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Author Topic: How do you know when you are "there" ?  (Read 4117 times)

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Offline Peripatetic Phil

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Re: How do you know when you are "there" ?
« Reply #20 on: January 26, 2019, 12:10 PM »
I'm sorry if that was misleading
No,  I meant after countless recipes, I don't believe you can make a restaurant curry base at home.
I think the result is only obtainable by using seasoned bhajee oil and cooking on a very large scale

OK, let me (if I may) attempt to clarify the last part.  You will, I think, agree that most BIRs cook meals to order, and each pan contains one person's curry (in general).  So the actual cooking of the final dish is not done on a large scale, it is done one dish at a time.  If we eliminate that stage, the only thing that can be "cooked on a very large scale" is the base.  Is this actually what you meant ?  Sorry if I seem obtuse, but I really want to understand your point.

** Phil.
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Offline Sverige

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Re: How do you know when you are "there" ?
« Reply #21 on: January 26, 2019, 02:24 PM »
Pete, I hear you and think you're referring to "the taste" - that special elusive smell and flavour we associate with good BIR food and which seems harder to find these days?

I don't agree this has to come from using bhaji oil in the base and I wouldn't be keen on buying my takeaways from a place which cooked like this. I believe the aroma is the result of well cooked (long / slow cooked) spices and onions and although it may arise in oil which has been used for lots of bhajis, there are other ways to skin the cat, so to speak.

I believe bunjarra is a much undervalued component, increasingly omitted by BIRs as it takes too much manual labour to produce it, but when added to the precooks of the veg and meat, it introduces "the taste" into the final dishes.

Let me say however, I do not have a good bunjarra recipe and don't think the Ashoka one which is on this forum is especially close to what I'm seeking. A very long cook which lets the deep savoury spice flavours leach into the oil and onions seems essential, with Asian bay being a key component.
« Last Edit: January 26, 2019, 03:33 PM by Sverige »


Offline livo

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Re: How do you know when you are "there" ?
« Reply #22 on: January 26, 2019, 09:45 PM »
Can good 100% restaurant quality BIR dishes be perfectly replicated at home? This question would be best answered by a person who works in the job and cooks at home. A BIR chef who lives in a home with a kitchen. There must be at least one such individual in the UK.  Is that person able to accomplish replicated BIR dishes at home? If that individual can do it, anyone can, if they know how. I'll wager it can be done.

The aroma I associate with Indian Takeaway or Restaurant probably comes from the volume and variety of dishes, spices and the tandoor. I now own one.. Fenugreek amongst others is prominent. Sverige espouses Tejpat. Nothing new here.

Base gravy is onion stew. Using the same ratio of ingredient and method in a big batch or small makes little to no difference. Individual serve dishes cooked on gas is achievable anywhere provided you have gas. Sorry to the electric only club.  The use of aluminium curry pans is widely discussed.  I now own one. Onion paste or not? If it's not used in business, why use it at home? Unless you like it or its actually required in a dish.

If it is as so often claimed that 100% is not achievable at home, the question has to be, why not?  I'll admit that as Pete described, sometimes it just seems to work, while other times, it doesn't quite do it. That is my input. Not a mystery. I hope I'm wrong and someone just says, hey add this.  Dagar Phool anybody? ;D
Whiskey is the answer, but what was the question?

Offline pete

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Re: How do you know when you are "there" ?
« Reply #23 on: January 26, 2019, 10:58 PM »
the only thing that can be "cooked on a very large scale" is the base.  Is this actually what you meant ?  Sorry if I seem obtuse, but I really want to understand your point.
** Phil.
Hi Phil
Yes the base must be cooked on a large scale, or it doesn;'t taste right

I have been lucky enough to be allowed to cook my own curry in the kitchens of a few takeaways
The magic comes every time from the base as it's heated
it is an absolutely wonderful aroma
it's the base that has the flavour and aroma I can't make at home
you can add tomato puree to it
spices
garlic ginger
coriander
etc
and they are important and so is the cooking technique
but it's the base which is the irreplaceable ingredient if you want it to be exactly like a BIR

I can make great curries, that people tell me are better than curries they buy
But I have never been totally satisfied
Especially if you try a bit of curry cold
it is missing a flavour and depth
I think the cold curry test is very accurate for flavour analysis

I really do respect other peoples views on this issue
and perhaps I am wrong
But I truly believe the base is the most important ingredient to create a BIR flavour and aroma

if you are making a very strong flavoured curry, the difference is not so obvious
Curries with lots of sugar, garlic, pickle or cream are a better result

I would love to arrange a get together for us, to actually taste each others curries
I would be more than delighted to be shown I am wrong
Seriously I would
because this flavour search  started as an interest,  became a hobby, and grew to an absolute obsession
and you know, at the end of the day
That's  not what I wanted

I only started posting as Haldi because the recipes I posted on this site, were shown me in confidence
I had no permission to share them
I got a bit paranoid that they might put 2 and 2 together, if they saw their recipe and my name,  side by side
Silly eh?
Sorry if I've upset anyone





Offline livo

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Re: How do you know when you are "there" ?
« Reply #24 on: January 27, 2019, 12:27 AM »
I can't speak for others Pete, but you haven't upset me. This has triggered (re-triggered) a good discussion,  It is a theme that goes all the way back to the very beginning and is "The Question" of BIR. Whenever you read over older threads this is commonly found.

But it intrigues me that you consider BIR base gravy impossible to replicate at home on a small scale.  I have a huge crab boiler (25 l) and as far as I'm concerned if I filled it with the same ingredients in the same ratios as I would in my 10 litre pot, or my 4 litre pot, and cooked it the same way for the same time I would just end up with a huge amount of the same thing, or at least so close it doesn't matter. Obviously I would require a large burner for enough heat but I have that.

If the curry you have been able to prepare at the commercial kitchen, using the commercial base gravy, tastes better than your home cooked versions then it could be the base gravy, BUT, it must be a different base gravy. That doesn't mean you can't make the same one at home.  You just haven't been shown what goes in it.

Or it could be the heat factor from the commercial hob.  This has also been discussed, but it would affect the finished dish cooking rather than the base gravy.
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Offline Peripatetic Phil

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Re: How do you know when you are "there" ?
« Reply #25 on: January 27, 2019, 09:37 AM »
Yes the base must be cooked on a large scale, or it doesn;'t taste right

Thank you for that clarification.

Quote
I have been lucky enough to be allowed to cook my own curry in the kitchens of a few takeaways.  The magic comes every time from the base as it's heated.    It is an absolutely wonderful aroma

OK, more clarification sought — when it is heated by itself, or when it is added to a dish in preparation and heated ?

Quote
Especially if you try a bit of curry cold.  It is missing a flavour and depth.  I think the cold curry test is very accurate for flavour analysis

Well, I cooked two lamb and one chicken curry for friends (at their home) during the week, and asked which was the best.  They picked the karahi lamb.  When I came home I tried a piece cold and it was indeed first-class.  So last night I took the remains of the kahari lamb and the pulao rice to Mrs Bari (who owns and runs the one-woman Golden Temple restaurant in Bodmin) and said I would value her opinion.  She didn't have time to try it then, as she was too busy cooking for me and for my fellow guests, but I am sure I will get good (and honest) feedback when I visit her again next weekend.  I will report back.

Quote
I would love to arrange a get together for us, to actually taste each others curries.

George came up with that idea about ten years ago (I think he called it "Come dine with me") but I don't believe it even took off.  I would certainly be happy to cook for fellow CR0 members, but the chances of there being many of them within travelling distance of Cornwall is sadly rather remote ..
.
Quote
I only started posting as Haldi because the recipes I posted on this site, were shown me in confidence.  I had no permission to share them.  I got a bit paranoid that they might put 2 and 2 together, if they saw their recipe and my name,  side by side

Well I never. I never knew (or even suspected) that.  Thank you for taking us into your confidence.

** Phil.
« Last Edit: January 27, 2019, 12:56 PM by Peripatetic Phil »
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Offline Secret Santa

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Re: How do you know when you are "there" ?
« Reply #26 on: January 27, 2019, 06:57 PM »
If the curry you have been able to prepare at the commercial kitchen, using the commercial base gravy, tastes better than your home cooked versions then it could be the base gravy, BUT, it must be a different base gravy. That doesn't mean you can't make the same one at home.  You just haven't been shown what goes in it.

I think you're missing the point of Pete's assertion. First, Pete has been into actual takeaways and seen exactly how they prepare their base. Second, the missing flavour is coming from the way the restaurant/takeaways use their oil. They deep fry bhajis by the score, poppadoms, chips, etc., etc and it's this super spiced, well tempered, old oil that ultimately gets (or maybe used to get) used in the base. Chinese takeaways do exactly the same. Now, unlike Pete, I believe you are right in saying it can be recreated at home but only if you are prepared to go full BIR and cook both the range and quantity of the aforementioned items that they would cook between oil changes. No small endeavour I think you would acknowledge?

This is, as I think you alluded to, going over old ground that goes back to the start of this forum and reappears as a topic not infrequently as new members come along. We had great discussions and people actually cooking lots of bhajis to try to get the same effect but it misses all the other things they deep fry in there and so was doomed to failure. I did it myself and it definitely helps but my effort was small scale and incomplete and so fails the full-on BIR test. This is the essence of Pete's argument I believe in asserting that it can't be made at home.

Around the late eighties/early nineties we started recycling oil in the UK and it got collected by the local council. Prior to that there would be a cost to the takeaway/restaurant to have this oil taken away. So before the old oil started being collected for free (I believe it could even be sold) it would be recycled in the curries and in the base to get rid of as much as possible through the good old customer's stomach. Hence, no doubt, the real reason we used to see curries served swimming in oil to a greater extent than we do today.

It's no small coincidence to me that I noticed the gradual loss of the "taste" - as I know it - in BIR curries around this same time. In retrospect it all makes sense to me.

BTW Pete if this isn't what you mean don't be backward in coming forward and telling me ... I can take it!  :)
« Last Edit: January 27, 2019, 07:20 PM by Secret Santa »
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Offline Secret Santa

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Re: How do you know when you are "there" ?
« Reply #27 on: January 27, 2019, 07:18 PM »
I don't agree this has to come from using bhaji oil in the base and I wouldn't be keen on buying my takeaways from a place which cooked like this.

First I don't think you'd know and second because of that you almost certainly have had it at some time. Unless, that is, you're not in the UK and/or have only started eating BIR curries in the past twenty years or so. This has been and will continue to be one of the greatest problems of this forum.

Quote
I believe bunjarra is a much undervalued component, increasingly omitted by BIRs as it takes too much manual labour to produce it, but when added to the precooks of the veg and meat, it introduces "the taste" into the final dishes.

To be precise, it introduces your perception of "the taste" as we don't know what each other's perceptions are. Just based on what you've written though yours is very different to mine and probably Pete's. I have used bunjarras and simple caramelised onions and they definitely help but they are not the missing taste I am looking for. Certainly they may be one component of it though.

Quote
Let me say however, I do not have a good bunjarra recipe and don't think the Ashoka one which is on this forum is especially close to what I'm seeking. A very long cook which lets the deep savoury spice flavours leach into the oil and onions seems essential, with Asian bay being a key component.

You don't have a good bunjarra recipe but are still adamant that bunjarra is key to the taste. That seems very contradictory to me.
Fighting for truth, justice and the BIR way!

Offline Peripatetic Phil

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Re: How do you know when you are "there" ?
« Reply #28 on: January 27, 2019, 08:41 PM »
Now, unlike Pete, I believe you are right in saying it can be recreated at home but only if you are prepared to go full BIR and cook both the range and quantity of the aforementioned items that they would cook between oil changes. No small endeavour I think you would acknowledge?

No small endeavour indeed, if you attempt it on a commercial scale.  But why try ?  Why not emulate it on a domestic scale, using scaled-down quantities of everything ?  Will that not achieve exactly the same results ?  If not, why not ?

** Phil.
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Offline pete

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Re: How do you know when you are "there" ?
« Reply #29 on: January 27, 2019, 08:52 PM »

Quote
I have been lucky enough to be allowed to cook my own curry in the kitchens of a few takeaways.  The magic comes every time from the base as it's heated.    It is an absolutely wonderful aroma

OK, more clarification sought — when it is heated by itself, or when it is added to a dish in preparation and heated ?

** Phil.

Hi Phil
when it's heated on it's own
Many places start off a Korma with simply the base heated in the pan
You would definitely notice the amazing aroma then


I'm not sure what the recipe is for karahi lamb,, but perhaps that is one of the stronger flavoured curries
A  strong flavour hides any shortcomings of the base
But I don't know what that tasted like
wouldn't mind trying

we really need some get together, to at least  reset the understanding of what we are achieving

If this was arranged with 5 people
Then we should each bring 5 sample cartons of our cooking to exchange with each other
go home, try our given samples and chat about it
I could even get some proper curry gravy from a takeaway,
Should be able to do that

I have seen the base made up at three places
the only differences between that and what we do at home
is

1 Scale

2 Bhajee oil
all places have used filtered bhajee oil
I think I was the first one to make reference to this on this site maybe 10 years ago
But since then there has been reference to it from Adey Paynes cooking lessons, and the undercover curry cook book

3 the length of time the base is cooked
One place boiled the onions the day before and left them overnight before proceeding to the next stage.
so they would carry on cooking hours after the gas was turned off

they use common ingredients to us lot, but produce a totally different product, except for the oil

I'm now 63, and believe it's unlikely I will get  to the bottom of this "simple"problem

And Secret Santa
Totally agree with everything you said



 


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