites

In his book 'The Bombay Brasserie' , Chef Udit Sarkhel suggests a way to recreate a tandoor at home. It involves getting your oven very hot, putting live coals in a roasting tin and placing the tin in the oven. I haven't mustered enough courage to try it yet. I've read of cases where people roll tins (with food inside)over gas fires to recreate the tandoor effect.

Suman

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 1 year later...
If hickory smoke can be distilled, I'm sure ghee smoke can be distilled as well.  I'm surprised no one has come along and bottled liquid ghee smoke.  I think 'tandoori' in a bottle would have quite the following.

I'd be the first one to buy it. Hmmm.., quite a few innovative ideas floating around on eGullet - I like the irecipes idea too (over on the cooking forum) - now all we need is some entrepreneur to get into action.

P.S. There is also something called Charcoal Seasoning at the American Spice co., but the list of ingredients scares me.

Link to post
Share on other sites
It's a little complicated, I'll PM it to you tomorrow.

Episureji, just to jog your memory a wee bit, 'tomorrow' never came. Would you be kind enough to share the details?

Please......pretty please...... :wub:

Suman

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Similar Content

    • By Sheel
      Prawn Balchao is a very famous Goan pickle that has a sweet, spicy and tangy flavor to it. 
      For the balchao paste you will need:
      > 8-10 kashmiri red chillies
      > 4-5 Byadagi red chillies
      > 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
      > 1/2 tsk turmeric powder 
      > 1 tsp peppercorn
      > 6 garlic cloves
      > 1/2 tsp cloves
      > 1 inch cinnamon stick
      > Vinegar 
      First you will need to marinate about 250 grams of prawns in some turmeric powder and salt. After 15 minutes deep fry them in oil till them become golden n crisp. Set them aside and add tsp vinegar to them and let it sit for 1 hour. Now, make a paste of all the ingredients mentioned under the balchao paste and make sure not to add any water. In the same pan used for fryin the prawns, add in some chopped garlic and ginger. Lightly fry them and immediately add one whole chopped onion. Next, add the balchao paste amd let it cook for 2-3 minutes. Add in the prawns and cook until the gravy thickens. Finally add 1 tsp sugar and salt according to your taste. Allow it to cool. This can be stored in a glass jar. Let this mature for 1-3 weeks before its use. Make sure never to use water at any stage. This can be enjoyed with a simple lentil curry and rice.
    • By Deeps
      This is one of my daughter favorite dishes, being mild and less spicy she loves this rice dish.  Its super easy to make and goes well with most Indian curries.
      Do try this out and I am sure you will be happy with the results.
       

       
      Prep Time : 5 mins
      Cook Time: 5 mins
      Serves: 2
       
      Ingredients:
      1 cup rice(basmati), cooked
      1/2 cup coconut, shredded or grated
      1 green chili, slit
      1 dried red chili
      1 1/2 tablespoon oil/ghee(clarified butter)
      1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
      1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
      1/2 tablespoon chana dal(split chickpeas)
      1/2 tablespoon urad dal(split black gram)
      1 teaspoon ginger, finely chopped
      A pinch of hing (asafoetida)
      Few curry leaves
      Salt to taste
       
      Directions
      1) Heat oil/ghee(clarified butter) in a pan in medium flame. I used coconut oil here because it tastes best for this dish.
      2) Add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, chana dal(split chickpeas), urad dal(split black gram), green chili, dried red chili, ginger and curry leaves. Fry this for 30 seconds in medium flame. The trick is to ensure that these are fried but not burned.
      3) Add a pinch of hing(asafoetida) and mix well.
      4) Now add the cooked rice and coconut. Stir well for about 15 to 20 seconds and switch off the flame.
      5) Finally add salt into this and mix well. You could add peanuts or cashew nuts if you prefer. Goes well with most curries.
    • By loki
      Sour Tomatillo Achar

      Made this one up from a recipe for lemons. It really works for tomatilloes. A unique spice mix, and really sour for a 'different' type of pickle, or achar. It is based on a Marwari recipe - from the arid north-western part of India. Tomatilloes are not used in India (or at least not much) but are quite productive plants in my garden while lemons or other sour fruits are not possible to grow here. No vinegar or lemon juice is used, because tomatilloes are very acidic and don't need any extra.

      Ingredients
      3 lbs tomatilloes husks removed and quartered
      1/4 cup salt
      1 Tbs black mustard seeds
      2 star anise buds
      10 dried chilies (I used very hot yellow peppers)
      1 tsp fenugreek seeds
      2 inch ginger (ground to a paste)
      2 TBL dark brown sugar
      1/2 cup sugar

      1. In a large bowl, put the tomatilloes and sprinkle salt over them. Cover it and leave for a day, mixing occasionally.

      2. Next day drain the tomatilloes.

      3. Dry roast the star anise (put in first as these take longer, the black mustard, and the chilie pods (add last and barely brown in places). Cool.

      4. Grind the roasted spices with the fenugreek and put aside.

      5. Add tomatilloes, ginger, sugars, and everything else to a large pan and heat to boiling.

      6. Cook till fully hot and boiling.

      7. Fill half-pint jars and seal.
    • By loki
      Sweet Eggplant Pickle

      This is an Indian pickle, some would call a chutney, that I made up from several sources and my own tastes. It is based it on my favorite sweet brinjal (eggplant here in the US) pickle available commercially. It has onion and garlic, which are often omitted in some recipes due to dietary restrictions of some religious orders. It also has dates which I added on my own based on another pickle I love. I also used olive oil as mustard oil is not available and I like it's taste in these pickles. Use other oils if you like. This has more spices than the commercial type - and I think it's superior. I avoided black mustard seed, fenugreek, and cumin because almost all other pickles use these and they start to taste the same. One recipe from Andhra Pradesh used neither and I followed it a little. It's wonderful with all sorts of Indian foods - and also used for many other dishes, especially appetizers.
      SPICE MIX (Masala)
      4 Tbs coriander seeds
      3 hot chilies (I used a very hot Habanero type, so use more if you use others)
      18 cardamom pods
      2 inches cinnamon
      24 cloves
      1 1/2 Tbs peppercorns
      MAIN INGREDIENTS
      1 cups olive oil
      4 inches fresh ginger, minced fine, about 1/2 cup
      6 cloves garlic, minced
      1 large onion finely chopped
      3 lb eggplant, diced, 1/4 inch cubes
      1/2 lb chopped dates
      1 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
      2 cups rice vinegar (4.3 percent acidity or more)
      2 cups brown sugar
      2 Tbs salt
      2 tsp citric acid
      Spice Mix (Masala)

      1. Dry roast half the coriander seeds in a pan till they begin to brown slightly and become fragrant - do not burn. Cool.

      2. Put roasted and raw coriander seeds and all the other spices in a spice mill and grind till quite fine, or use a mortar and pestle. Put aside.

      Main Pickle

      1. Heat half the oil and fry ginger till slightly browned, slowly.

      2. Add garlic, onion, and half the salt and fry slowly till these begin to brown a bit too.

      3. Add eggplant, turmeric, and spice mix (Masala) and combine well. Fry for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

      4. Add rest of ingredients, including rest of the salt and olive oil and heat slowly to a boil.

      5. Boil for about 5 minutes. Add a little water if too thick - it should be nearly covered with liquid, but not quite - it will thin upon cooking so wait to add the water till heated through.

      6. Bottle in sterilized jars and seal according to your local pickling instructions. This recipe will be sufficiently acidic.
    • By rxrfrx
      South Indian Style Broccoli
      Serves 2 as Main Dish.
      Broccoli isn't a traditional Indian vegetable, but I designed this recipe to use up leftover boiled broccoli in the style of cauliflower.

      3 c broccoli, cut up and cooked
      3 T oil
      2 T cumin seeds
      2 tsp tumeric
      2 tsp corriander powder
      2 green chilis, sliced thinly
      1/2 c chopped cilantro
      salt, to taste

      Fry the spices in the oil until they smoke a little. Add the broccoli and chilis and fry for a couple minutes to get the flavors mixed. Add salt to taste and stir in the cilantro before serving with chapati.
      Bonus recipe: just before adding the cilantro, crack 2-4 eggs into the pan and stir them around.
      Keywords: Main Dish, Side, Easy, Vegan, Vegetables, Indian
      ( RG2107 )
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...