My OH has gotten really into cooking Indian and South Asian food at home, and I'd like to buy him a tadka pan for tempering spices - at the moment he just uses a small non-stick frying pan, and I'm a bit worried that over time the pan will take on curry flavours and won't be suitable for cooking anything else.
I've noticed that the tadka pans stocked by online Indian cookware stores often have rounded bases, like a wok, which I presume are designed for gas hobs, but we have an electric hob in our (rental) kitchen, and round-bottomed pans don't work brilliantly on it. Any suggestions for a pan that works well for tempering spices? I've seen a few places stocking mini copper frying pans - do spices discolour copper? Any brands worth looking out for?
<he just uses a small non-stick frying pan, and I'm a bit worried that over time the pan will take on curry flavours and won't be suitable for cooking anything else.>
Nonstick pan is unlikely to acquire much flavor overtime.
<like a wok, which I presume are designed for gas hobs, but we have an electric hob in our (rental) kitchen>
I am assuming that you are talking about Kadhai since you said something looks like a wok. There are plenty flat bottom Kadhai.
As for your question about do spices discolor copper, copper easily discolor disregard of spice cooking. It will discolor. However, most modern Kadhai has a different metal for interior surface - since copper has a acute and chronic toxicity effect.
I am using this pan over ceramic stovetop
for tadkas from almost 2 years. You can use lid from 1qt sauce pan to cover it and avoid splattering.You can also use it to fry onions on a small amount. I bought this pan at target for $5 and it has held up well although I am using this everyday.
I cook South Asian food which requires temperings on a regular basis. I do own the traditional vessel for giving baghaar/tadka. But the one I have is too small so I actually end up using a 1.5 quart long handled soup pan pretty regularly to suit my needs.
You don't want something too small or it is awkward stirring dried or fresh chiles in the oil, nor do you want a pot/pan that is so wide based that it needs an excessive amount of oil in it. It's also best not to have something too flat like a frying pan because then seeds can sputter out of it.
BTW a karhai is not the right type of vessel, you want something with a long handle for ease of pouring the tempering onto the dish.
Something like this (but a better value) would be suitable: http://www.amazon.com/All-Clad-Stainl...
Here is a picture of my vessel. It's a pity that it is too small for my needs. Otherwise it also has the other useful features of having a stand and being slightly flat bottomed.
I saw similar ones on Amazon but sans stand and completely round.
Edit: I googled up this one on amazon which is 2 cups (good size), flat bottomed, and has a stand: