This cooking technique is the most common and is used to add a deep flavor of spice to a dish. The tempering process involves making spices flourish in hot ghee to add a wonderful, deep flavor to foods. This technique is used to improve the flavor of vegetables, daals, chutnes, raita and other dishes; the timing depends on the type of dish. For example, for vegetable dishes, tadka is made at the beginning, while with daal, it is added on top at the end.
Dum means “breathe” and is an Indian method of steaming by closing a round pot with a thick bottom with a lid and cooking slowly over low heat. In this technique, food is cooked under its own steam and slow roasting allows spices and herbs to release all their flavor on the plate. In the Indian method of frying, fresh oil or ghee is used each time (it is not saved) and foods are fried in small batches with just 1 to 2 inches of oil, enough to submerge the food. Frying, boiling, sautéing and grilling are some of the most popular methods used to cook food.
Indian cuisine uses all of the above methods and more. The difference lies in how the techniques are applied during the cooking process. My goal is to inspire you to cook at home by sharing easy recipes that you can quickly prepare in your instant pot (or stove). Indian cuisine isn't really that complicated, and it's incredibly indulgent for beginning Indian chefs, as the use of spices makes every dish delicious.
Although many cooks describe it as steamed, cooking dum is different from steaming, which in local languages is called bhaapa. Nowadays, modern households use the oven grill or barbecue grill to cook food and reproduce the tandoori cooking style. A tandoor is a clay oven from North India used to cook naan or meat marinated with hot charcoal. In this North Indian technique, a small bowl with a piece of burning charcoal is placed inside a larger container on top of the food being cooked.
For example, the stir-fry cooking method is used in almost every kitchen, including Indian home cooking. This method, which is more than 200 years old, allows certain meats to be cooked in their own juices and remain tender. It is not the most recommended or used method for cooking Indian food, since it tends to reduce the flavor of ingredients, especially spices, and loses nutrients. The next step is to add some form of protein or vegetable and continue with the sautéing process and finally cook it on low heat or boiling.
As I mentioned, cooking rum can take hours, to reduce cooking time, pressure cookers such as Instant Pot are often used to reproduce the dish. The difference is that sautéing in Indian cuisine consists of simmering with the addition of a splash of water from time to time to prevent the spices or base sauce from burning. Dum cooking is the technique used, in which the ingredients of the dish are partially pre-cooked and then the whole dish is put together and simmered over rum. A popular cooking method used especially for cooking Indian food, usually as a first step in adding flavor to oil, mixing spices, or as a last cooking step to add extra flavor to dishes as a finishing touch.
There are a handful of different methods that each type of cuisine adopts to produce the foods they are famous for, and Indian cuisine is certainly no exception to this rule.