What can impart a sour taste to a vegetable dish in Indian cooking. You got a choice:
- Unripe mango…..either fresh or dried and powdered
- Pomegranate seed powder
- sour curd……old curd
- Kokum (garcinia indica)
- Citric acid
- aonla (indian gooseberry) fresh or dried and powdered
Did I leave any stuff which gives sour taste?
Each of these have their own typical taste, fragrance, texture and color. Additionally they go with specific type of vegetables. Moms have been using very specific combinations, because of the medicinal properties associated with each. Depending upon the thickness of the curry, and the mixture of sourness with sweetness that one requires.
It also depends on the guy who is cooking and his preferences. I love to add sour curd, because I like the taste. In lentils, I add more of kokum, because it imparts a unique flavor and a little red color. Fragrance wise nothing to beat lemon, added after cooking.
Aonla or gooseberry in powdered form can give a deep grey color which is needed by the Bengal gram curry.
Tomatoes come in various shapes sizes and sourness. Use as pulp, or whole, without skin and seeds. Seeds are the sour portion.
The dish has to be designed on the drawing-board of the mind of the chef before starting, and that will decide the ingredients. The spice should be subtle rather than bold unless you are cooking for Jats (body builders) who require even the spices to be robust and muscular.
Good luck in the kitchen!