Software engineer Krish Ashok’s aim is, as he puts it, “to introduce an engineering mindset to Indian cooking.” To that effect, he spent a lot of time frying, charring, fermenting, and jotting down his culinary findings. (Like the ideal rice-to-dal ratio for soft, fluffy idlis). You will be amazed at the number of tips on each page, from how to store spice powders to choosing the right salt. Masala Lab: The Science of Indian Cooking also answers basic culinary queries. Like why you should add spices to hot oil (to release flavors), and why a pinch of baking soda helps cook legumes like chana, rajma, and black urad dal (it softens them). Along with a cheat sheet on making base gravies and spice-infused oils, handy charts offer assistance creating salads, chutneys, and even biryanis. It’s a definitive guide to improving your Indian cooking skills.
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