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Old 12-30-2008, 08:56 AM   #1
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Indian cooking and oil

I got an amazing Indian cookbook for my birthday and I've been trying everything -- I even ordered all the spices to do it. These recipes represent the whole of India and most of the curry recipes use copious amounts of vegetable oil; for example, the Sambar curry I made this evening uses 1.5 cups of vegetable oil. I can't bring myself to use that much and at most I'll use 1/3 of a cup. The oil is always flavored by cooking said spices in it BEFORE adding anything else, and so here's my question:

Do you think that using less oil extracts less flavor from the spices?

I'm asking because the dish I used tonight had a lot of Hing, a very odorous spice, but I couldn't detect it in the curry.

BTW, if anyone can recommend a good site that deal with Indian cooking, I'd appreciate it.

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Old 12-30-2008, 09:36 AM   #2
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Hi whole milk I am not sure what cook book this is and why it's asking you to use so much oil. The amounts you have posted do seem outrageous. I am Indian and cook Indian food and I use much much less oil.

You can use for example use 2 tbsp in sambar and that's enough to temper the whole spices. You can use approx 1 to 2 tbsp in almost everything. Also the key is to heat the oil until it smokes, then reduce it and then put the whole spices so they really get a chance to temper in the hot oil and you need less oil.

Finally you can also use any type of oil not just vegetable oil as the recipe says. I normally use only olive oil in curries and canola oil for any fried recipes like samosas. The spices used in Indian food are so strong that you cannot really taste the flavor of the oil that's used to cook it.

I don't know any good Indian sites on Indian cooking but I my favorite book on Indian food is the one by Charmain Solomon called the complete asian cookbook. She is not a native of India but I love the authencity of the recipes in her book. I also like Madhur Jaffrey, her recipes are from the western part of India (gujarat) and I like that type of food.
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Old 12-30-2008, 10:05 AM   #3
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Thank you very much for the info!

I live in Japan and the book is written in Japanese for Japanese, if that explains the amount of oil, or not, I don't know, but I'm really glad it's not the norm.

BTW, do you know how to make Pav Bhaji Masala? I want to try Aloo Paratha but the recipe says to use a mix and there are none here; I haven't been able to find one on the Net, either.

I'll look up the authors you recommended.

Thanks a lot,
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Old 12-30-2008, 11:05 AM   #4
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Hi wholemilk, you don't need pav bhaji masala for aloo paratha. You can make it with whatever spices you have handy. Here is how I make it:

- Make the dough - Just some wheat flour, salt and water and knead it until it's nice and soft. Let it rest for atleast an hour

For the potato filling:

Boil 4 large potatoes until tender, peel and mash and keep on the side.
Make a spice blend as follows - Some cumin seeds about 2 tsps, some corrainder seeds about 2 tsps, dry roast on a skillet and powder
1 green chili finely chopped
1/4 inch ginger grated
salt to taste
1/2 tsp of turmeric powder
Add 1 tbsp of oil to a pan, when it's hot, add the green chili, ginger and spice mix along with turmeric, let it saute for a minute until the raw taste of the spices go away. Now pour the hot oil (spices and all) into the mashed potatoes. Add salt, some lime juice and freshly chopped cilantro to the potatoes, mix it all together.

Now roll the dough, put a little mashed potato mixture in the middle. Cover with the dough into a ball, roll like a small pan cake and roast in a griddle on both sides. Enjoy with some plain yogurt.
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Old 12-30-2008, 05:47 PM   #5
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Thank you much Yakuta.

I'm going to be making this this weekend.
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Old 12-30-2008, 06:15 PM   #6
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Here (Manjula's Kitchen)is a video demonstration of parathas that I found very helpful. Yakuta posted another paratha recipe (here) too.
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Old 12-30-2008, 07:14 PM   #7
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Thank you VERY much, I've been looking for a site like that for a few months. When I've searched for websites on Indian cooking I get millions of hits and it's difficult, for me, to sort out the wheat from the chaff, if you know what I mean.

Cheers,
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Old 12-30-2008, 07:30 PM   #8
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It would depend what part of India you are talking about. There are several cuisines in India.
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Old 12-31-2008, 08:25 AM   #9
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First you decide whether you will like veg or non veg.

If you like veg then North Indian & South Indian cuisine good, if you prefer fish then try Bengali cuisine and if meat then try Moglai.
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Old 01-02-2009, 01:49 PM   #10
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