We all know India is a diversified country with different kinds of food. From the north to the south of the country, the food differs as you move through the regions. The staple food in each region changes depending on the kind of the crop that grows in that region. For example, wheat is predominantly used in north India while paddy/rice is widely used in the southern parts of the country.
All south Indian cooking basically involves a technique of sautéing where spices are roasted in oil first.This is usually the basis to create many dishes, mostly vegetarian.
Dry spices are used in the process andnd every spice has an unique flavour and used mostly for a reason.
Here is how and why.
: 5 minutes
Used as a basis for many vegetarian dishes
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp turmeric powder
A pinch or drizzle of asafoetida
1 tsp black peppercorns
1 tsp fenugreek seeds
1 tsp dry red chillies
1 tsp curry leaves
1 tsp yellow lentil ( Channa Dhal)
1 tsp white lentil ( Urud Dhal)
Mustard seeds are usually added for the pungent taste and they splutter when added to the hot oil.
A spice that adds a lot of flavour and taste to any dish. It is nutritious and used mainly to aid digestion .It splutters and roasts in the hot oil.
Yellow in colour, they are added to give colour. Mainly turmeric has antiseptic properties and is widely used to clean meat.
Known as 'Urud Dhal' in India, this white lentil is added for some flavour and is nutritious.The lentil is fried in the oil until it turns golden brown.
Dry Red Chillies
Dry Red Chillies
The dry chillies are added to make the food spicy. The seeds are the main part and give a burst of flavour to the food.
Black pepper corn
Usually used for adding spice to the dish. For a different kind of flavour and texture of the dish, pepper corns are substituted for dry chillies. They are either ground or used as a whole.
Said to be a diabetics best friend , it is usually added for a flavour of sourness in the dish. It is roasted until it turns brown.
and Curry Leaves
Asafoetida and Curry Leaves
Usually available in Indian/Asian stores, this is not typically a spice but is commonly used in the sautéing process .The main reason it is used is for its digestive properties. Always used along with lentils to aid the digestion process.
A leaf that smells incredible and gives a splash of addictive flavour to the food.The fresh smelling leaves are usually added last in the process and they should not be be let to turn black.
Simply sauté and add freshly grated carrots or cucumber for a yummy tasting salad.Or add some onions to this and add any vegetable you like for a dry vegetable salad.
Use either the red chillies or the pepper and add fenugreek only if you want a sour taste to the salad/vegetables.
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