The secrets behind a great tasting curry

2018-12-19 06:01
PHOTOS: sourced

PHOTOS: sourced

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CURRY is often a vague and overused word, playing a very small role in the big game of Indian cuisine. It is important to understand the various Indian influences and regions, and the effects these have on texture, flavour, colour, and taste of curries.

SUGAR AND SPICE

Cumin and coriander — the darlings of the spice world, together with ginger, garlic and onion, form the most important part of the curry base.

Turmeric and cardamom are added to this, depending on the specific type of curry.

Raw sugar (jaggery) can be used to neutralise the salty taste of the water — the quantity added depends on the level of acidity in the dish.

SPICE TIPS TO KEEP IN MIND

• Always use fresh spices and keep the powders in air-tight containers.

• For best results grind the spices from the whole seed. Toast your whole coriander and cumin seeds before grinding — this will release the true aroma and richness of the spices. Ground spices, whole spices, or lightly crushed spices all add different dimensions to taste and textures, so the choice is up to you.

• Onions, garlic, and ginger are always best used fresh.

• Spices, whole or powdered, need to be cooked completely in order for the full flavour to be extracted and not taste raw or uncooked.

• Always taste your curry and season towards the end if need be. A common mistake made when cooking Indian food is not adding salt, thinking that the spices will provide all the flavour.

• Lock in some stock — stock is a valuable ingredient to add to water, when liquid is required. It can also be used to thin a sauce when it is too thick toward the end of the cooking process. In addition to bringing added flavours and aromas to the dish, stock also contains nutritious goodness.

PERFECT PAIRINGS

There are hundreds of combinations one can experiment with where aroma and tastes are concerned.

COMBINATIONS THAT CREATE A UNIQUE TASTE

• Sour mangoes and coconut or curry leaves

• Ginger and pepper

• Mustard seeds and Asafoetida

• Pepper (especially Kerala pepper) and black cardamom with lamb

• Tamarind, Kokum (Garcinia) or sour mangoes with seafood

• Dried fenugreek, cinnamon, and green cardamom with chicken

• Cumin with vegetarian food

• Curry leaves and chilies with all curries

• Bay leaves with rice

— Food24

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