Basic Techniques of Indian Cooking
Bhapa: This technique is simply steaming, usually in banana leaves or in foil. This is used in Eastern India and other parts of India for fish and vegetables.
Bhunao/Kasha: This is the process of cooking mainly rich meat dishes in a onion spice base on low heat stirring frequently for a very long time.
Bagar/Chowk or Sambara: This is the process of tempering foods with the final addition of spices and ghee. It is used for most lentil dishes.
Dum-Pukth: This is cooking in a sealed steam pot, this method is typical of the cooking of Lucknow and is used for rice dishes such as biryanis and pillaus.
Talna: This is the term for frying both deep and shallow. Tikkis and kababs are cooked this way.
Sekhna – is the process of pan roasting for nuts and griddle breads.
Stocking the Indian Kitchen
Indian cooking evolved in a quieter world where there was more time and help for the kitchen. It would not make much sense in today's modern Indian or a Western kitchen to attempt to mimic the cookware and tools that existed in the original Indian Kitchen. I will therefore give you a list of items that I think are practical and useful for everyday Indian Cooking.
Indian Pots, Pans and Spoons
Karahi or the Indian Wok: This is usually a smaller cast iron wok shaped pot. The shape of this is extremely useful for deep frying since it transmits the heat evenly.
Tawa or flat heavy griddle or pan: A good hard anodized one is especially useful for tikkis, Indian flatbreads and pancakes.
A small heavy bottomed skillet: This is useful for dry roasting the spices. The appropriate way to roast the spices is to do them in small batches and for a few minutes.
A steamer or steaming pot: There are several dishes especially in south India cuisine that need to be steamed, a good pot that allows for this is immensely useful.
A crock pot: I find this immensely helpful for stews that need a lot of slow cooking time. It retains the flavors and lets the stew simmer without any attention.
A Pressure cooker: This on the converse end of a crock pot cuts down cooking time tremendously for beans and other items that take a long time to cook.
Sarashi: A pair of metal tongs, these are useful for turning breads and other hot foods.
Jhajri – A metal turner with holes, this is round, it is useful for frying since it allows you to drain the oil.
Kitchen Appliances for the Indian Kitchen:
Basic Food Processor: Indian cooking entails an enormous amount of chopping, pureeing and pasting. This device is worth its weight in gold in the time it saves.
Mortar and Pestle: A good marble mortar and pestle is useful for the coarse grinding of spices and herbs.
Coffee Grinder: A coffee grinder is essential for making spice powders and good Indian cooking is incomplete without the same.
This is not an overwhelming list for such a complex cuisine. The rest is up to you!