As a nation of curry lovers, classics such as a hot vindaloo or a creamy tikka masala will always have pride of place in the hearts of UK diners. However, thanks to changing appetites and street food the move towards more authentic and healthier curries is growing stronger. With a 26.5% growth in curry sales over a two-year period*, operators are being encouraged to add an Indian offering to their menu. National Curry Week (9-15 Oct) is a great opportunity to spice up your menu with new dishes or old favourites.
Keep it authentic
Customers want to be served traditional, home-cooked Indian food, which is simple, tasty and healthy. “When it comes to Indian food, most people think oily, rich, creamy and over-spiced based on their experiences,”said Anjula Devi, cook and author of Spice for Life. “Yet Indian food is only meant to have a little warmth; the spices should be bouncing around your palate, with just a touch of warmth at the back of your throat.”
Anjula Devi’s top tips to create the perfect curry:
• Start with a simple recipe and build from there
• Learn what each spice brings to your dish
• Don’t add all your spices at the same time – layer them and finish with some aromatic spices towards the end
• Recipes are just a guide, so experiment with spices and identify the ones you like – a dish doesn’t have to contain the lot!
• The most essential item is the masala dabba – it keeps all your spices in one place, making it easier for you to be organised and prepared
The Schwartz collection of spices and Indian spice blends help chefs create authentic, aromatic dishes and are perfect to sprinkle over stir-fried vegetables or into curries to further enhance the warm, spicy, on trend flavours.
Inspiration of street food
Street food is now one of the country’s biggest culinary trends. A Birmingham-based Indian burrito chain has become one of the UK’s fastest growing restaurant chains in percentage terms, growing from one to ten outlets in three years*. Operators can cash in on the trend and offer Indian food to go. Add Indian flavours to stir fried pork or chicken and wrap in an Indian flat bread or tortilla with shredded red and white cabbage for a perfect lunch option that’s also super healthy.
Twist on the favourites
For those customers who are still wary of eating hot and spicy dishes, why not tempt them with a more subtle approach by adding layers of flavours to their favourite dishes, so they get to try the spice without the heat? National Curry Week is the perfect time to try this by tweaking your menu to offer Indian-inspired innovations. The range of Schwartz spice blends from ground coriander, turmeric and cumin, to cinnamon sticks, fennel seeds and crushed chillies can be sprinkled over chips and wedges, stirred into dips and mayonnaise and even baked into bread mixes. It also enables you to charge a premium price.
When it comes to curry, most people will automatically think of lager or white wine. Yes they’re great matches, however there are some surprising options that you should try too!
Alsatian Pinot Gris – Thai green and mild/medium hot curries
Off dry German/Austrian Reisling – chicken, fish and vegetable curries
Semillion or Colombard Chardonnay – mild creamy curries
Fruity Rosé (not Provence) – anything!
Rioja – Rogan Josh and spicy lamb
Pinotage – hot curries
Shiraz – tomato and meat curries
American Carmenère – masala and tandoori dishes
Indian pale ale
And for something different…
Pimm’s isn’t just for summer, it’s a great accompaniment to curry and perfect for diners who don’t want beer or wine with their meal.