dimanche, février 11, 2007

Post-Brussels & Indian Cooking

Well, I'm back from Brussels. I'm not posting much in the way of details of my trip, although I will post some lovely pictures in a day or two. What I can say about the trip is that I ate a lot of amazing moules frites (steamed mussels with fries) and fantastic Belgian beer (especially the Trappist stuff).

In the place of a review of my Brussels trip, here's a list of things I've discovered about cooking Indian food over the past few weeks:

  • Tomatoes and Onions go into everything. The base for all currys that I've made is a bed of finely chopped onions, fried until golden and sweet, and then mixed with finely chopped tomatoes until both reduce to a mush. Not only does this give great flavor, but it also provides a thickening base for the dish.
  • Garlic and Ginger in great amounts. Equal amounts of crushed/chopped garlic and ginger always go in after onions and tomatoes, and before the dry spices. The smell of this combination as it cooks is instantly recognizable.
  • Simmer down, add water, simmer down. Instead of adding a ton of water and walking away, add only enough liquid to cover the food. Simmer and stir until the liquid is nearly gone, and then add another cup or so of water. Keep going until everything is thick and saucy. Something about this technique seems to help create thick sauces.
  • Always more butter. Seriously. The more butter you can include, the better. Start the onions and tomatoes in clarified butter (ghee). When you add the spices, add some butter as well. When you think your sauce is just thick enough and you're going to remove it from the oven, fold in some more butter and stir. Or you can just pour a ladleful of melted butter if you've got that handy. Butter butter butter.

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