Everyone loves a curry. From takeaways to pub meals, curries have become our national dish. And, with National Curry Week (10-16 October) on the horizon, a good curry is something that should feature on your menu – they even have their own awards: The British Curry Awards!
Take Stock looks at what makes the perfect curry, provides tips on how to cook traditional curries and introduces three delicious recipes to help bring an authentic taste of India to your outlet.
“National Curry Week is valuable in creating interest in Indian food, but it’s much more important to educate people and teach them to be able to eat and experience real Indian cuisine with delicately balanced spices chosen especially for each dish,” said Anjula Devi, founder of Anjula Devi Authentic Indian Cooking.
Our approach to cooking and eating curry is changing. While our loyalty remains with the tasty tikka masala and the fiery vindaloo, chefs are being encouraged to produce traditional, healthy curries that customers are requesting. “Customers’ perception of a curry is different,” added Enam Ali MBE, founder of The British Curry Awards. “They want change and innovation.”
How to create the perfect curry
“Home cooked Indian food is simpler and tastier,” said Anjula. “The recipe is simply a guide. Of course the base has to be perfected, but after that it’s important that people can experiment and change things around to make the dish their own.”
Anjula shares her top tips
• Start with a simple recipe and build from there.
• Learn what each spice brings to your dish.
• Food eaten in Indian households is simple and healthy – some chefs use large amounts of the clarified butter, ghee, when they have to prepare their dishes in a short amount of time.
• Experiment! Add garlic and ginger halfway through cooking your base, or even towards the end.
• Don’t add all your spices at the same time – layer them and finish with some aromatic spices towards the end of the cooking process.
• Equally, you don’t have to always cook with a large number of spices; identify the ones you like. Recipes are just a guide and can be played around with!
• The most essential item in an Indian household is the masala dabba – the heart and soul of most Indian kitchens. It keeps all your spices in one place, making it easier for you to be organised and prepared.