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Messages - Korma Chameleon

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Cooking Methods / Re: BIR, keep it simple - 9 Korma Chameleon recipes
« on: November 14, 2015, 01:15 PM »
I don't seem to find an edit button to update my OP. Anyway, today I finally I cracked Rogan Josh (1990's Bradford). My kitchen smells like the restaurant where I used to get this. My OP version was close, just needed a few tweaks.

Here the new recipe (in shorthand of course; see OP for details):

Spice fry: 1 tsp cumin powder, 2 tsp paprika
Late additions: 1 tbs yoghurt, 2 chopped fresh tomatoes, 1 tsp garam masala, pinch fenugreek leaves, 0.5 tsp sugar, 0.5 tsp tamarind concentrate, fresh coriander.
Turn off heat: 2 fresh tomatoes cut into wedges.

I continued my trek through various bases, but none of them beat Chewy's 3 hour. So my search ended. I do tweak Chewy's a little myself now though, adding a bit of coconut block and the widely used base approach of boiling up some hard spices and adding the stock back in.

My mad drive towards curry perfection slowed somewhat given I now have a base I'm very happy with, and a portfolio of curries wider than my normal restaurant menu adventures. So my challenge became Chinese and Thai food, and most recently I started brewing beer from grain. Oh happy days.

It's difficult to say if the minor changes I applied to Chewy's basic approach added much. I'd really need a side by side comparison. What I can say though is the slightly adapted base produces a great curry. So as it's not much extra effort to boil up some whole spices, and as it probably does add an extra layer of flavour complexity, I'm going to stick with it.

Today I cracked Rogan Josh (1990's Bradford). Happy days.

Never did find a base better than yours Chewy. I did change a few things, but not much really. I fry the tomato and spice mix before adding, and I don't bother with the sieve. Other than that, I follow this pretty much identical.

As I have a base I'm happy and familiar with, I'm starting to change things up just a little. On this occasion I added a bit of coconut block and reserved some of the water to boil up some cardamoms, cinnamon stick, star anise, cloves and bay leaves. Added the stock water into the pot. If it doesn't come out so well, I'll be able to pick out what didn't work and revert. I'll keep you updated.

Talk About Anything Other Than Curry / Re: Big Mac special sauce
« on: March 24, 2015, 08:49 PM »
I just came across the The Takeaway Secret, first 32 pages for free on the internet (not difficult to find with a quick search). Those first pages do contain the Big Mac & special sauce. Went out to buy the necessary French's brand mustard, iceberg, double bun, etc. and had my first attempt last night. Even before tasting, I knew this was a winner. Wow, almost exactly the same, I've never created anything like that before. I found the sauce a bit too mayonnaise-y, and the raw onion a bit overpowering, so I know what to adjust for attempt #2. It's really not hard if you follow the recipe to the letter. I'm amazed I can now replicate a Big Mac. The wife was impressed too, a bit depressed actually concidering the implications.

Fries next. Already well down the sugar no sugar debates.

I followed this thread from its opening. Took me a while to get around to making and testing out with a variety of currys. And the result? It's good, no doubt, but Chewy's remains my number 1.

This one definitely has something different, and that something I've tasted before somewhere (let's say takeaway twang). Not sure what that comes from, possibly the garlic fry. Still, in general it seems to lack the depth of flavour that comes from Chewy's; and I'm not even going to get into the cabbage debate  :-X. But I know what I like, and other base sauces have to be tested against it. And it's not just me, guests show more enthusiasm for a curry made with Chewy's base.

All said, a base is just a base, and the curry must be built on it. Perhaps my chosen curry method and spice proportions just happen to sit well with the Chewy base; that's hard to say.

Today was my first curry in several weeks. All came together in a flash; great result. I felt like a chef in an Indian  8).

My recent experience of cooking thawed frozen balls...  best results achieved when warmed higher than room temperature before cooking. When defrosted then left 5+ hours at room temp, they came out a bit like a leavened chapati (tasting like a naan). When given a bit of a temp boost, they came out close to those freshly cooked. Basically the balls must feel to have bloated and softened before you start to cook. In my case, I sat them above the fire for a bit. Must be wrapped in cling film to prevent drying.

Tandoori and Tikka / Re: Chicken Tikka - better than the BIRs
« on: December 27, 2014, 10:56 AM »
...but does not leave a thick marinade coating on the chicken. Hence when you use the tikka pieces in a curry the marinade doesn't come off and ruin your sauce.

I'm surprised you say Blades Tikka leaves a coating. As it has no yoghurt, I found it didn't stick to the chicken at all. In fact this was the first real chicken tikka I've done, one that infused the meat rather than just coated. That said, I agree that is has a real punch.

Lets Talk Curry / Re: Advice wanted for aromatic style
« on: December 24, 2014, 05:54 PM »
Thanks Les. It's done. I should have called this thread "Festive curry". I ran with the 4 cardamom pods, 4 cloves, 1 inch peice of cinnamon, and I added a couple of prongs from a star anise. I boiled some sultanas in seperate water and added the above to the sultana water about 30 seconds before I added the lot to the pan (just as I turned down to a simmer). I kept the aromatic theme with cumin a big part of the spice mix (50/50 with curry powder), ginger an increased proportion of the g/g mix, and garam masala near the end with fresh corriander.

It turned out well, but not spectacular. I feared one of the additions might come through too strong but it was not the case, athough I think I could easily increase the cardamom more than any of the others. I decided not to add any cream or coconut, but it might have benefitted, as it was on the salty side and that clashed with the aromatics. Mental note, less salt in sweeter curries. I also think it's best suited to chicken. Always learning  ;).

Lets Talk Curry / Advice wanted for aromatic style
« on: December 24, 2014, 11:20 AM »
I have everything ready for a beef curry today. I thought I'd go off-piste and make this one up as I went along. None of my current curry portfolio use green cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, coconut etc. A curry I used to cook before my 'base sauce awakening' did include 3 of the above and was a real nice curry, so I thought it worth giving some of these additions a go. Just wondered if you have any advice; perhaps even a curry that I have missed that contains such things? I even thought about adding sultanas; yes, way off-piste  :o. Is it a mistake to go the aromatic route with beef, and would you have any advice if I did?

Tandoori and Tikka / Re: Chicken Tikka - better than the BIRs
« on: December 23, 2014, 08:20 PM »
My oven(s) let me down big style I'm afraid. I simply have no way to char. In any case, I can see the strong potential of this recipe. It certainly beats tandoori masala on its own. Given all the extra additions, I was surprised how strong the tandoori masala flavour came through. Salt & chilli levels were good. If I'll change one thing, it will be to reduce the quantity of lemon juice. That said, the juice I use must be strong, as I've suffered with other recipes also. I know what I use is much stronger than freshly squeezed lemon juice, so the reduction is personal to my ingredients.

I will never again use a Pataks paste. As soon as I taste that twang it spells "homemade rubbish" for me. Only once in my life, about 10 years ago, have I ever tasted that twang in a restaurant and I still talk about how shocked I was. I know there are restaurants that do use Pataks, particularly Kashmiri Masala Paste (which I've never bought myself, so can't comment on), but I've certainly never tasted the Pataks twang in a Bradford BIR, and would never return to a restaurant where I do. I'm quite sure the addition of the Patak's paste would have rendered this recipe awful for my taste, and my substitution and the result I achieved proved great for me, bringing me forward. I think you can probably tell I don't really worry about the omission.

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