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British Indian Restaurant Recipes - Main Dishes => British Indian Restaurant Recipes - Main Dishes => Madras => Topic started by: MonsieurBadgerCheese on November 09, 2016, 11:28 PM

Title: MBC's Retro Madras
Post by: MonsieurBadgerCheese on November 09, 2016, 11:28 PM
Good Evening,

I've been working on this for a while and, just now, before posting looked at my last Madras recipe. On one hand, I was a little disappointed that not all that much had changed (memory is going), but on the other hand I was pleased to think that I (at least in my own mind) was barking vaguely up the right tree the first time.

I believe that the few changes (omissions), as subtle as they are, go some way further towards creating the dish that I've been chasing.

Chicken; I'm still going for few, but large pieces of chicken. Now I pre-cook the chicken in the Base Gravy which I later use to produce the dish. I simmer a whole breast for 40 mins or so (a long time, I know, but stick with me - gives the Retro texture that I remember) and then cut it into three or four pieces. I reckon that BIR's had whole chickens/pieces of chicken 'sitting around' in sauce/gravy for hours/days at a time. The chicken, cooked like this, remains moist, still tastes of chicken, and can be broken up by hand, with Roti, in the sauce to achieve the desired combination of meat and sauce.

Tomato paste; Increasingly, I believe that little or none was used. This based purely on my memory of the colour of these dishes in days gone by.

Oil; More rather than less. That 'Old School' sheen on the sauce.

Fresh Coriander; Don't think it was used at this time, so omitted.

Onion Powder; I think this is an important one. Not saying it was used necessarily, but I think it gives a flavour as close as possible to the 'used' Onion Bhaji oil which a lot of us suspect was used in Base Gravy and in the 'fry' stage. Don't skimp on it.

Garlic Powder; As above, but to a lesser extent.

Methi Powder; Just a personal thing, but I believe it's one of the overpowering tastes/smells from BIR of the past.

All Purpose Seasoning; It just makes things taste better. My opinion. Yes, it has MSG in it.

Salt; I will omit it from the list of ingredients, but please do not omit it from the dish. Such a personal thing, and so crucial. Please taste and season before serving, but be aware that the 'All Purpose Seasoning' already has some saltiness.

Technique; I call it the LITFA technique (the first two, and last letters stand for 'Leave, It, Alone' - fill in the blanks). That is, the first ladle of Gravy goes in after the dry ingredients, to quench. The rest goes in in a oner, and the pan is left alone on a medium (that is, on a high-output gas burner) pretty much until the dish is ready (oil separation craters). My Base is thin. I aim to have no sticking to the base of the pan, just a nice caramelised crust around the edge which is stirred in before serving. The addition of the bulk of the Gravy in one go is aiming to produce a lot of fairly 'runny' sauce in the finished dish.


Ingredients

2 CHSP Oil (preferably seasoned)
Good Pinch of Methi Leaves (crumbled between fingers)

Half CHSP Garlic/Ginger Paste
1/3 CHSP Tomato Paste (mine is 1:3 Tom:Water)

Dry Ingredients (Collect together beforehand, in a bowl, for simplicity)

Teaspoons are heaped (rsh)

2 x Mixed Powder
1 x Onion Powder
Half x Garlic Powder
Half x Rajah All Purpose Seasoning
2/3rds of Extra Hot Chilli Powder
Half Methi Powder
Good Pinch of Garam Masala

Pre-cooked chicken, as described above.

Base Gravy. I'm going to say 400ml (otherwise someone will make me pick a number), but really it depends upon how thick you like to use your Base, and how much/what texture of sauce you would like to have in the finished dish.

Method

Standard really, bearing in mind the LITFA tip above.

Medium heat, warm oil. Add Methi Leaf. Stir for a few seconds. Add G/G Paste. Stir for a few seconds. Do not brown. Add dry ingredients. Stir to cook-off spice, but at any sign of catching/browning (or after 30s or so) add tomato paste. Add meat. Stir to coat. Add first ladle of Base to quench. As soon as base is beginning to caramelise, add the rest in one go. Turn up the heat to get a vigorous boil (fry). Stir it in, but then try to leave it until the dish is ready. This is messy. It will spit. I'm banned from the house. Do it outside. Try to resist the temptation to stir/generally mess with it all the time. As the sauce thickens, reduce the heat again. Medium, then low. When you see the 'oil cratering/caramelisation around the edges', stir it in. Check/adjust seasoning. Remove from heat.

Be sure to let this dish significantly cool down before eating. I believe it all tastes better when it's not straight from the cooker.
Title: Re: MBC's Retro Madras
Post by: MonsieurBadgerCheese on November 09, 2016, 11:30 PM
.........photo's to come, whem I work out how to do them on this Forum, thanks.
Title: Re: MBC's Retro Madras
Post by: MonsieurBadgerCheese on November 09, 2016, 11:44 PM
This recipe may make little sense on it's own. It is my recipe, but from CA's Forum (from which I, along with many others have been banned).

My quest is to find the Madras (retro) from the late 70's/early 80's - effectively the 'golden years' of BIR cookery.

Any feedback/suggestions would, of course, be most welcome.

MBC.
Title: Re: MBC's Retro Madras
Post by: Peripatetic Phil on November 10, 2016, 09:06 AM
All seems good to me, especially the need for ground fenugreek ('though I would personally dress with fresh coriander at the end, simply because I love the effect) but what does this part mean ?
Quote
The rest goes in in a oner
** Phil.
Title: Re: MBC's Retro Madras
Post by: Unclefrank on November 10, 2016, 10:32 AM
Made this last night, followed recipe to the letter.
While cooking i tasted it after reducing the last ladle base and i wasn't impressed at all, any way placed in a dish and finished my other half's Chicken Tikka Masala, served with naan and Basmati rice,, the Madras was sitting on my food tray for 10 around  minutes, sat down and teared a bit of naan bread off and dipped into the Madras sauce and WOW what a lovely and flavour some dish, the chicken was absolutely superb, finished the lot and have made another one this morning to have later on tonight for tea.
Thank you very much for this recipe, an absolutely wonderful tasting dish.
(http://www.curry-recipes.co.uk/imagehost/pics/7486d151de4f5b0160c192c1e237b1bc.jpg) (http://www.curry-recipes.co.uk/imagehost/#7486d151de4f5b0160c192c1e237b1bc.jpg)

(http://www.curry-recipes.co.uk/imagehost/pics/1232f430829413b41b7dc9b89d9cdfc9.jpg) (http://www.curry-recipes.co.uk/imagehost/#1232f430829413b41b7dc9b89d9cdfc9.jpg)

(http://www.curry-recipes.co.uk/imagehost/pics/b69e3cd8757142b9a5d7fad2c139bab2.jpg) (http://www.curry-recipes.co.uk/imagehost/#b69e3cd8757142b9a5d7fad2c139bab2.jpg)
Title: Re: MBC's Retro Madras
Post by: Onions on November 10, 2016, 12:57 PM
Uncle Frank, so it was the ten minute rest that made all the difference you think?
Title: Re: MBC's Retro Madras
Post by: Unclefrank on November 10, 2016, 02:42 PM
Whether it was my technique cooking the dish that resulted in the confusing flavour for me, but that extra 10 minutes to let the dish stand made this dish a cracker, the flavour is wonderful, that tingle on the lips, the heat in the mouth also, excellent.
I forgot to add that i did add 1/4 tsp sugar but that is my tastes, can't wait to try the one i cooked this morning to try tonight, also my kitchen smells divine.
Title: Re: MBC's Retro Madras
Post by: littlechilie on November 10, 2016, 04:45 PM
Hi, welcome to CRO forum, i had a read of the recipe. It looks apears to me there is way to much spice for a madras, after using 1/2 a chef spoon of G+G why would you add garlic powdered and onion powder? Also 2x tsp of mixpowder is going to overpower the madras..
Do you have a base sauce to use with the Madras? As i could only see a pure onion base with no added spice working here.
Lots of great Madras recipies on here Chewy Tikka has a classic madras video that is as good as it gets. I find Madras sauce facinating because of its simplicity!
Sorry just to many flavors going on here.....
Thanks Lc.
Title: Re: MBC's Retro Madras
Post by: loveitspicy on November 10, 2016, 10:38 PM
HI MBC

How was India? Sounds as if you had in well and truly tasted.....

Nice to see you on here along with the rest of the banned.

Will give this ago in a couple of days at the weekend - UF enjoyed it

best, Rich
Title: Re: MBC's Retro Madras
Post by: pete on November 11, 2016, 08:23 AM
Hi, welcome to CRO forum, i had a read of the recipe. It looks apears to me there is way to much spice for a madras, after using 1/2 a chef spoon of G+G why would you add garlic powdered and onion powder? Also 2x tsp of mixpowder is going to overpower the madras..
Do you have a base sauce to use with the Madras? As i could only see a pure onion base with no added spice working here.
Lots of great Madras recipies on here Chewy Tikka has a classic madras video that is as good as it gets. I find Madras sauce facinating because of its simplicity!
Sorry just to many flavors going on here.....
Thanks Lc.
this is not a modern madras though , it's a totally different flavour MBC is trying to create
Title: Re: MBC's Retro Madras
Post by: Unclefrank on November 11, 2016, 09:08 AM
.
Title: Re: MBC's Retro Madras
Post by: fried on November 11, 2016, 10:27 AM
Interesting, I seem to remember CA's mix powder used garlic powder and ground fenugrek. I'll have to give this a go. There are as many 'Madrases' a there are fish in the sea.
Title: Re: MBC's Retro Madras
Post by: littlechilie on November 11, 2016, 10:51 AM
Thanks for the welcome but i have been a member on here for over 8 years, got a bit fed up with the all the bickering and what not and so called know-it-answers, not sure how you can tell how a dish is going to taste without even trying the said dish, the use of garlic and onion powder gives a different texture and flavour to the dish, you should know this if you can tell what a dish is going to taste like without even making the dish.
Please try the dish first before you comment,
Nothing changes on this site.

Well tried this again last night after making the Madras in the morning and left until around 7 o'clock and what a difference the flavour in this dish is tremendous, going to make this for a few customers for a free-bee and see what they think of it.

Hi, I read through all the comments and post again to see if my opinion differed but I'm afraid it didn't, UF my welcome and comment about the recipe was to the (OR) poster. Lots of things have changed on this forum for the better of late,  but we all still have opinions here unlike the place you have been using.
For me a Madras is a Madras, we have lots of first hand accounts of there prep and Origin, why add things that no longer make it a Madras sauce?
Sorry if my opinion upsets you but it's my opinion, I'm not disputing your claim it tasted good but you can't sell a curry and advise customers to let it sit for a few hours.
Thanks LC.
Title: Re: MBC's Retro Madras
Post by: Unclefrank on November 11, 2016, 03:22 PM
.
Title: Re: MBC's Retro Madras
Post by: MonsieurBadgerCheese on November 12, 2016, 01:20 AM
Good Evening Gents,

In order to try to answer a few questions - but firstly, Uncle Frank - I am flattered - thanks for your feedback. I know that you are a very experienced BIR chef, and I have followed your posts for a long time, and enjoyed your recipes.

Litlechille,

I see your point. It is over-spiced for a Madras. Perhaps the concept was lost as the recipe was part of an on-going thread about 1970s/1980s 'retro-dishes'. I love heavy-use of G/G paste, but the use of (especially) onion, and also garlic powder is to simulate the 'dirty' taste that I believe comes from the use of 'used' oil (Bhajee oil) in the old T/A's of yesteryear.

I believe that Methi Powder is THE taste of BIR (and the smell of the curtains and carpet), so make no apologies for that.

Pete,

Exactly!

loveitspicy,

India was great, thanks, but that's for a whole new thread!!

fried:

Give it a go. It's not for everybody, but I'd welcome your feedback. As UF has confirmed, let it sit before you eat it. I prefer it the next day.

Onions

Yep! Let it rest.

MBC.
Title: Re: MBC's Retro Madras
Post by: Secret Santa on November 13, 2016, 11:52 AM
I believe that Methi Powder is THE taste of BIR (and the smell of the curtains and carpet), so make no apologies for that.

By "Methi Powder" do you mean ground dried methi leaf or ground methi seed? If methi seed I'm baffled that you think it makes any difference whatsoever as I cannot discern any difference in a curry with some and without in my tests.

Methi leaf on the other hand is definitely a component of true BIR, although that is probably a regional thing as well.
Title: Re: MBC's Retro Madras
Post by: Invisible Mike on November 13, 2016, 10:25 PM
I thought tonight I'd join the club! I'm going to have to disagree with SS though but only slightly... I initially got a missing flavour from the fenugreek seed which I got quite excited about but then the overpowering garlic and onion powders took over and it was lost never to return... I think I'd like to try it in my own madras recipe and investigate it further. At the right level it could well become a staple ingredient in a mix powder.

I recall ground fenugreek seed in the Undercover Curry base so Dave Loynden obviously witnessed it being used in the BIR kitchen.

MM
Title: Re: MBC's Retro Madras
Post by: MonsieurBadgerCheese on November 14, 2016, 11:04 PM
Evening,

Secret Santa;

Agreed about Methi Leaf, but in this case I was referring to ground Methi seed.

Mushroom Mike;

Interesting feedback, thanks. Maybe I overdid the onion and garlic then. Will keep adjusting. When I started experimenting with onion powder, I thought I was onto something. Was tasting the 'onion-bhajee oil' flavour (and having the BIR burps for a good while after). Maybe the garlic powder was a step too far!? Sticking with my theory about Methi powder though.

MBC

Title: Re: MBC's Retro Madras
Post by: Invisible Mike on November 15, 2016, 12:03 AM
MBC

I've used garlic powder in mix powder (kushi spice) before and certainly does no harm in small quantities. But hey if your recipe works for your particular taste then why change it!

I'm definitely going to put 1/2 a tsp of ground methi in my next curry though. I think it's well worth investigating.

MM
Title: Re: MBC's Retro Madras
Post by: chewytikka on November 15, 2016, 02:22 AM
Hi MBC
Not knocking your personal Quest, as its quite humorous
Gave me the vision of you smelling the curtains and carpet of a BIR in whatever bygone decade. ;D ;D
One waiter to another - Oh! thats the guy who smells the curtains - matadoss ;D

Its probably true of most expats, who long for a British Indian Curry
and romance about the golden age of the 70s / 80s curries.
(CA and a few others spring to mind) nostalgic nonsense and a fruitless pursuit of something unattainable.

Nothing retro about your dish as its not based in reality
Onion Powder, Garlic Powder, All Purpose Seasoning, all a bit of a nonsense.
NOT USED in a BIR Madras or anything else and never were, even in the 70s

I can remember fresh Coriander used as far back as the 70s
A pinch of Coriander and or Methi Leaf in a Madras still is and was dependant on the Chef.

That Old Bhaji/Chip oil notion.(Chestnut)
Never did see any BIR kitchen reusing Bhaji/Chip oil to start off a curry in the 70s,
mainly because your 70s curries were made with vegetable ghee.

You might not be used to writing recipes,
but you seem to be confusing yourself with Methi powder in your recipe and Kasoori Methi in your method

Fenugreek (methi) Powder is a secondary spice in BIR and rarely has a use.

Anyhoo, thanks for posting. ;) :D
cheers Chewy
Title: Re: MBC's Retro Madras
Post by: MonsieurBadgerCheese on November 16, 2016, 09:16 AM
Hi chewytikka,

Haha, ok, that's me told! Guess you're right, it's probably just 'romantic ex-pat nonsense'. Maybe I've been away too long!

You're right. I'm not that used to posting recipes, and am more than open to criticism. Was just trying to contribute by sharing some thoughts. Glad to be educated though, and look forward to trying some of the recipes on the Forum here.

The 'Indian' restaurants here in Lyon are so bad that perhaps I've just convinced myself that anything is better!

Thanks for your input.

MBC

Title: Re: MBC's Retro Madras
Post by: Garp on November 16, 2016, 12:22 PM
Hi MBC.

Haven't tried this yet but I have to agree about the methi (both ground seed and leaf). When I first started trying to make BIR-style curries, I used a base with fenugreek powder in it and I still use it. I also add it to my spice mix. I totally agree that fenugreek gives that BIR flavour to a dish.

Have to agree about Lyon curries. :)
Title: Re: MBC's Retro Madras
Post by: pete on November 16, 2016, 06:46 PM
will try this recipe on Saturday. I am totally clear on the different flavours between the two types of curry. I have been lucky enough to tsste the old style BIR gravy. It is subtle and absolutely gorgeous. Its the underlying flavour of all the curries. The cooking methods for the curries are far simpler. Sometimes all thats needed is extra chilli. The old style BIR base is nothing like modern bases. One incredibly important ingredient is the old bhajee oil. This oil is heavy with all sorts of flavours. It almost sets when its chilled. I've seen it on many occasions.Its real and you cant make genuine old school BIR without it. Not trying to start an argument, but just because you've not seen something doesn't make it untrue, does it? I have had so much enjoyment from Chewys recipes.Reading and trying them. But I feel his critisism is unfair. Perhaps what I have seen is a local thing but then again, perhaps what he knows is
Title: Re: MBC's Retro Madras
Post by: littlechilie on November 18, 2016, 06:58 PM
Hi chewytikka,

Haha, ok, that's me told! Guess you're right, it's probably just 'romantic ex-pat nonsense'. Maybe I've been away too long!

You're right. I'm not that used to posting recipes, and am more than open to criticism. Was just trying to contribute by sharing some thoughts. Glad to be educated though, and look forward to trying some of the recipes on the Forum here.

The 'Indian' restaurants here in Lyon are so bad that perhaps I've just convinced myself that anything is better!

Thanks for your input.

MBC

Glad your seeing the light MBC  above are wise words. As iposted at the start of your thread and got shot down by a couple of quick to stick!
Title: Re: MBC's Retro Madras
Post by: MonsieurBadgerCheese on November 19, 2016, 10:07 AM
Thanks for further highlighting the error of my ways, littlechilie. Not sure what you are trying to achieve though. Clearly you are quite the authority on all things BIR, so I look forward to any constructive advice which you may have to offer.

MBC.
Title: Re: MBC's Retro Madras
Post by: littlechilie on November 19, 2016, 12:17 PM
Thanks MBC, bir is not about authority but about mastering the use of simple but effective ingredients, it's when we try to step outside this boundary we go wrong. I wish you great success in mastering the great resources on the forum and look forwards to your imput and achievements.
Best Lc. :)
Title: Re: MBC's Retro Madras
Post by: pete on November 19, 2016, 09:58 PM
I made this tonight with king prawns. It does have something of the old style curries about it, but it is still missing that special flavour.Maybe its the base I used. That onion powder is odd stuff,though. It smells almost like fried onion. A very enjoyable curry but sorry MBC not quite there for me. Sorry I can't be more constructive. Short of the manky old oil, I can't think how to change it
Title: Re: MBC's Retro Madras
Post by: pete on November 20, 2016, 01:23 PM
Been thinking about this
I would love to get the flavour I'm after
I had pretty much given up, but this sort of set me off again
I think the fenugreek seed powder is right
The onion powder certainly does no harm and it does have a fried onion aroma
I don't think it needs tomato puree, it's too strong a flavour
I think blended canned tomatoes is closer
garlic ginger is right too
maybe not the garlic powder
I reckon that the base needs to be different
I think a very simple base made with Onion garlic ginger but also chicken bones/scraps and not overspiced
Maybe bayleaf and cardomon
There's got be someone who knows
This is just so frustrating

About five years ago I was in a takeaway kitchen and  allowed to cook my own curry using an old style base.
Absolutely nothing clever about cooking the curry
None of this "pre heat the pan, get the oil really hot, don't burn the garlic, fry out the spices" milarky
All you did was heat the curry gravy, add a little salt, chilli powder and pre cooked main ingredients.
The curry I cooked was a perfect madras

Maybe a pinch of fenugreek leaves or garam masala went into other curries I saw prepared
A couple had a prefried garlic paste
Some had some deep fried onion and peppers added
A few had cream, coconut powder, sugar, red masala paste added
But it's REALLY simple stuff when you've got this base

I was lucky enough to see the base prepared and it's so simple except for one ingredient
This flavoured oil

Basically the gravy is loads of onions & a small can of tomatoes boiled with salt and turmeric
After one a half hours, add curry powder and about two litres of strained old oil

Straining takes out all the burnt bits and impurities left behind

As soon as this oil goes in the gravy, the BIR aroma magically appears
You know that smell when you open a carton of curry
Or the smell on the carrier bag which has got about three curries in
Well it's that, except much bigger because there is so much in the pot

I've even tasted this oil on it's own
It was kept in a fridge
It's slightly hot, and has a used slightly spicy flavour
It's not as runny as fresh oil and the base of the container seems to be almost setting (maybe ghee or fat?)
I don't know if it's just from cooking bhajees or chicken or what
But I got quite obsessed with trying to duplicate it
and I failed

I cook some really great curries
But I want to cook the best
And old style BIR are the best

Title: Re: MBC's Retro Madras
Post by: chewytikka on November 23, 2016, 01:35 AM
All a bit psychotic pete,
A quite sad and misguided view, that as you say and seem to think (adamant)
that members won’t be able to cook old school BIR curries without old Manky Bhaji Oil

I find it amazing, after years of curry fiddling you still fail to cook a Madras.
Hope you post a photo if you ever manage it.

Your posts do remind me of another member Haldi, are you related?
He used to post the same nonsense, practically word for word ::) ;D

curry psychosis, goes well with a Garlic Naan. ;)
cheers Chewy
Title: Re: MBC's Retro Madras
Post by: Nick D on November 23, 2016, 07:11 PM
what a narrow minded & arrogant response Chewy!

Totally agree Pete, used to have a restaurant madras from a place that closed around 20 years ago they only had a hand full of dishes on the menu the madras and vinderloo were incredible the sauce was runnier than modern style and golden brown in colour not bright red! the chicken was off the bone (not breast)
Would really like to recreate the Madras of that era.

I have also seen spiced oil in the fridge in a restaurant kitchen destined for the gravy.
There is a definite difference between a home cooked and a restaurant base gravy sample.
Title: Re: MBC's Retro Madras
Post by: pete on November 23, 2016, 08:38 PM
Totally agree Pete, used to have a restaurant madras from a place that closed around 20 years ago
Thanks for the support Nick!
I find it amazing, after years of curry fiddling you still fail to cook a Madras.
Hope you post a photo if you ever manage it.

Your posts do remind me of another member Haldi, are you related?
He used to post the same nonsense, practically word for word ::) ;D

curry psychosis, goes well with a Garlic Naan. ;)
cheers Chewy

I make Madras with the correct look and texture
People tell me it's better than the takeaways round here
But I can tell a difference
Missing a flavour

and yes, I posted for years under the name Haldi
I thought using a "user name" was just a better idea
But recently I thought it doesn't bother me any more,, so I posted under my original registered name

I've enjoyed your recipes Chewy
I've cooked quite a few, including the madras
But they don't match the flavour I'm after
Is that being psycotic, noticing that?
But your videos are great, and the curries I have cooked of yours are very good

In fact the worcester sauce ingredient in your recipe,, took me right back to my pre cr0 days
I bought recipes from someone (who later posted as CurryQueen on here) and she used Worcester Sauce in her recipes
It's a flavour that really fills a "gap", but it's not used in any of the places I have been into, and  influences the final taste of the dish
Some of her recipes were really good too

Anyhow, I guess it just shows that you don't know or understand the taste I'm after.
Probably a good thing, because I don't think it's possible to create at home anyhow
But maybe the biggest difference is that I don't think the less of you, because you don't understand something I've written

The closest I have got to an Old School BIR was from the Glasgow Recipes by Alex Wilkie
Have you tried any of his stuff?
That's very good too
Title: Re: MBC's Retro Madras
Post by: Onions on November 23, 2016, 09:01 PM
All a bit psychotic pete,
A quite sad and misguided view, that as you say and seem to think (adamant)
that members won’t be able to cook old school BIR curries without old Manky Bhaji Oil

I find it amazing, after years of curry fiddling you still fail to cook a Madras.
Hope you post a photo if you ever manage it.

Your posts do remind me of another member Haldi, are you related?
He used to post the same nonsense, practically word for word ::) ;D

curry psychosis, goes well with a Garlic Naan. ;)
cheers Chewy

A post just like the bhaji oil. :)
Title: Re: MBC's Retro Madras
Post by: Peripatetic Phil on November 24, 2016, 08:01 AM
and yes, I posted for years under the name Haldi
I thought using a "user name" was just a better idea
But recently I thought it doesn't bother me any more,, so I posted under my original registered name
Welcome back, Haldi/Pete !
** Phil.
Title: Re: MBC's Retro Madras
Post by: Secret Santa on November 25, 2016, 09:38 PM
What you have to appreciate Chewy is that you're cooking modern style generic junk that any old fool can churn out, as many BIRs do. Some of us (Pete, me and a few other forum members) still yearn for a missing flavour that just hasn't been created by anyone on the forum.

Stick with your Northern style curries if that's what you like but they are a pale imitation of a decent BIR curry from the 70s and early 80s.
Title: Re: MBC's Retro Madras
Post by: pete on December 04, 2016, 08:44 PM
Still working on this one and getting closer
Got a perfect texture on this last try
I used the elements that were correct, from the last attempt
I may still be missing something but that's better than having a flavour in that you don't want
If you look at all the different madras recipes that are out there , it becomes obvious how many different variations there are.
Some use garlic, some use garlic ginger, some use whole spice, some just ground spices, some fry onion, some fry onion and pepper
So trying to get YOUR perfect madras really involves a lot of experimentation
Because it is a simple flavour, it's very easily ruined or masked with an unwanted flavour

The old school madras, which I am chasing,  was very saucy
No pieces of onion or peppers
Just sauce with chicken or prawns or lamb or vegetables

So I made  a very simple base
I boiled a few onions with oil, water, garlic, salt and chilli powder for 40 minutes, then I blended it
I heated a little oil and added a chef spoon garlic ginger and fried without burning for a minute
Then I added 1 desert spoon chilli powder, 1 desert spoon fenugreek leaves, and 1 desert spoon of this onion powder (a cheat perhaps, but it definitely helps)

Stirred a minute then added a half ladle of base
I reduced this right down to almost dry and added the king prawns and a little salt
Stirred a minutes then added half a can of blended tinned tomatoes (200g)
I don't believe the places, I used to go to, used tomato puree

Heated this through then added a couple of ladles of the base
Put the lid on the pan for about four minutes and served with a squeeze of lemon

This is the closest I have been to a retro curry
There's room for tweeks

I could add maybe a spice mix in, or maybe a little ground cumin or maybe more fenugreek
But it really was an excellent curry
Very pleased with it
I don't have a photo
But it looked really right, on the plate
The right colour and texture and a very nice flavour
Title: Re: MBC's Retro Madras
Post by: Shami on December 19, 2016, 04:10 PM
I would like to give this a go Pete, could you post the quantities for your simple base etc. please?

All the best
Title: Re: MBC's Retro Madras
Post by: pete on December 21, 2016, 08:29 AM
The simple onion base was three medium onions, 3 cloves garlic, 2 tablespoons of oil, half teaspoon salt, half teaspoon chilli powder and 500ml of water. I boiled this together for 40 minutes and blended when cool.
The thing is, I tried to tinker with this old school madras recipe the other day and ruined it.
I added a spice mix with the  chilli and totally mucked it up
So I don't think it needs any more spicing than chilli powder
I believe it's very important to add the fenugreek leaves at the start
You get a different result adding later
Madras seems to be the hardest curry to make
The stronger flavoured curries, such as Balti, Korma, Tikka Masala, Pathia are fairly straight forward to get a match.
Soon as you add sugar or pastes they dominate the dish's flavour and that's probably the flavour you want the dish to taste like