Indian Cooking Methods


AKA: Bhunooing, Boo-hoo, blooming

As with everything related to Indian cooking I have found a number of opinions on how this cooking method works. Essentially, this is a method of releasing essential oils that are cooped up in your dry spices and leaves too. The types of spices used are the hard spices such as cumin seeds, cloves, cinnamon, mustard seeds etc. As I understand it powdered spice can be added, but nearer the end of the bhunooing process.

The thinking behind this method is that spices take on moisture over time which dilutes the essential oils in the spices. By slow frying the spices you are gently evaporating the water and releasing the concentrated essential oils from the spice.

The bhunooing process can be used to make a vibrant base for your gravy. To do this, heat a good amount of oil on high and then bring it down to a medium heat. Add your spices and onion and slowly fry until the onion turns a light brown. At this point add your liquid.

Some questions that I have are:-

  • Why heat the oil to hot and bring to medium? Why not just heat to medium?
  • Does bhunooing always have to include onions?
  • When I tried this, the onions absorbed all of the oil after a while – is this okay? Or does it mean that I used too much oil?
  • Once the infusion process has
  • Is this the same, or does it have any relation to the bhuna?
  • I have come across articles and recipes that refer to bhunooing and suggest that it’s (perhaps) just the process of slow cooking ingredients on a flame/ hob – is this correct?