My Grandma's Top Curry Tips


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Presented at Bettakultcha 4 in Leeds. Sharing some tips for making a good curry.

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  • Hello I’m Monica Tailor and tonight I’m going to give you my grandma’s top curry tips. Inspired by The upcoming World Curry Fest in Leeds I thought I’d share some tips so you can all have a cracking good curry at home rather than a crap takeaway one (anyone who know’s me, know’s I’m a curry snob so) I say they’re my Grandma’s but that’s where I learnt them from, they are actually fairly generic to Gujarati cooking and I’m going to give you some background before we stuck in to the nuts and bolts.
  • Typically this is the type of foods we’d eat at home, not wrapped like a takeaway though ... that would just be weird. But in the picture you’ve got lots of different things, chapattis, the yellow soup in the middle in khadi - very guju - made from yoghurt, curry leaves.
  • My family is from the north west region of India known as Gujarat. Indian food varies hugely across the different regions of India so you might find that these tips are completely ignored in other parts of India. You’ll find out today when we do (and more importantly don’t do at home). Oh and if you don’t already know most Indian curry houses aren’t Indian at all it's most likely to be Pakistani or Bengali ... still good but a bit confusing. If you want to eat out Gujarati food out in Leeds then you should go to hanses on north street
  • This is my grandma She was born in India Moved to Africa and catered for seven families three times a day She still caters at family events She's handed recipes down through the family I'm trying to transcribe them
  • Get your basic spices right This is my spice tin (you can buy them from anywhere these days) In my tin you’ll find chilli powder (the red one) and going clockwise, fenugreek seed, mace, ground coriander and cumin, mustard seeds, carrom seeds and turmeric in the middle
  • Chilli and salt are best friends If your curry is seriously hot then adding more salt with help turn down the heat. It doesn’t cancel it out but it does turn down the sharp chilli flavour and brings out the flavour. It doesn’t always work!
  • Seasoning will bring the flavours together. So if your curry doesn't taste great but you've out lots of spices in already try adding a little more salt. Doesn't have to be salty
  • Don't be shy with the garlic. 2 or 3 cloves is no where near enough. You need at least half a bulb for most curries And yes you'll stink of garlic the next day but it's better than having a crap curry Never add garlic to oil. It burns and tastes bad. Always add it later
  • Curry always starts with a little oil and a flavour such as Cumin, Methi, mace, cloves, cinnamon
  • Curry is always serviced with chopped coriander as a garnish. Don’t cook it in it just sprinkled on top.
  • This is ground cumin and coriander. It’s the curry maker, very strong flavour! It’s called Dhaka Jiru in Gujarati. Coriander and cumin makes everything taste of curry. Add 2 teaspoons and you’ll make anything taste of curry. It’s amazing but it’s abused in takeaways so all curry’s taste really strongly of dhana jiru which ruins it.
  • This is ginger but it should be fish and ginger which don’t go together in gujarati cooking. Not just fish ... any seafood. All fish and seafood dishes have plenty of garlic but no ginger in them. Ba says this is because ginger makes the fish fall apart.
  • All curries have chilli powder, fresh chilli, salt and turmeric ... all the other ingredients come in combinations
  • Do you have a preference between rice and naan? In gujarat we have bread before rice ... we don’t usually have Naan, we have chapattis which are thinner than these. Tricky to make, most people are fascinated by them. Rolled perfectly round and cooked on a naked flame ... fairly dangerous and hard work. Rice follows bread and is used to mop up leftover sauce But never eat rice with the bread ... that’s a no no
  • You can’t have Indian food without knowing a bit of Indian etiquette ... So rule 1, DO belch at the table. It’s not see as rude, if fact it’s a compliment to the chef that you’ve eaten well and are replete!
  • Use your hands ... it’s much more fun and actually a lot more efficient once you get the hang of it. Use small pieces and pinch the curry between finger and thumb. For runny currys roll the bread into a cone and scoop. It takes a bit of practice but it’s a great skill to have ... bit like using chopsticks it’s much more satisfying BUT use your right hand ...
  • Always, always wash your hands after a meal ... You’ve just had chilli and even if you lick your fingers thoroughly you really don’t want to get chilli in your eyes or anywhere else for that matter!
  • This the basic sauce for any type of meat. The most important bit is making sure the onions are fried until golden brown. The paste resulting from the onions and tomatoes is probably a bit thick so it’ll need water to loosen it up. Generally chicken or lamb. Could be mince, pieces, meatballs. Also works really well for poached eggs, make little wells in the sauce and crack eggs into them.
  • This is one of my favourites and really quick and easy. the sauce makes up very quickly. Simmering the sauce for a while helps develop the flavours and when you add the fish it’s poaches in the sauce. You can use fresh tomatoes instead of tinned - just add a squeeze of tomatoe puree and a pinch of sugar to help the tomato flavour develop.
  • Rice seems to be one of those tricky things to get right. I spent years getting it wrong so a few things that might help if you need them. Use basmati rice Old basmati is best Wash the rice in cold water before you cook it to wash out as much starch as you can - keep it fluffy Leave it standing in salted water before cooking Cook in lots of water Once cooked, drain it and then microwave it for two minutes to dry it out
  • My Grandma's Top Curry Tips

    1. 1. My Grandma’s Top Curry Tips <ul><li>@monicatailor </li></ul><ul><li>Monica Tailor of kilo75 </li></ul>
    2. 2. Credit Pabo76 - Flickr
    3. 4. Photo of Ba
    4. 7. Salt Credit Debs (ò‿ó)♪ - Flickr
    5. 8. Credit CarbonNYC - Flickr
    6. 10. Credit John & Gill - Flickr
    7. 12. Credit heymrleej - Flickr
    8. 14. Nan Credit Jeff Cushner - Flickr
    9. 18. Meat Curry <ul><li>Oil, cloves, cinnamon stick </li></ul><ul><li>Add chopped onions fry until golden </li></ul><ul><li>Add tinned crushed tomatoes </li></ul><ul><li>Add garlic, ginger, chilli, chilli power, turmeric, salt </li></ul><ul><li>Add meat </li></ul><ul><li>Simmer until meat is cooked </li></ul><ul><li>Garam masala before serving </li></ul>
    10. 19. Fish curry <ul><li>Oil and fenugreek </li></ul><ul><li>Crushed tomato </li></ul><ul><li>Garlic, ground coriander and cumin,chilli, chilli powder, turmeric, salt, lemon juice </li></ul><ul><li>Add fish or prawns </li></ul><ul><li>Simmer until cooked </li></ul>
    11. 20. Credit Emily Barney - Flickr