Curry Cooking Tips

Hints for Cooking Consistently Great Curries

Meat Curries

Cooking curry 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 one 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.

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. 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, put the lid back on and/or add some water.

Chicken jalfrezi curry balti dish

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. 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.

Got an event coming up and don’t fancy cooking everything yourself? Perhaps Jeeta Catering can help you.

Tips For Following Currie Recipes

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.

If you are cooking for a crowd then calculate your ingredients carefully: 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 one cup of yoghurt in a 500g curry will become 1.5 cups in a 1kg curry.

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 three 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 smart way of ensuring consistency.

Traditionally ghee is used in Indian curries, but butter or vegetable oil may be used as a substitute.

A selection of Indian curries

Slow Cooking Curries

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 recipe instructions. 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 good guideline is to reduce the liquid in the curry by one third. This can be as simple as adding less stock (or water) to the cooking process.

Creative Curry Recipe Ideas

Need a change from ‘Curry and Rice’? Here following are some simple, but delicious, curry recipe concepts for you to try (and here’s a link to some easy-to-make Indian desserts):

Curry Burgers

Curry Burgers are simple and offer a different spin on your traditional burger.

Try adding two tablespoons of spice blend to your next homemade burger patty recipe. Try a Butter Chicken Burger, for example, by adding Butter Chicken spice blend to chicken mince, or try a Sri-Lankan or Rogan Josh blend for beef or lamb burgers.

Add a dollop of natural yoghurt before serving and you’ve got a refreshing and healthy take on an old family favourite.

Tip: Adding caramelized onion to your burger mix prior to cooking is a great way to add extra flavour. Simply fry a finely diced onion or two in butter or ghee and allow to cool before mixing in.

Tip: For curry bases that include tomato as a component in the base sauce (such as those listed above), add a tablespoon of tomato paste to the burger mix or top with a spicy tomato relish before serving.

Curry Pies

Curry Pies are perfect when you need a meal that you can hold on one hand. They are ideal for taking to a football game and indulging that traditional footy cuisine.

To save time on the night try preparing your curry filling the night before. Also, use store bought puff pastry sheets to bake your pies in a pie maker or oven. Choose between chunky pies or try using minced beef, lamb or chicken instead.

Tip: If using an oven, then muffin trays are great for making party pies.

Tip: Ensure the sauce in your filling is sufficiently thickened by stove-top reduction in an open pan (if time permits), or, alternatively, just dust a little flour through the dish and stir-in.

Indian curries in brass bowls

Oven Roasted Kebabs

Oven Roasted Kebabs are a gift from heaven for the carnivores amongst us.

Simply mix two tablespoons of spice blend and one tablespoon of salt into a cup of natural yoghurt and you’ve got a delicious marinade for beef, chicken or lamb.

Marinate overnight and skewer the meat ready for cooking in an oven, BBQ or over the coals. You won’t believe the flavour that can come from such a simple process with a few natural ingredients.

Tip: If you are using an oven then, for best results, suspend the kebab skewers over a baking tray or wire grill, to ensure even hot air flow around each kebab.

Tip: Apply leftover marinade during the cooking process with a pastry brush for extra flavour.

Dylan Cole
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