What is Bhoonna?
Bhoonna is a cooking process in which spices are fried in very hot oil, often until they have formed a paste. This not only cooks but also help to bring out the flavours from the ingredient being fried.
However, many like to people understand and use the term differently. For them bhoonna refers to a curry dish which has been prepared using these fried spices.
What cuisines use bhoonna?
Bhoonna is usually used in the Indian subcontinent in Indian, Pakistani & Bangladeshi cuisines.
How is bhoonna done?
Bhoonna process makes spice pastes that usually contain ginger, garlic, and onions. These ingredients are peeled & grated and then pan-fried in hot oil, until they break down to form a paste. This paste is then used to provide a foundation of many meat curry dishes.
This process involves turning, almost folding the meat in the pan along with the sauce over a high heat. Stirring continuously until the excess moisture has evaporated. Add a couple of splashes of water, bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to low again and cook till the meat is tender.
To go about it, you need to fry the flavour base or masala really well till it starts to caramelise and releases out the oil. This method of cooking ensures a robust burst of flavour in the dish. Bhoonna takes time and a watchful eye to make sure that the masala is cooking well without getting burnt.
To do this cook low and slow. Keep the heat low and stir slowly every now and then to prevent the masala from cooking. As it caramelises, scrap the edges and mix it well.
When is bhoonna done?
Bhoonna for Spices: Bhoonna is done by adding the spices or spice paste to hot oil and frying till the spices become fragrant and lose their rawness but without burning. This is one of the reasons spice masalas or spice mixes are mixed with water into a paste before being added to hot oil – to stop the spices from burning. This is done at the beginning of the recipe.
Bhoonna for Meat: Meat may be roasted or fried with oil or ghee before incorporating it in the curry. This process will seal the meat so that when it is cooked further in curry, it doesn’t dry out totally. This is done at the beginning of the recipe process ir may be done after the spices are done.