Techniques – #B – Bottled Tadka
Tadka causes other problems, more noticeable outside India. Members have been reporting various problems while frying spices. We were searching for a technique to minimise all these problems. Bottled tadka is the best solution we were able to come up with. We’ve learned to live with fresh tadka for so long that we don’t see its drawbacks. These are easily visible to people staying outside India.
OPOS tadka deskills the process and minimises most of these problems. Before getting into OPOS tadka, let us understand how a tadka works.
All herbs and spices derive their flavour from aromatic compounds. When you add them to food, these compounds impart their flavour to food. Some of these compounds dissolve in water. Some dissolve in oil. Those that dissolve in water can be added directly. Those that dissolve in oil need to be steeped in oil till their flavours are extracted.
Steeping spices and herbs in oil to extract their flavour is practiced in many cuisines. There are two ways to infuse an oil with flavour – hot infusion and cold infusion. The West primarily follows the cold infusion technique. Indian cuisine follows the hot infusion technique. In both types, the longer the spices are soaked in oil, the more flavourful the oil. Each cuisine infuses its favourite oil with its favourite spices and herbs. The west infuses olive oil with rosemary, tarragon, chives, dill, mint, oregano, garlic, citrus peels etc., into a range of cold oil infusions.
Indian cuisine infuses sesame/ coconut / peanut/ mustard oil / ghee with mustard seeds, cumin, curry leaves, chilies, garlic, ginger, cardamom, cloves, star anise, bay leaves, fennel, fenugreek etc., to create hot oil infusions – the Tadka.
You can safely use your own mix of spices and herbs, steeped in your favourite oil, hot or cold, and flavour your dish the way you like !
The bottled tadka is very simple. You can do it in an open pan or OPOS it. Just make a large quantity of it and bottle it. Mix with food before/ after cooking.
In an open pan: Make it as you do normally. Heat oil & add spices . Bottle it and mix it with food as and when needed