Saturday, January 24, 2015

Bottled Tadka : Infused Oil !

OPOS - The 'Lazy' Technique ?
Quite a few people equate effortless with lazy. And feel good only when they have slogged.
OPOS is all about minimising manual labour, without ANY compromise in flavour or nutrition. Infact, the flavour / nutrition of most OPOS recipes are better than their traditional counterparts.
Let's take the bottled tadka encouraged in OPOS. Many people see it as a boon. And many see it as a lazy technique.
Fresh tadka takes a few seconds. Why on earth would you want to use bottled tadka ?
Two reasons -
One, it is a matter of personal choice.
And two, bottled tadka is more flavourful.
Indian cuisine discovered that when spices are fried in oil, the oil gets infused with their flavours. What it ignored is the fact that the longer the spices are steeped in oil, the more flavourful the oil becomes. India had a dread of stored food and so missed out on infused oils, common in other cuisines. This fear of stored food has prevented it from adopting bottled tadka all along.
A bottled tadka is much more rounded and flavourful than fresh tadka. A fresh tadka flavours the room, but for flavouring food, bottled tadka wins hands down.
You might be missing out on the sizzle when fresh tadka hits food, and the burst of flavour that fills the room when fresh tadka is made, but from a flavour point of view, bottled is better than fresh. In fresh tadka, the spices just do not have enough time to release all their flavour into oil in a few seconds.
Just because something is easy and convenient, it need not always be lazy ! Bottled tadka is nothing but infused oil, a technique other cuisines have been practicing for ages ! Those cuisines missed out on the frying part and we missed out on the steeping part. With bottled tadka, we can have the best of both worlds !

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

OPOS : What's the big deal ?
OPOS Empowers
The technique is designed to empower you. It is you who is the star. The variations you come up with are your own, suited to your taste. I spend a lot of time digging up the history and the building blocks so that you can safely tweak it, without compromising the spirit of the recipe.
OPOS Demystifies
There is no mystique here - no talk about kaimanam / tender loving care. If it works for me, it has to work for you - even if you have never heard of a dish / have never cooked it .
OPOS is transparent.
Chithra Viswanathan was mentioning in her interview how some chefs leave out a crucial step, just to ensure they stay on top. OPOS recipes are just a list of ingredients. There is no way to hide stuff in OPOS.
OPOS sets you free !
You are not chained to the stove anymore. Once you start OPOSing, you will start reveling in this new found freedom !
OPOS is consistent.
No worries about how the dish will turn out - ever ! If it works once, it will always work, for anyone, anywhere, anytime - exactly the same way.
It is heartening to see more people getting hooked on to OPOS. If you find it helpful, remember you are honour bound to teach atleast one more ! It is not everyday you get to change the way people cook !

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Chennai, Tamilnadu, India
Okay, let me start from the very beginning. 1500 crore years ago, with a Big Bang, the Universe is born. It expands dramatically. Hydrogen forms, contracts under gravity and lights up, forming stars. Some stars explode, dusting space with the building blocks of life. These condense into planets, one of which is Earth. Over time, self replicating molecules appear, multiply and become more complex. They create elaborate survival machines (cells, plants, animals). A variety of lifeforms evolve. Soon, humans arise, discover fire, invent language, agriculture and religion. Civilisations rise and fall. Alexander marches into India. Moguls establish an empire. Britain follows. Independence. Partition. Bloodshed. The license raj is in full sway. I'm born. India struggles to find its place. Liberalisation. The Internet arrives! I move from Tirupur to Chennai. Start a company. Expand into Malaysia, Singapore and the Middle East. Poof! Dot com bust. Funding dries up. Struggle. Retire. Discover the joy of cooking, giving, friendships and the pleasures of a simple life. Life seems less complicated. Pizza Republic, Pita Bite and Bhojan Express bloom !

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