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Safety tips in Indian cooking

October 30, 2010

Hello readers! Hope you’re all having a wonderful Saturday. Here in Minneapolis, its 45 degrees F but the sun is shining brightly and it feels like a happy day!

I’ve been absconding from my food blogging duties lately owing to a very busy personal schedule. I am happy to say that everything I was busy with has progressed as planned. You can read about part of what I was busy with here.

Today, I would like to share some safety tips I followed when I first started cooking Indian food all on my own and still follow today, although it is now second nature. I spend a good 20 minutes on safety tips in my cooking classes and my students are often better off for it.

Some safety and cooking tips in Indian cooking

1. Always prepare Indian food on medium to low heat, unless specified in the recipe, and always wear an apron. As Indian cooking involves adding whole spices directly to the heat, they tend to splutter and may injure you. Cooking on medium heat minimizes accidents. Once you get comfortable cooking with Indian spices, you will get more confident and will know when to raise or lower the heat on your stove.

2. In case the oil / ghee (clarified butter) gets too hot and starts to smoke, turn off heat and allow the cooking utensil to stand for some time before beginning to cook. Also, using oils with low smoking points such as olive oil, don’t go well in Indian cooking.

3. Ghee or clarified butter, widely used in Indian cooking, has a far lower boiling point than vegetable oils. Always heat Ghee on low to medium heat and pay attention to the pot. If it begins to smoke, it is too hot.

4. Sometimes, whole spices such as cumin or mustard seeds may get burnt in oil or ghee. They will release a distinct burnt smell and look dark brown when they start to burn. Throw away the whole mixture and restart, no matter how pressed you are for time. Nothing is worse than the taste of burnt cumin seeds.

5. Always taste your dish before serving. If you feel it lacks spices, feel free to add more even after the whole dish is cooked. Mix well and allow the dish to simmer on low heat for some more time if you add more spices, to allow the flavors to infuse into the dish.

6. Lastly, if you are a novice to Indian cooking, start by adding powdered spices sparingly. Then adjust as you get a feel of how the spices taste and as you understand what your personal preferences are. Many of my students are wary of Indian cooking because they think it is too spicy. Give Indian cooking a try by using spices in smaller quantities.

What are some tips you follow when preparing food? Feel free to share in the comments below!

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. January 23, 2011 11:33 pm

    Hi Sabera,

    I LOVE your blog! These tips are so useful for a amateur cook like me! Thank you so much & u will definitely see me around your blog from now on! 🙂 Do visit my blog and give me advices! 🙂

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