Although I say it myself, I’m a very good cook, and so I should be – I spent all my working life in catering. However, when it comes to making a perfect curry, I can’t hold a candle to my husband. He’s watched over me while I follow his instructions, and my curry is okay, but his is superb. When it’s curry night in our house, I play commis chef and prepare all the ingredients, while my husband is promoted to chef-de-partie. Here are his secrets for making a perfect curry.
Buy the best meat you can afford
Many people make the mistake of thinking that the curry sauce will mask any imperfections in the meat. It won’t – you’ll just end up with an average curry instead of a good or even a great curry. An Indian friend of ours only ever uses freshly killed chicken in his curries. There’s no need to be as particular as our friend, but buy good meat – it really makes a difference. We always choose top rump for our beef curries, and corn fed, free range chicken for chicken curries.
Keep the meat pieces a good size – no less than 1″ cubes, and preferably a little larger – you want nice chunks of juicy meat in your curry, not dried out little scraps. Brown the meat in a mixture of oil and butter to seal in the flavour and help the chunks hold together during cooking.
Use a good curry powder
This is no time to buy the supermarket’s ‘value’ range curry powder. Go to an Indian or international supermarket and ask what they recommend. This was how we discovered Bolst’s Hot Curry Powder. Our local Indian shopkeeper assured us this was the king of curry powders, and he was right. If you can’t get Bolst’s, Rajah is a good second choice.
You can buy big bags of curry powder, but only do this if you eat a lot of curries. If you don’t use it up before the expiry date, your curry powder will lose strength, and your curry will suffer. Store in an airtight container to maintain the full flavour.
Use fresh ingredients if possible
If your favourite curry recipe calls for lemon or lime juice, use freshly squeezed juice rather than bottled juice. We always use lime juice, as it gives a better flavour. Ripe, juicy fresh tomatoes are also preferable to tinned ones. It really does make a difference to the finished dish, believe me.
Don’t overdo it with the cooking liquid
You can always add more liquid during cooking, but too much to start with will compromise the flavour of the finished dish. If the curry is still a little moist, uncover and turn up the heat to boil away some of the liquid before serving.
Basmati rice is best!
Don’t spoil the perfect curry by serving it with inferior rice. Go for a good basmati rice, and add a little turmeric to the cooking water for extra flavour and colour.
Follow these tips and you too can serve up the perfect curry every time!