December 27, 2009
Meeta posted a question about my recipes and I thought it was an important one that I should answer through a post instead of just a response. She asked if I do tardka to my onions/ginger/garlic (brown them in oil) before adding to the slow cooker. I know this is standard to the Indian cooking process, but I was so irritated by the extra step and extra oil/fat that I tried MOST of my recipes without a tardka and guess what? They still tasted amazing. In a slow cooker I found that you don't need it.
So, the answer is, if my recipe doesn't call for it, you don't need to do tardka. Folks who have always taken this step and swear by it you'll have to trust me on this one. I have made an exception to recipes that require mustard seeds or fenugreek seeds. Both I believe need to pop in oil before you'll really get the appropriate flavor. I've also put butter into recipes like Butter Chicken and Chicken Tikka Masala. But, I've had readers that have made the butter chicken with a fraction of the butter in my recipe and have loved it just as well.
So, it's not a typo folks. If you prefer to take the extra step by all means do it - but try it without first and maybe use a dollop of the butter/ghee/oil at the end when you serve it instead to maximize the flavor.
And by all means, post your feedback. I'd love to hear it.