Quick Recipes and Easy

20 Tips For Great Indian Curries Plus One Tip You Wont Find In Any Recipe Books To Guarantee Success

• Curry Tip 1: Use more onions than the recipe recommends.

• Curry Tip 2: Slice those onions thin and nearly CARAMELISE them. This brings out the sweetness and flavour of the onions, which then infuses into the curry. Place them into HOT OIL when you start.

• Curry Tip 3: Use more fresh garlic and ginger than the recipe recommends.

• Curry Tip 4: Whenever possible buy the spice seeds and toast them gently before either grinding in a coffee grinder or pounding with a mortar and pestle.

• Curry Tip 5: This is the second most vital tip of the lot, and I don’t ever see it in recipe books. With all curries, add a handful of dark brown sugar to the spices as you add them to the caramelised onions, garlic and ginger. Add at least half that amount of salt.

• Curry Tip 6: Be patient as you slowly cook the spices together with the onion, garlic, ginger mix. In books they recommend cooking for a few minutes. I often take 20 – 30 minutes, stirring the mixture regularly and adding moisture when it starts to get dry. A small water is fine, or use one of the base ingredient you’re going to use for the ‘sauce’ component of the curry. A small tomato past, tomato juice, some yoghurt maybe or coconut cream.

• Curry Tip 7: The spices. If you cant get whole spices, or prefer using already ground spices, make sure they are as fresh as possible. I have been in homes where curries are cooked perhaps every five years, and the spices have been in the cupboard perhaps twice that long. A few months at most, then change them.

• Curry Tip 8: Use the best cuts of meat, freshest vegetables you can find. Curry is not a meal to be made from leftovers. The spices you are using are both expensive, exotic and some are valued more than gold. The flavours and aromas they impart are thousands of years ancient, and do things to food that no other method of cooking can. Use the finest ingredients, and you will be rewarded with the finest curries, AND the kudos that goes with them.

• Curry Tip 9: I have tried all kinds of yoghurts and coconut products in curry. By far the most effective is Greek yoghurt. It has a richness and smooth texture that transforms a excellent curry into a fantastic curry. And, I NEVER use coconut milk. Instead I use coconut cream only, and then only if it’s made by Trident. I’ve tried the rest, they don’t work nearly as well, INCLUDING, strangely, fresh coconut milk straight from the coconut. I don’t know why.

• Curry Tip 10: Don’t be worried to try unusual blends to find a unique flavour. One favourite of ours is a curry called Chicken Midas you wont find anywhere else in the world, because I made it up in our kitchen. As a teaser I use tinned mandarins, coconut cream and a small amount of sour cream in the preparation of this gorgeous curry, and with the right spices the flavours just melt together. Would you like a copy?

• Curry Tip 11: Cook the curry slowly. The temptation once it’s bubbling is to get it to the table as quick as possible. After all, you’ve been drooling for hours and the guests are tearing the furniture apart, but it’s worth the wait. Ideally curry should be cooked at least 24 hours before you intend serving it, but I defy you to try that and still have any left 24 hours later. It cant be done. So, maybe make a larger batch, eat your fill and STILL have enough for the mates coming around tomorrow night.
Truth is, the curry will be better on the third day, but that’s just silly.

• Curry Tip 12: At the end, just when you’ve had that final taste and it just cant get any better, add a sprinkling of garam masala (bought is fine, but I prefer to make my own) and a generous helping of freshly chopped coriander.
Cook it for a further five minutes.

• Curry Tip 13: Beef and lamb dishes should be tender, fall apart in the mouth without getting ‘mushy. If you make a mushy curry, give it to the dog, learn the lesson and start again.

• Curry Tip 14: Use only Basmati rice with Indian curry. I know I know, some people prefer sticky rice, and I admit that I sometimes make that instead when I’ve forgotten to stock up (and delight in it immensely), but a fantastic Indian curry deserves a fantastic Indian rice. And Basmati is the one.

• Curry Tip 15: DON’T STUFF UP THE RICE! Rice, made perfect, every time, with a few twists along the way, will round off a fantastic curry and enhance the flavour and enjoyment. Two cups rice, add to four cups cold water, bring to boil with lid on, fork through, boil for another minute with lid closed, turn heat off and leave for 15 minutes. Perfect!

• Curry Tip 16: Have lemons and limes in the fruit bowl at all times. A juice of half each lemon and lime can add an exquisite taste to some curries. Experiment gently, and be prepared for some tasty results.

• Curry Tip 17: Experiment with and use different chilli’s. If you cook curries you will already have your own tales about chilli’s and their effects on fingers, eyes, naturally the mouth, internal organs and often parts of the body that were never intended to come into contact with such volatile substances. Be careful of chilli’s. More isn’t always better.

• Curry Tip 18: Once you have made a new curry, and not just you but EVERYONE you’ve tried it on has just loved it, send it to me. Share freely and more will come back to you. In fact, I’ll do you a deal. Send me your very best recipes and I will include them in a book, with your name, and share all new recipes I feel are worthy for as long as you’d like to see them arriving in your e-mail. Once a month.

• Curry Tip 19: A teaspoon of tomato paste at some stage of the cooking will enhance most curries. Again, use the best quality you can find.

• Curry Tip 20: Use either vegetable, sunflower or olive oil for cooking the onions. I don’t use Ghee as I find it too fatty and I don’t have a problem using olive oil, though many people say it taints the curry. I’ve never found this to be right, but it’s a matter of personal preference. Try it. I’ve cooked the onions in just water too, and that worked just as well.

Leave just one of these tips out and your favourite curry wont taste the same.

But I need to give you the 21st tip, and the one that makes all the difference. It is also the most controversial, and the one that the un-enlightened few will weep ’What is he going on about now’?’
When I do this, the curry works perfectly every time. When I don’t, it still tastes fantastic but there is something missing.

Thinking about it now, it has something to do with why most of us remember home cooking with such fondness.

So here it is:

• Curry Tip 21: Your Indian curry MUST KNOW it’s an Indian curry.

I told you.

Before you push the ‘Back’ button, remember the other 20 invaluable tips in this article and know they will make all the difference. This tip, but, will ensure you’re treated like a curry guru for the rest of your life.

I am not a religious person, but I recognise that all things have an energy of their own, that broken down they could even be said to have a life force of their own. But weird this sounds, stay with me here.

The best way to describe what I do when I’m making any curry is this. Imagine you’re sending energy from your heart into the meal you’re cooking. Open it out, and pour it in. Try this with an orange that wont peel easily, a piece of fruit that tastes a bit sour, and see the difference.

It works with all things. It doesn’t matter whether you believe it or not. Try it, because there is nothing to lose. Practice.

I have witnessed many extraordinary things in our world, too many to go into here and none I’m willing to divulge in an article about curry. I know, from witnessing these events myself, that there is more going on than we’re willing to accept as ‘normal’.

The reason home cooking tasted so much better perhaps, even though you have the exact recipes your mum and grandmother had, is because they poured all their like into the meals they made.

Maybe we don’t have time to do this anymore, with microwaves, quick food and packet mixes. I wonder if our kids when they’re grown will say ‘Remember Mums cooking, and Dad’s when he made those curries? They were the best meals I ever had!”

I hope so. One thing I know for certain though, you take these tips onboard and those average curries will evolve into what you once imagined they would be.

Don’t forget to send me the ones that really work for you, and I’ll add them to our database. Come up with a catchy name if you like, but be sure to add your name IF you were the one who made it.

Rob Daniel is a children’s author, creative writing, memory and self-esteem teacher. He lives in gorgeous Albany on the south west corner of Western Australia, has a passion for mangos, the Greek Islands and bringing the best out of young people. He has been booked to go on a creative writing tour of primary schools around the south-west in September, and is very excited about the adventures he’s about to have!

Rob makes ‘turn the page’ children’s e-books with illustrators from around the world. You can check out and buy these books instantly from chocmint.com chocmint.com You’ll also find an opportunity to join the chocmint adventure yourself, if you have a passion for writing and illustrating for children.

LATEST book published ‘A Tail’s Tale’, illustrated by UK artist Elizabeth Stringer. Part proceeds from these books go towards sponsoring children at the Bear-Care orphanage in Kitgum, Uganda run by the extraordinary Murray Kidd.

Rob has also opened, cooked in and run two Indian restaurants which were hugely well loved and believes, if it works, share it.

About the Author

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