Marinating is a great way to tenderize and flavor meat whatever you are cooking, Indian food or other cusines. Marinating in Indian food utilises vinegars, lemon juice, yoghurt, wine and spices to tenderize the meat and produce the distinctive Indian flavors. The marination time can be anything from 1 hour to 3 days, depending on the recipe.

THE BARGAR (Fry Whole Spices)

The point of The Bargar is to cook out whole spices a little, to release their flavours and remove the raw taste.

Heat a little oil to a high temperature before putting in the whole spices. After a couple of minutes, it should be cooked, but do not let the spices blacken. You will notice the spices changing color and beginning to float when they are cooked.

If you do burn the spices, it is best to start again rather than risk having the burnt taste affect the rest of your meal.


The Bhoona in Indian cooking is the process of cooking the spice paste in hot oil to remove the raw taste. A similar technique, the Bargar, is used for whole spices. You should ideally use the Bhoona method whenever a recipe tells you to fry the spices.

Heat a little oil (4 tablespoons should do) in a karahi, a wok, or a large frying pan, to a medium-high heat.
Remove from the heat, and add the onion purée slowly.Return to the heat and keep stirring.
Continue stirring the purée until the oil is hot again, then gently add the masala paste.
Continue stirring as the water in the paste will cool the purée and increase the chance of it sticking.
After a few minutes, when the water has evaporated out, you will see the oil floating above the mixture indicating that the spices have cooked. Remove from the heat, and proceed with the remainder of the recipe.

 MASALA (Spice Mixture)

In many recipes, the spices are cooked slightly before adding to the main ingredients. This cooks out the raw taste of the spices, and infuses the oil used with their flavor. This spice-fry is called The Bhoona. This is not a difficult thing to do, and is explained in most recipes.

Examples of Spice Mixes: Garam Masla/Tandoori Spice Mix/Panch Phoran


To make sure that the spices are mixed properly, they are usually made into a Paste before using, by mixing the spices with a little water, and sometime a little vinegar. The water also prevents burning the spices when they are fried to make the Bhoona.

1) Add you spices to a small bowl or cup and mix thoroughly with a spoon.
2) Add just enough water to form a thick paste.
3) Leave to stand for 10 minutes to allow the water to be absorbed into    the spices.
4) Before beginning the Bhoona, add a little water if you think more is necessary.


A puree is what forms the basis for most basic curry sauces. It is made with Onions, Garlic and Ginger, pureed in a blender. It is a good idea to make this in bulk and store it for future use.


10 large Onions
20 large cloves of Garlic
4oz fresh ginger, peeled
1 pint (600ml) Vegetable Oil


Chop all the vegtables, roughly, no need to be precise, and heat half the oil in a frying pan.
Add the vegetables and fry for about 15 minutes, or until the onion is very soft and translucent, but not brown - do not allow them to burn. Remove from the heat and allow them to cool before the next step.
Puree the vegetables and oil mixture in a blender until it forms a smooth blend. While you do this, heat the remaining oil in the frying pan.
Fry the pur e for 15 minutes, making sure that it does not stick to the pan.
Remove from the heat, allow to cool, and then pour it into airtight containers for future use.

This should make enough for 10 curries. If you store it in 10 small containers, you can keep it in the freezer, and defrost a container each time you make a curry.

This puree is used in the Medium Curry recipe, which is as close to a standard restaurant curry you will find.

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