Friday, February 13, 2009

Basics II - Bhagaar

So the second thing I'd like to discuss as regards basics is "bhagaar". Most desi cooks know "bhagaar" to be the garnish for lentils and some curry's. The truth is bhagaar can be either the BASE or GARNISH for a number of different dishes. Any time you heat oil with various spices, herbs and/or onion it is called bhagaar.

The purpose behind bhagaar is to add flavor and also aroma to your dish. When cooking desi vegetables, one often uses different spices to prepare the bhagaar before adding the main vegetable. Most lentils get fried onion, red chili and/or cumin seeds as the garnish just before serving. Most spices release their flavor and aroma once they are heated, hence the heating in oil of spices to enhance a dishes flavor. One thing to note, often times people tend to over cook desi food because they feel they need to really heat/saute (bhuno) the sauce or spices. This merely burns or overcooks the sauce or food and doesn't enhance or add to the flavor. Here in lies the importance of using bhagaar as a base to your cooking. By doing this you avoid overcooking the rest of your ingredients, keeping them fresh and flavorful.

Finally I get around to taking a picture! Hope this helps...

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