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Forum Thread - basic curry sauce 1 " For a more professional taste, add a tsp. water and stir-fry again"

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Ron, on 11/3/2019 05:11pm

Can anyone help me understand the following instructions?

"For a more professional taste, add a tsp. water and stir-fry again until oil separates. Repeat once more..."

What does this achieve?

How does it work?

Does the oil recombine with the sauce before separating again?

How does it make the sauce more professional taste?

Should I stir fry the sauce three times in total?

Would you ever try and serve without the separated oil?

Apologies if these are silly questions, I am fairly new to this cooking.

Thanks!

Mamta, on 12/3/2019 03:51pm

Hello Ron

I was shown this trick/ method by a 15 year old girl in India about 15 years ago. She had learnt it from her mum, who was/is an amazing cook.

I can't explain the scientific reason for doing this, but it does definitely improves the flavour of spices when fried a couple of times. May be this caramelises the onions and spice mix really well. All I can say is that when I do this, the sauce does taste better, more aromatic.

"Should I stir fry the sauce three times in total?"

Depends on the time you have. If frying once, just make sure it is fried well

"Would you ever try and serve without the separated oil?"

Not usually, because the sauce then doesn't smell right, it smells of half cooked onions.

"Apologies if these are silly questions, I am fairly new to this cooking."

No question is a silly question. I am not a professional cook and still learn new things every day, even though I am now in my seventies 🙂

Anyway, welcome to mamtaskitchen

Mamta

Ron, on 13/3/2019 04:55pm

Thanks for your reply and your wonderful website. I will experiment until I hope I get some level of understanding.

Ron

, on 13/3/2019 11:25pm

You are most welcome.

Mamta

Helen Bach, on 31/3/2019 01:11pm

I think what you are doing is called bhuno'ing (sp?), adding a little water to frying onions etc. and spices.

When we cook in water, the highest temperature we can ever reach is 100C. When we cook in oil, we can continue cooking until we reach the 'smoke point' of the oil, although we shouldn't get near to that in practice!

When using spices, we want to extract the flavour compounds into the oil/ghee. This is simply achieved by heating the spices with the oil. If onions are present, then water will also be present, and the temperature will not get above 100C until all the water (or most of it) has been cooked off. Then there is a rise in temperature, and the oil extraction takes place. What can happen is that the temperature can get too high, and things start to burn. The remedy is bhuno. Adding water to bring down the temperature (sub-burning levels) but maintaining an essentially oil rich environment for flavour extraction. The adding of water is done several times, as the water is boiled away.

This procedure is the way bhuno dishes are made, or should be ;?)

HTH

Mamta, on 1/4/2019 05:25am

Thank you for explaining that Helen, it makes perfect sense to me. My late father used to explain so many things in my mums kitchen, the reason why they happened or why they were done, with his chemists hat. I still enjoy learning that :). So thank you.

According to Oxford Hindi to English dictionary, of which I keep a copy, the word Bhoon-na or Bhun-na means 1. to parch or 2. to fry or 3. to scorch.

Bhunoing is combination of a Hindi word Bhuno or and English verb ing. It is one of those non-words that creeps up when a combination of languages are spoken as one. Hindi and English are often spoken mixed up in India, so many such words become part of the spoken language.

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