there’s something Indian restaurants do that I learnt from an Indian restaurant cookbook that I now do in all my cooking. it improves almost every chili-like, curry-like meal. you know that class of foods that’s like…bolognese, curry, chili, they’re all a kind of thing, right? anyway, it’s the early spice frying stage, the tarka.
- you make a spice mix for the food, (I’m doing this with a chili right now)
- you add a little water to make that mix into a paste.
- you heat your fat up in a big pot (medium high), and when it’s ready you throw the spice paste directly into the fat
- you stir fry that for about 10-20 seconds
- add a bunch of finely diced onions and turn the heat all the way down and stir fry for like 8 minutes until they are soft and golden and beautiful
usually if you’re using seeds like cumin or fennel, you’ll put those in first, then your minced garlic, then the rest of the spices. if you’re using herbs you’ll need to take one of two measures to make sure they don’t burn, either:
- grind them up first into a fine powder and combine them into the paste, or
- add them to the onions once you’ve lowering the heat and are stir frying
anyway, this will flavour the food from the inside out and it’ll blow your tiny mind every time. remember that shaoxing rice wine is good in any cuisine, and soy sauce is salt.