Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Stewing or braising versus baking or serving with a sauce

One thing I noticed when I worked in restaurants or cafeterias in America was that chefs would often sauté a boneless breast of chicken and pour different kinds of sauces over it for a variety of dishes, e.g., chicken piccata. And, of course, I found baking and roasting as two of the most common cooking methods. As opposed to these methods, the Indian way of cooking mostly involves braising or stewing. In other words, the main ingredient (e.g., fish) would be first fried and set aside. Then spices would be sautéed and water added. Once the liquid starts boiling, the fish or vegetables would be added for a simmer. The cooking is done when the meat or vegetables have become tender and the liquid (or gravy) has thickened a bit.

Does anyone think otherwise? Comments welcome.


jim said...

Angshuman, I live in Chicago and enjoy eating and cooking Indian food. Most recipes for meat dishes in cookbooks I have recommend using a pressure cooker to cut down on the cooking time. Is using a pressure cooker common in India? Jim (www.theitaliancellar.blogspot.com)

Angshuman said...

Yes, Jim. A pressure cooker is indeed very common in India. But you can do without it; it just takes longer to cook the food. So, if you are looking to cut the time and the fuel consumed -- or to follow the recipe faithfully -- go for a pressure cooker.

I would suggest you look in Indian-owned stores. If you can't get one in your country, ask an Indian friend or someone travelling to India to get one for you.

Hope this helps.