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How to use Slow cookers for Indian Cuisine?

Slow cooker basically emulates old Indian cooking method called Dum Pukht or vice versa


Dum Pukht Cooking Dum Cooking

Handi is a clay pot used for Dum Pukht style cooking. We can use the Crockpot as the Handi. The par-cooked food can be put in the Crockpot. The lid must must be sealed with a paste of flour and water (¼ cup flour and 1½ Tablespoon of water). The Crockpot should be used at 'Low'. The heat creates the steam, it condenses and rolls down the walls. 'Dum' means warm breath signifying the steam. The 'Pukht' means choking. 'Dum Pukht' means choking the steam and prevent it from escaping. The flour paste seal serves helps to choke steam.


General Guidelines

1. You can convert any of your favorite curry recipe to cook in a slow cooker by reducing amount of water or other fluids by half. The crock pot is covered with a lid Crock pot during cooking resulting in a minimum loss of moisture through evaporation.


2. Most of the curries need sautéed onions, and spice. Take this opportunity to add water and tomatoes to heat the mixture to a near boil and than add to the crock pot. This can save you about one hour in cooking. This is called 'Head Start'. Many recipes ask to cook for the first hour at High for head start. Remember, it takes about 2 hours for the food to reach 180º F when the food at room temperature is added to a crock pot set at Low.


3. It may take twice as long to cook at Low than to cook at High, but the best flavors are obtained by cooking at Low.


Chicken, Lamb, Mutton Curries

1. Cut your meats into small and approximately same size portion.

2. Braise/ brown meats before putting in the crock pot.

3. You don't have to marinate before cooking.


Beans and Dal

1. Dried whole beans such as Chickpeas, Red Kidney beans, and Black Matpe should be par-cooked before cooking in the slow cooker.

2. Many of decorticated split Dal such as Moong, Toor need not be par-cooked.



Heating/ boiling milk on stove top represents two major hurdles, boil-over and scorching. The 'Low' setting (200º F) can be used effectively to deal with these problems.

1. The raw milk will reach 165º F and will kill microbes similar to pasteurization process, fill the crock pot to half full and cook covered at Low for two hours. 

2. Milk at  185º F changes its protein structures suitable to make Dahi Yogurt and Paneer,. Fill the crock pot to half full and cook covered at Low for eight hours. 

3. You can reduce whole milk at Low setting with partially covered lid to make Khoya, Rabri.



Raw white rice is not suitable for cooking in slow cookers and turns into mushy porridge like consistency. You can use converted/parboiled rice or brown rice.


Vegetable Curries

Most of the Indian vegetable curries are not suitable to be cooked in the slow cookers. The exceptions are Saag such as Mustard greens (Sarson Saag).


Recipe Notes

In the slow cooker recipes, I have used recipe blends such as Curry Powder and Garam Masala.


Dum Aloo Gobi (Potato and Cauliflower) Crockpot Recipe
Kashmir Dum Aloo (Potato) Crockpot Recipe
Makhni Chicken Slow Cooker (Crock pot) Recipe
Cholay Slow Cooker Recipe
Making Khoya in Slow Cooker
Lamb Curry Slow Cooker Recipe
Lamb Dampukht Old fashioned Slow cooker Recipe
Mustard Greens (Sarson Saag) Slow cooker
Rice Pilaf Slow Cooker (Crock pot) Recipe
Rice Pudding (Kheer) Slow Cooker from raw rice
Rice Pudding (Kheer) Slow Cooker from cooked rice

Articles of Interest

How to choose a Slow Cooker?
What is the difference between a Slow Cooker and a Crock Pot?
How to cook foods for safety in Slow Cookers?
What are Basic guide lines for cooking in Slow Cooker?


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