We’ve all been there, both when we didn’t know better and when we should have known better. They’re the minor errors that don’t appear to be a significant concern at the moment, but when it’s time to eat, they make themselves known.
These are just that, and while some of you may find them to be relatively simple, our aim is that it will be of some use to you if you are reading this. So without further ado, here is our essential guide to Pakistani cooking.
Tip #1 Know When to Cut, Dice, and Slice.
For the longest time, I conducted a conventional chop, little cubes, occasionally super fine, but generally about 34 cm. While it may work with some meals, it is no longer the standard in the long run. I thinly slice onions by clipping the tops, halving them lengthwise, and then cutting them into thin vertical slices. The leaner, the better because most cuisines rely on a well-mixed onion foundation. The thicker your onion, the longer (and more oil) it will take to make Masala Magic.
Tip #2 Deciphering the Onion Cooking Code
Cooking onions is divided into four phases. In the first step, like in this white chicken curry, you sauté them until they’re slightly softened/translucent. The second and most common method is to cook them until the edges become golden brown, which most meals require. The third step occurs when the onions are completely golden brown, giving curries a richer flavor. The fourth stage is when they’ve reached that darker caramel color, essential for korma-style foods. Any more than that, and it’s inedible.
Tip #3: How Does Bhuna Masala Work?
So, now that we’ve established that you require oil, how do we go about getting it? Typically, an onion is sauteed until it is the correct color, then a little ginger garlic paste is added, followed by the dry masalas. If your oil becomes too hot, a splash of water will help to cool it down. None of these things have a robust charred flavor.
The procedure can be time-consuming, but after you’ve gotten the hang of it, I recommend doing some Masala bulk cooking. This is something my mother has always done, and I’ve written a piece about it here.
Tip #4: How Long Should Chicken Be Cooked? (Especially Boneless Chicken)
It’s difficult to cook chicken. It’s easier if you use bone-in chicken since when it’s soft, it’s done. Boneless chicken is unique, and there are three stages to the cooking process. The first is when it is just cooked through, as you would for a stir fry or even a dry karahi. The chicken is tender and flavorful (but perhaps not as good on the reheat). The chicken then gets rubbery, which is unpleasant. It’s no good stopping now; you’ll have to keep cooking at low heat until it softens up again.
Tip #5: How to Make Qeema That Tastes Good (no funky smell)
You know how you watch cooking shows, and it’s all like brown the onion (in what seems like 2 minutes) and ka-pow, done. Friends from Pakistan, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but Aaloo Qeema isn’t going to like it. There are two things you must do. One, open the bag, package, or container it came in and allow it to air out. Before cooking, you’re letting out part of that nasty odor. An excellent keema has all the flavors merged in; you don’t want it to be cooked through; you want it to be beautifully browned. As you go, add your flavor enhancers, but don’t skimp on the sauteeing.
Tip #6 Understanding Measurements.
When your mother says a teaspoon, she’s referring to a soup spoon or a “khane ka chamcha.” Your local blogger refers to a tablespoon, yet they are referring to the same spoon. The importance of context cannot be overstated. Always. Are you unsure where the person is? Ask. I constantly look back on the clarifications I didn’t get rather than the ones I did.
Tip #7: Mirch Masala necessitates.
See what I mean? What’s with the measuring thing? The majority of individuals will tell you that they season their daal with one teaspoon of salt. Try adding one level teaspoon of salt to your daal and telling me it doesn’t taste like dishwater. Spices complement each other, and salt is the glue that holds it all together and makes your cuisine sing. Are you watching your sodium intake? Finish with a squeeze of lemon juice for a comparable zing without the sodium.
Tip #8: Acquire a Basic Knowledge of Spices
Have you ever tried your spices raw? You ought to. Turmeric, coriander powder, chilli powder, and cumin powder each have a distinct function. Coriander powder is that earthy flavour that reaches you in the middle of your tongue, finishing off a curry, but too much of it might leave you feeling chalky. Turmeric adds a gentle warmth to any food, but your beautiful yellow dish will turn antibacterial if you use too much. Cumin powder is a terrific finishing touch in most meals, but it loses its heady vitality if used too soon. If you know how masalas taste, you’ll be able to figure out how and when to ‘correct’ a meal. They do, however, mellow out when cooked.
Tip #9: Knowing What Temperature to Cook at
I used to believe that “if I cook at a high temperature, it will take less time.” Wrong: You’ll end up with raw onions in the middle and too dark outside, burnt masalas, and stringy meat when you should be tenderizing it at a low simmer.
Tip #10: Keep your garnishing Raw
Consider a delicious Karahi Chicken. In essence, there’s a light yet flavorful masala that everyone tries to get their hands on, as well as tender chicken. It’s okay if you eat it as is. Add some fresh leafy cilantro, the last grind of black pepper, the aromatic green chilies, and perhaps some ginger slivers, and it’s now delicious.