Spice Secrets: How to Cook a Good Curry at Home
Posted on 5th October 2017
We don’t mind sharing some secrets of how to cook a good curry. Few people can afford to eat out or order takeaway every night. If you want to brush up your culinary skills so that you can include spicy Indian flavours in your home cooking, simply follow our top tips. Prepare to cook up a feast that celebrates the nation’s favourite dish!
A Touch of Spice!
Always begin by tempering your whole spices. Cooking mustard seeds, cardamom, cloves, coriander seeds and fresh curry leaves in hot oil until they sizzle releases their flavour.
Cheaper ground spices such as cumin, turmeric and chilli powder should be added during cooking whilst pricier spices like mace, nutmeg and garam masala should be used as a finishing spice and added shortly before serving.
Buy whole rather than ground spices as much as possible. Grinding small quantities of spices at home will preserve flavour. A large jar of ground chilli powder from the supermarket will be flavourless by the time you get to using the last teaspoon!
A Pinch of Seasoning!
It’s a common misconception that using spices means you don’t need to season – but a pinch of salt can transform a curry! As with all dishes: taste as you go and season as necessary. A tomato-based curry will often need a teaspoon of sugar to regulate the acidity. A twist of lemon or lime will neutralise a dish if you’ve added too much salt.
A Modicum of Chilli Heat!
Chillies give a great depth of flavour and don’t have to add a powerful heat. Cooking chillies for longer will give a milder heat, whilst adding towards the end of cooking will give a kick. If you’re cooking for many people who all have different preferences, add the chillies whole at the start of cooking, and serve only to those who can handle the heat!
Scoring meat and rubbing in spices will help tenderise meat and distribute the spices. To get the best flavour from your meat, cook on the bone, remembering to remove prior to serving. If you’re marinating with a yoghurt base, whisk the yoghurt first to prevent splitting when cooking.
A Willingness to Experiment!
Experimenting with flavours and textures is a joy of cooking. Curries are great for swapping spices – try coriander seeds instead of mustard, carom rather than cumin and see what surprises you! With the exception of red chilli powder which can easily overpower a dish, experimenting with spices will deliver exciting dinners for you and your family!
Chopped fresh coriander is the classic topping for curries, but try a garnish of toasted sesame or poppy seeds, fresh sliced chillies or ginger or even a twist of lemon or lime!