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Author Topic: Jb's takeaway base gravy  (Read 176783 times)

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Offline jb

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Jb's takeaway base gravy
« on: July 23, 2014, 08:36 PM »
Here is the base gravy recipe I was recently shown by the chef on my recent takeaway lesson.I have been assured that it EXACTLY how the base gravy is prepared for a night's service,just on a smaller scale.As you can see it is quite similar to other recipes,there are no 'magic' pastes or ingredients.I cooked it in the takeaway kitchen so it should be able to be done in a domestic kitchen.Once it was cooked,I tasted it and compared it to the chef's gravy he had on the go.....It was virtually identical.Indeed although it's similar to other gravies it had a special something that I've not been able to manage before.The chef impressed the point that the onions MUST be cooked until they've virtually melted...that's the key to it's success.

3 kilo white onions(any sort,they chop them so it cooks quicker and it doesn't affect the taste)
1 green pepper/1 red pepper
small bunch corriander stalks
1 small carrot
2 chefs spoon plain veg oil
2 chefs spoon blended plum tomatoes
1 chef spoon ginger garlic
1/2 chef spoon salt
1/2 chef spoon turmeric
1/4 block coconut block

cover with water,put a lid on and then boil on a high heat for two hours until the onions are melting.

Then add 1/4 chef spoon turmeric,tiny amount of chilli powder,1/4 chef spoon cumin powder,1/4 chef spoon corriander powder,1 chef spoon  blended tomatoes.Re-cover and then turn the flame down(so the bottom doesn't catch )and cook for another half an hour,then blend until smooth.

The chef then explained that in the takeaway they leave the gravy like this(it's quite thick) and then add water to thin when they need it.It should be very thin,like watery soup.However when it hits the hot pan it will thicken.Finally take another pan,add a chef's spoon of oil and add a very finely chopped garlic clove and brown it.Tip this into the gravy(rinse the garlic pan out with a spoon of gravy).This seemed to give the gravy a fantastic smokey like flavour.Simmer the sauce for about half an hour and the oil should begin to rise.

So,nothing unusual and certainly no magic paste nonsense.Next time I go to visit the takeaway I will try and go when the chef is making a full size base gravy.Like I said though the gravy I made was a near perfect match to what he was using.

Offline noble ox

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Re: Jb's takeaway base gravy
« Reply #1 on: July 23, 2014, 08:49 PM »
Thanks for sharing jb
Technique and skills rule.... lets hope this kills the magic secret potion followers  etc
Interesting about the extra garlic method looking forward to making this soon

Offline jb

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Re: Jb's takeaway base gravy
« Reply #2 on: July 23, 2014, 08:52 PM »

Watered down gravy with added garlic tarka

Undiluted thick gravy without garlic.

chicken tikka masala and plain chicken curry using my gravy and masala paste....They had the smell and the taste!!

Offline Zap

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Re: Jb's takeaway base gravy
« Reply #3 on: July 23, 2014, 09:30 PM »
Wow, those dishes look excellent!!  Thanks for posting the recipe for the base.  Looking forward to the paste (and the recipes/cook process for those dishes?).

I have a couple of revelations that following this topic has brought.  Maybe they are meaningless, but I think your comments about the base being similar to others ingredient-wise but producing very different results has maybe hit the nail on the head as to the elephant in the room.

It would be very interesting to know just how much additional water is added after finishing the cook process.  The water:base ratio and specifics of the cooking process regarding the onions may play a part in CREATING the flavor (as Chris used to say).  A number of gravies I have made look like the undiluted version above, but I've never substantially diluted them!  I seriously wonder if the dilution plus the cooking process produces some of the flavor which doesn't occur when too much base is present.  Said another way, the added water allows the gravy to cook longer in the pan, the additional reduction and caramelization producing some of the smell and finished dish flavor from the extended cooking and mellowing of the spices. 

Additionally, the finished dish, since the gravy is diluted, will end up having less base as a percentage of its content than if used undiluted in the same measurements, and a number of things I've learned in cooking is that sometimes less is more.  The spices and individual dish components will shine through more since there is less overall onion/base as a percentage of the dish.  That could be part of what makes these takeaway dishes taste differently than many cooked at home is a lack of proportionality that muddies the waters too much.

Do some places use a bhagar?  Absolutely.  Does it make or break a BIR curry - No.  Does it get certain folks closer to THEIR ideal taste?  Yes.  It should be possible to make a curry with the "magic" regardless of what set of restaurant items are being used.  And I think there are still techniques being unearthed which will eventually result in this being possible across a large span of base/mix powder/recipes!

Online Secret Santa

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Re: Jb's takeaway base gravy
« Reply #4 on: July 23, 2014, 10:11 PM »
jb what do you estimate the 'chef spoons' are in tablespoon or teaspoon measures?
Fighting for truth, justice and the BIR way!


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Re: Jb's takeaway base gravy
« Reply #5 on: July 23, 2014, 10:42 PM »
Thank you jb for this recipe.
What you say about the cooking onions correctly strikes well with me as I was also able to obtain that flavour aftertaste/Burp from Mr Sing's Glasgow base, he also suggests the flavour is in the onions.
Looking towards to more of your tips.

Offline rshome123

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Re: Jb's takeaway base gravy
« Reply #6 on: July 23, 2014, 11:16 PM »
Thanks JB, it's very good of you to post.

Offline JerryM

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Re: Jb's takeaway base gravy
« Reply #7 on: July 24, 2014, 08:18 AM »

fantastic post. clearly top notch BIR.

the garlic idea is the Zaal method used at dish fry. doing it at base time is really cute idea and had not thought of myself.

well pleased for you.

Offline jb

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Re: Jb's takeaway base gravy
« Reply #8 on: July 24, 2014, 10:15 AM »
jb what do you estimate the 'chef spoons' are in tablespoon or teaspoon measures?

I had a good look at the spoons the chefs were using(wife thinks I'm a a saddo and should get out more by the way!)

I would say they were equal to 4 tablespoons.Having said that the chef kept saying it's not an exact science,these guys are experts and can do things mostly by eye.I will try and get back in the kitchen asap,I'm welcome anytime.Hopefully I can share some more tips and info....no ebook here!!

Online chewytikka

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Re: Jb's takeaway base gravy
« Reply #9 on: July 24, 2014, 01:29 PM »
Really good fun JB, did you hang around and get offered any Iftar goodies.

Was this better for you than the Zaal visit, i.e. a one to one tutorial with these cooks.

Just to back up your report about adding a Garlic tarka, which is old school BTW and not a lot of my locals do anymore.
I took a phone pic of a 30lt restaurant base last night, you can see the sliced garlic floating on top of the oil, before the base was blended.

Although you say only one clove of Garlic, sliced and fried (Tarka) to finish,
even in a 3kilo base I would use at least 5 cloves of Garlic to get the flavour into it.

Anyhoo, what level would you rate this TA's curries and have you tried any of their speciality dishes.

Good Post ;)
cheers Chewy
Burn those spices "Singefry" and Bhunao are the keys to success.
Smoking Mustard Oil is good for You and your curries.....Lol


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