Top Tips for making a better and easier homemade curry
Is your favourite homemade curry hit or miss? Do you find it a bit of a hassle to cook curry? With a few simple cooking hacks, curry cooking from scratch with blended Indian spices is quick and easy and will taste delicious every time.
If you want to make the consistently delicious homemade curry, follow our top tips. Easy enough for mid week meals, curry will become part of your weekly family meals.
- Always fry Indian spices with groundnut oil or sunflower oil when curry cooking, both the groundnut oil smoke point and sunflower smoke point are much higher than a standard oil, such as olive oil. Oil with a lower smoke point can spoil at high heat and ruin your pan. (Avoid vegetable oil where possible as it usually contains palm oil.)
- Never rush the cooking of onions, this forms a deep base of flavour that cannot be replicated with short cuts. Allow 10 minutes on a low heat for the onions to become translucent and beginning to brown.
- You can freeze excess cooked onions! So batch cook away with your onions (remember to burn a cook's candle before you start cooking) and freeze them in suitable portion sizes for your household. You can always use frozen chopped onions too. This will save you on prep time but may need a slightly longer cooking time to fry off excess moisture. Use extra cooking time to prepare the rest of your ingredients, for example chopping vegetables or meat.
- Grate ginger and mince garlic - it's quicker than chopping for most of us. You can also use a ginger and garlic paste to speed things up - great for batch cooking as it freezes well.
- Canned tomatoes will give a better colour to your homemade curry than fresh tomatoes but you may need to increase the souring agent to avoid the curry becoming too intense in tomato flavour. You can use yoghurt, tamarind paste, lime juice or vinegar for this purpose.
- When using lime in your curry, use it at the end of cooking as it will prevent your meat becoming tender.
- Add salt to lentil dishes once the dish is completely cooked (and ideally just before serving) as salt and acidic ingredients can reduce lentils firmer texture.
- Use spices not just to add heat but to give a full, rounded and fragrant flavour. You can very easily add heat at the end of cooking, with fresh chillies, so don't overdo it at the beginning.
- To create tender chicken, cut raw chicken across the grain. You don't want long sinews in each piece, you want them to be short to ensure tenderness. Watch this video to show you how.
- For a thicker sauce, use a thickening agent such as yoghurt, cream, coconut milk, ground seeds or nuts (such as almonds). Onions also act as a thickening agent, especially when they have been pureed before cooking.
- Make family meals and mid week meals easier by making more than you need. Homemade curry freezes well. Freeze into portion sizes suitable for your household.
- Cook your meat curry the day before, if possible, as it always takes better the following day. A great way to get ahead if entertaining too.
- Slow cooker curry is an economical and easy way to create a healthy dinner. Read on here for recipes, a conversion chart and slow cooker top tips.
- Finally and very importantly, season well with salt. No matter the quality of curry powder, it won't taste good if it isn't seasoned properly. Even the best homemade curry can be substandard with a lack of seasoning. Use more salt in lamb curry and meat curry dishes (we suggest 2 tsps for a curry using 1kg meat), whilst be more cautious when seasoning vegetables, fish and chicken as their flavor is often more delicate.
Happy Curry Cooking!
You can make your own homemade curry powder or buy one already perfectly balanced for quick and consistent results. Have a browse at our award winning blends in our shop.
Read more cooking tips:
How to cook the perfect onions for a curry
Slow Cooker Curry Tips - A Slow Cooker Recipe for Success
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