India Joze Cooking Guide

The fun of playing with unusual ingredients, tastes, techniques, aromas, and attitudes towards food is spoiled if your creations are not appreciated. Food is meant to be enjoyed, not suffered like bad-tasting medicine. Jozseph's India Joze approach to cooking involves specific techniques, adjustments, and types of ingredient substitutions that will help you become more adaptable in all your cooking, to any and all medical, philosophical, economic or aesthetic dietary constraints.

Next year and years from now we will look back at the current pronouncements on diet and health and smile at their naiveté. Our goal should be to better understand how to appeal to all tastes, so we can maintain the flexibility to up-date our favorite eating experiences as well as discover new ones.

Through my travels, studies and restaurant, I have become convinced that for food to be "good," certain general preconditions must be met within the four basic categories of texture, flavor, aroma, and decoration.

For American audiences (eatiences?), the textures of the foods must be appropriate. General strategies for producing what we consider "good" textures and avoiding what we consider "bad" textures are a cook's first priority.

Providing a wide range of appropriate textures during a meal either as part of the dishes themselves or with garnishes will greatly help make your guests more receptive to other aspects of your cooking art. We have found that other niceties of flavor, aroma, and decoration tend to be wasted if the textures of a dish or a meal are not pleasing.

A wide range of textures smooth, crisp, juicy, crunchy, tender, chewy, crackling at a meal will tend to make eating more interesting. The acceptable range of textures for most Americans is much narrower than that found in Asia. 'Slimy' and 'tough-chewy' are deliberately sought after in many Asian cuisines but they are best minimized here.

Texture is the aspect of cooking that is the most difficult to control or adjust. Textures change when a recipe is scaled up or scaled down. They change when you change pans or stoves. They change when a dish sits. They change when a dish changes temperature. Ingredients change their thickening powers and other textural effects from one batch to the next. Cookbooks are filled with seemingly odd or even unnecessary instructions and cautions aimed at heading off problems with the texture of the end product.

Aroma is the most elusive and powerful element of wonderful food. It is Aroma that lifts food from the merely "good" to the sublime. Aromatics have unmediated access directly to our emotions and memories. At best, they unlock for us the feelings that validate all the trouble we spend cooking.

Unlike the six or so tastes (scientists quibble), we can distinguish thousands of aromas. Various people have tried to classify smells with some success. A recent study found camphor-like, vinegary, ethereal, putrid, pepperminty, musky, and floral and claimed to be able to correlate smells to specific nerve cells.

Classifications of smells are useful to the cook. We temporarily lose our ability to smell something or any related smell after a minute or less of exposure, so it is important to have changing aromas to keep our noses awake.

Cultures differ sharply in acceptable levels of aromatics. Europeans and Americans tend to look down on strong bouquets outside their wine glasses. Indian and other Middle Eastern cuisines on the other nostril greatly enjoy extreme perfumes with their meals. Cultural cross-purposes can get especially strong about funky, musky food smells.

Unlike flavors, different aromas do not tend to conflict within a dish, but add to its complexity and depth of flavor. The great danger of overcooking foods lies in driving away and dissipating delicate aromas as well as ruining the texture.


Decoration is an element of great food. Personally, I think that our cuisine overemphasizes the appearance and textures of foods to the detriment of their taste and aroma. At its worst, British cuisine seems to care more about how food looks and the types of serving dishes than any other qualities. Still, since most of us have vision as our primary acuity, cooks who ignore how foods are visually presented do so at their peril. And since the only possible mass reproduction of food is done visually, merchandisers of all sorts will always have a stake in valorizing the ineluctable modality of the visible.

Flavor Saturation means that either the separate dishes of a meal or the meal as a whole must have all the flavors we can taste present in some perceptible degree: Sweetness, Hotness, Bitterness, Tartness, Saltiness, and Richness (Oiliness). The result is a satisfying fullness and wholeness to any dishes whatever their differing flavor balances. Even experienced cooks are often amazed at how much difference the addition of even a tiny amount of a missing flavor can add to a dish. Sometimes even a very sweet aroma can provide the sweetness necessary to bring out all the flavors of a dish. Aromas cannot come fully into play without Flavor Saturation, which is why a small amount of salt, lemon (sweet-tart), black pepper (bitter-hot), and olive oil can work such miracles with so many foods.

Flavor Saturation is sometimes intrinsic to the ingredients in the foods we cook as is typical of many Western food staples, like cheeses, meats, and wines. Asian cuisines often build up flavor saturation through a complex of separate simpler flavorings that by themselves are too powerful or weird to appreciate by themselves.

If you are faced with a dish that doesn't taste right, split off a small portion of the total dish and add a representative of each of the flavor families until the taste is right. Then adjust the whole dish. Don't neglect the bitter elements; despised in excess, bitter "focusses" flavors.

If you want to increase any part of the flavor intensity of a dish, you will probably have to increase the other flavors as well. You can seldom just increase the hotness of a dish and have it taste right without also increasing the tartness, richness, saltiness, bitterness, and sweetness as well.

Conversely, if one flavor element in a dish is too strong, say, too bitter, raising the intensities of the other flavors tends to bring the dish back into realm of the acceptable. Of course, if a dish is overly bitter, you make not be able to make it hot-sweet-tart-rich-salty enough without exceeding your guests' tolerance for overall flavor intensity.

Some ingredients and techniques seem to reduce a certain flavor. We say these have negative hotness,negative richness, negative bitterness, negative richness, negative saltiness, or negative tartness.

I have provided a flavor chart as a starting place for categorizing food ingredients by their structural flavor properties. Tried-and true recipes can be adapted to new and unfamiliar cuisines and ingredients with wonderful results by analyzing the flavors a specific missing ingredient adds to a dish and adding equivalents.

India Joze Flavor Saturation


  • tahini sesame paste (and rich) MidEast
  • chocolate and cocoa (and sweet and rich) New World cuisine
  • coffee (and sweet) often drunk with American food
  • turmeric (usually fried to eliminate rawness of taste) South and Southeast Asia
  • artichokes (makes other foods and beverages taste much sweeter) Europe
  • lemon and citrus peel, zest (sweet and hot aroma) Universal
  • spinach and greens even lettuce (and sometimes sweet) Universal
  • orange blossom water (and very sweet aroma)
  • scotch, bourbon (and hot)
  • tea
  • brandy, rum, eau de vie (and very hot, sweet smell) Europe
  • red wine (and hot and tart and sometimes sweet) Europe
  • garlic, fresh, raw (and hot) Universal except Northern Europe
  • garlic and onion powder (and sweet, often too bitter) America
  • garlic, fried (less bitter, sweet, unless burned) Asia not Japan
  • scallions, raw, and onion, raw (and hot) Universal
  • green peppers and chilies (and hot) Universal
  • asafetida (and sweet when fried in oil) India, ancient Rome
  • mustard seed (and sweet and hot) India, North Europe
  • mustard, prepared (and tart,salty,hot sometimes sweet) Universal
  • eggplant Universal
  • bitter almonds, almond extract (and hot, sweet aroma) Universal
  • capers (and salty and tart) Europe, MidEast
  • olives (and salty and rich and variably sweet) Mediterranean
  • caviar (and rich, salty, somewhat sweet) Japan, Russia, Europe
  • coriander leaf/cilantro All tropics except Indonesia
  • rue ancient Rome
  • watercress (and hot) Universal
  • flowers, edible, most (and sometimes sweet-smelling)
  • bitter melon (very very bitter) Southeast Asia
  • cucumber (and sweet) Universal
  • bitter orange (and tart and sweet-smelling) Mediterranean basin


  • onion, fried and/or simmered (and a little bitter)
  • sugar Universal
  • honey Universal
  • molasses (and bitter)
  • cream (and tart and rich and slightly warm) Europe
  • fried garlic, light (and somewhat bitter) Universal
  • fried onion, transparent (and somewhat bitter) Universal
  • mirin cooking sake(and hot) Japan
  • sherry, marsala (and hot and slightly bitter and tart) China, Spain, Italy
  • fruit, dried (and sometimes slightly tart) Universal, especially Persia
  • fruit, fresh (and sometimes very tart and bitter) Universal
  • miso (and salty and slightly hot and sometimes bitter) Japan
  • paprika (and sometimes slightly hot) Spain, Hungary, India
  • red bell pepper Universal
  • maple syrup America
  • white pepper (and hot) especially Indonesia
  • tomato, especially cooked (and tart) Universal
  • caramel (and slightly bitter, less sweet than sugar) Vietnam
  • mustard seed (and hot and bitter)
  • fennel, anise (somewhat sweet) India, Europe
  • licorice, star anise (very sweet but not sugary) Southeast Asia
  • barley malt Europe, hippy
  • red/orange chili Tropics

Sweet Smelling

  • cinnamon cardamon rosewater orange blossom water lemon blossom
  • ouzo, pernod cloves rum sherry vanilla bitters citrus zest
    Negative Sweetness
  • Very hot or very cold foods taste less sweet


  • lemon (and a little sweet) Europe, MidEast, North America
  • lime (and a little bitter and a little sweet) Tropics
  • tomato, raw, unheated (and sweet)
  • tamarind (and sweet) Tropics
  • vinegars (and some are sweeter than others) Universal
  • grapefruit (and somewhat sweet and bitter)
  • youghurt (and rich) MidEast, India
  • cheeses (and rich,salty and sometimes bitter) Europe, Americas
  • omeboshi plums (and sometimes salty) Japan
  • butter (and rich) Europe, MidEast, India, Americas
  • sour cream (and rich and somewhat sweet)
  • pomegranate (and sweet &bitter) MidEast, India
  • mango powder (and somewhat sweet) India
  • wine (and sweet and hot ) Europe
  • pickles (and salty and sometimes bitter and sometimes sweet) Universal


  • olive oil Mediterranean basin, Philippines, Americas
  • sesame oil, roasted (and sweet aroma) China
  • lard (and bitter if not fresh) Americas, China, tropics
  • sesame oil, unroasted Persia, India, Burma
  • sunflower oil Turkey
  • goose fat Europe
  • suet England
  • bacon (and sweet and salty) Americas
  • nuts Universal
  • peanut butter (and salty) Africa
  • tahini (and bitter) MidEast
  • miso, fermented bean pastes (and salty, bitter) Japan, China, Burma
  • caviar (and salty and bitter) Russia, Japan, Europe
  • sausage (and sweet and salty and hot) Europe, Americas
  • cream cheese (and tart and sweet) Europe, Americas
  • avocado (and a little bitter) Americas, tropics
  • butter (and sweet and salty and tart)
  • ghee (butter oil) India
    Negative Oiliness
  • liquify or emulsify the fats


  • salt Universal
  • butter (and rich and tart and sweet) Europe, Americas
  • soy sauce (and a little bitter) North Asia
  • fish sauce (and a little more bitter) SE Asia
  • cheeses (and rich and tart and bitter) Europe, Americas
  • anchovies, anchovy paste (and rich and bitter) Italy, Greece, Europe
  • miso (and sweet and bitter) Japan, China, Burma
  • olives, American (and rich) America
  • olives (and rich and bitter) Mediterranean basin, MidEast
  • caviar (and rich and bitter) Russia, Japan, Europe
  • black beans, salted, preserved (and rich, bitter) China, Thailand
  • pickles (and tart and sometimes bitter and sweet) Universal
  • seaweeds (some are saltier than others) Japan, China
  • preserved lemon (and tart and bitter) Morocco, MidEast, India
  • ham (and sweet and rich) Europe, Americas, Far East
  • bacon (and rich and a little sweet) Europe, Americas, Far East
  • jerked beef (and rich and a little bitter) Americas, Europe
    Negative Saltiness
  • potato
  • flour


  • red chili flakes, cayenne (and sweet, bitter when fried) Universal
  • fresh red/orange chili peppers (and sweet) Universal
  • fresh green chili peppers (and bitter) Universal except Europe
  • horseradish (and bitter ) Europe, China, Japan
  • fresh ginger (and sweet) Asia
  • black pepper (and bitter) Universal
  • white pepper (and sweet-smelling) Africa Indonesia
  • raw onion (and bitter) Universal
  • chives, scallions (and bitter) Universal
  • viet mint Southeast Asia
  • alcohol Universal, less common in tropics
  • wine (and sweet, tart)
  • cinnamon (and sweet) Universal
  • cresses, nasturtium leaves and flowers
  • pink pepper, California Pepper
  • allspice (and sweet-smelling) Turkey, N. Europe
  • mustard seed (and sweet and rich and bitter)
  • mustard, prepared (and sweet and tart and salty and bitter)
    Negative Hotness
  • youghurt (and tart) India
  • cucumber (and bitter) India
  • coriander seed India Indonesia Latin America
  • fresh mint India Indonesia MidEast
  • cloves (sweet-smelling) India Africa Indonesia
  • szechwan peppercorns, fagara China
  • carnations (and sweet-smelling)
  • cilantro, coriander leaf Tropics
  • fresh basil Italy SouthEast Asia
  • parsley, flat-leaf Italy MidEast Persia
  • fresh tarragon France, Persia