Curry Cooking Tips
- Cooking curries usually involves stewing the meat so cheaper cuts of meat are preferable. When selecting chicken, thighs or thigh fillets are the best choice. For beef select a cheaper cut such as Gravy beef, Chuck or Blade. Generally speaking meat based curries [beef, lamb and chicken] should be cooked for approximately 1 hour. Beef curries may have to be cooked a little longer depending on the quality of the beef.
- When considering quantities a good general rule is to prepare approximately 150 to 200 grams of meat per person. Hence a 500g curry should feed about 3 to 4 people.
- Cooking for a crowd using Curry Club Spice blends? If using double quantities of meat or veg you do not need to double the other ingredients as well. Instead use 1.5 times the quantity of other ingredients [including the spice blend]. For example 1 cup of yoghurt in a 500g curry will become 1.5 cups in a 1kg curry.
- When curries are stewed with meat on the bone this allows the infusion of flavours from the bones. When using filleted meat adding stock [chicken, beef or vegetable] to the curry helps to compensate for the absence of the bones.
- Once simmering, curries should be cooked uncovered. Stock or water is generally added towards the beginning of the cooking process after the meat has been sealed. Keep the lid on your pan until your curry is simmering and then remove the lid so the gravy can reduce to its desired consistency. If your curry reaches a thick consistency early in the cooking process, the lid can be re-applied or extra water added.
- If fresh coconut milk is not available desiccated coconut and water may be heated together at a ratio of ¾ cup of coconut per cup of water. Simmer for 10 minutes then strain away the coconut before use.
- One thing you’re sure to find in virtually every Indian curry is onions. Onions should be fried in ghee or butter in the initial stages of the cooking process until they are just starting to show a little colour. You can achieve a smoother consistency with your sauce by pureeing your onions before returning them to the pan once the meat is sealed.
- Sealing and browning the meat is also an important step in creating a robust flavour base for your curry. Meat can be added to the pan once the onions are cooked or alternatively you can temporarily remove the onions from the pan and brown the meat on its own. When cooking larger quantities brown the meat in batches.
- Don’t be afraid to prepare your curries one or even two days early. Curries tend to improve over time.
- When considering rice Basmati is the preferable accompaniment to Indian food. As a general rule one cup of uncooked rice will expand to 3 times its size once cooked, feeding 2-3 people
- Cardamoms, saffron, nuts, cloves, turmeric, citrus peel, sultanas, cinnamon, and bay leaves are just a few examples of the possible additives to rice during the cooking process.
- As far as chilli is concerned the general rule is the smaller the chilli the hotter it will be. Using crushed, minced or powdered chilli can be an adequate alternative and a good way of ensuring consistency.
- Traditionally ghee is used in Indian curry’s but butter or vegetable oil may be used as a substitute.
- Slow-cookers are an effective way of preparing a curry particularly when using cuts of meat that require extended stewing [beef in particular]. When using a slow cooker prepare your curry in a pan as per the instructions provided. Allow your curry to simmer for approximately 15 minutes in an open pan to allow all ingredients to combine together before transferring it to a slow cooker. As a slow-cooker does not allow evaporative reduction a general rule to keep in mind is to reduce the liquid added to the curry by 1/3. This can be as simple as adding less stock or water to the cooking process.
HAVE ANY CURRY COOKING TIPS? WE’D LOVE TO HEAR THEM.