I know we are in a tearing hurry. Big hurry. Everything has to be instantaneous. Everything has to be a quick fix solution. We apply that to our meals. Microwavable rice and sauce jars. Recipes within ten minutes.
But let me ask you this? Can you rush flavour?
You love the first bite of a gorgeous dish that you have prepared from scratch. Now think of yourself toiling away in the kitchen, step by step getting that gorgeous dish to its glory. The colour. The fragrance. The texture.
And. Oh! That flavour.
You can pat yourself on the back now. You did it! You made the most delicious Indian dish!
So let me say it again, you cannot rush flavour. Indian cuisine by its very core cannot be cooked in a hurry. Maybe it's cultural? Indian kitchen in the villages was the place of congregating for women who as homemakers, living in joint families had the responsibility of cooking for the entire family. Cooking with love and cooking slowly with love. If this scenario is nuclear families in the cities, women and men still cooked for their families and Indian food is still the main cuisine. Here eating habits, occupations and lifestyles come into play. Although we are exposed to a variety of global cuisines in the last couple of decades, especially in the cities and eating out or take-aways is a form of recreation, the Indian home-cooked food still is part of the daily meals and mostly its traditional form. Mostly cooked from recipes from the family cookbook or dependent on cooks who make the meals for upwardly mobile middle-class families.
So, that brings me back to Indian food and flavour. Maybe it is habitual or maybe it's something that is cultural, I have grown up eating food where the colour and texture of the dish matter and that defines how tasty it will be even before the first bite is taken. The colour depends on how much time is spending cooking the ingredients step-vice. The texture is dependent on how long the main ingredients have been left to cook in the sauce.
Bhuna. Dum. Rarra.
Each word means the dish is cooked really well and yes, effort goes into doing that. You cannot rush flavour.
Getting the technique right is all that is needed and it can seem overwhelming for beginners. But all I can say is over-simplification of cuisine is not a genuine article. It’s a half-hearted attempt and the resulting taste will never be the same.
As an Indian home cook living in the UK, I love to share my recipes and teach lovers of Indian food how to cook. To know more about my Zoom cook-along, get in touch!