1. Baqhar/Tadka/Chonk (Instant seasonings/Tempering)
Garnishing with oil. variously called tadka, chhonk, phodni, taalichal. Cook-books agree that this everyday Irtdian technique is not used anywhere else in the world^ Oil or ghQe is heated until it is short of smoking hot. Whole spices or chopped ginger/garlic are dropped in, which promptly swell, pop or darken, releasing their 'browned' taste into the oil. This seasoned oil. with all its spices, is poured over cooked vegetables, pulses, salads or curds or else cooked with raw food.
The goal of this technique is to add flavor to a dish in a flash. Spices and herbs are added to hot oil/ghee. Hot oil extracts and retains the aroma, essence and flavor of the spices and herbs.
This tempering is done in two ways.
As the first step in the cooking process, before adding the rice, vegetables or lentils.
Pouring the tempered oil over dal. Spices and herbs cooked this way retain and enhance their flavors.
A common recipe for baghar is to add either cumin or mustard seeds in hot oil and let them sizzle for a few seconds then add a pinch of asafetida and red chili powder. Uses - Pour over cooked lentils that have already been boiled with ginger and turmeric, over steamed vegetables and over yogurt raitas and rice. Also known as tadka or chonk.
2. Do-Piaza (Cooking with Onions)
There are 2 theories for the origin of this method.
Akbar the Great - India's great Mughal ruler liked to surround himself with the most talented people. He called them his 9 Gems. Mullah Do-Piaza, the legendary cook was one of them. He created a style of his own and items cooked in this style are called Do Piazza.
The other is cooking with 2 (Do) Onions (piaz).
Potatoes and meats are cooked generally with 2 onions, yogurt and spices. Tomatoes are generally not added in this method of cooking.
The concept of handi cooking is as old as 600 to 700 years and has been passed from generation to generation in India. Handi originally meant an earthen round pot in which cooking of curries takes place on slow fire. The most important aspects of handi cooking are 'Bhunao' and 'Dum'. meaning 'Roasting' and 'Maturing' Prepared dish. Handi cooking style had been adopted for preservation of natural characteristics of vegetables, herbs, spices where aroma, flavour and above all taste is naturally preserved to its maximum.
Handi is an Indian pot that has a.bottom like a wok and then has a narrow opening on the top Slow cooking in steam or in seasoned moist flavorings are its special attributes.
4. Bhunao (Curry)
This is Indian curry cooking Oil is added to a wok or pan. To this chopped onion and cumin are added. After the Onions are browned then the destred herbs, spices.are added (tomatoes may also be added). Small quantities of water, yogurt, and stock are introduced to the pan if and when the ingredients start to stick. After the oil separates from the mixture, the main ingredient (meat or vegetable) is added and cooked
5. Dum (Steaming)
This process reflects the ingenuity of the Indian chefs. They virtually created a baking" oven and a pressure cooker with very simple ideas. Food was partially cooked before hand. They then put this in a pot and sealed the cover with atta (dough) to capture the moisture within the food as it cooked tenderly and slowly over a charcoal fire. Coals were also placed on the lid to ensure even cooking.
They then added their main ingredients like rice or vegetables or meats or all three with spices, herbs, seasonings, saffron, tomato and let the food continue to cook in its own steam. The entire dish retained all its flavor and aroma and the slow cooking created perfect foods fit for their emperors and kings and rajahs. The Indian Biryani is one of the most popular dum dishes.
6. Balchao (Pickling)
A Goan specialty, influenced by the Portuguese, where vegetables like eggplant or seafood like prawns are "pickled" in sugar, vinegar and spices for a day or two before eating.
7. Dhuanaar (Smoke Seasoning)
Glowing charcoal is placed in a small pot, which is then put in a bigger pot. Cooked meats are placed around this.
Dry spices and ghee are poure don top of the coals and a lid is quickly placed over the larger pot.
The meat imbibes the fresh smoke taste of ghee and cumin. Very
popular in the cold months in North India especially in the desert areas.
8. Kadhai cooking
This is a wok. Usually the kadhai. in which the food is cooked, is placed directly on the table, where everyone eats out of it. Kadhai cooking is quick and no water is used in this style of cooking. The main ingredients cook in the natural juices released by the tomatoes and meat in the dish, which is constantly stirred until cooked. The main aspect of this cooking is that the sides get seared and this wonderful flavor is scraped and added to the taste of the dish..
9. Talna (Frying)