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Messages - pg89

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I have used Tilda and Badshah with fairly good results. I recently bought 5kg of 'Trophy' basmati rice for ?5 and I've noticed that even though it is very easy to cook and the grains turn out longer and fluffier than usual, it has very little of that nutty basmati aroma and makes pilau rice taste bland.

Are there any particular brands out there that are considered 'the absolute best' which are better than Tilda? Maybe a brand only available from Asian shops or by import?

Phil (chaa006),

I tried your method and made the best rice I've ever made! It has perfect texture, light fluffy and separate just like the restaurant and the aroma is there! Can't believe how easy it is in the microwave!

I changed the recipe slightly, I used:

2 green cardamoms, 1 black cardamom
2 cloves
5 black peppercorns
2 fresh bay leaves
1 star anise
1 inch of cinnamon stick
pinch of fennel and cumin seeds
English butter

I poured the boiling water in so it just covered the rice by 2 or 3 mm

I will experiment with different spices although the above was fine, but it's the cooking of the rice that is the important thing and this method makes it perfect, I even skipped the last drying step!

Thank you Sir!!!

I have followed many recipes and have a few methods of making pilau rice which turns out OK but it is just not the same as takeaways or BIR's. I am determined to learn how to get it EXACTLY the same, I can't see why it's not possible.

I typically use 500g of washed basmatti (tilda or badshah) per batch, with 5 cardomoms, 4 cloves, few bits of cinnamon stick or cassia bark, 2 or 3 fresh bay leaves and a tsp of cumin seeds & a pinch of salt gently fried in butter then simmered for 15 mins or so. I have experimented with various amounts of water and spices and I have used regular pots and rice cookers and even tried the oven method but the rice always comes out the same.

It is never as 'fluffy' as the restaurants and the smell is different. When I get restaurant rice it has an amazing yet subtle sweet fragrant aroma and is always light, fluffy and separate. My rice seems 'heavier' or 'chewier' than the BIR's and the aroma is not 'sweet and fragrant' but it smells bitter and 'starchy', its hard to explain. Interestingly the rice I make seems to improve after cooling in the fridge overnight and being reheated, but I know restaurants will scoop their rice straight out of the pot, especially as rice is meant to be eaten within about 12 hours from cooking for hygiene reasons.

I have found a youtube video demonstration from a restaurant owner making pilau rice which I found interesting, I would imagine if I tried making it as simply as this I would end up with a big pot of mushy starch!

Here's the link....  pilau rice dad 0001

Could getting that professional result with pilau rice be down to making it in a large quantity in a big pot?

Does anyone know where I'm coming from with this? Any tips would be greatly appreciated, Cheers!

Lets Talk Curry / Re: Im doing something wrong. Pics included...
« on: August 26, 2009, 10:47 AM »
I dont necessarily mean that the sugar is fried first, although it is added to the pan first along with coconut powder in the korma video (which is the only recipe that I can get to taste good).

In the dhansak video, and from watching a webcam that is set up in a takeaway kitchen , most dishes start with oil, tomato paste (is this the same as pasata?), mix powder, chili powder and sugar. This creates a mushy mixture and is flash fried before the base is added.

It seems strange to me why dry ingredients are added first especially with such a big flame, and yet it never seems to stick or form bits of skin.

I can also confirm that after getting a sample of real base gravy from my local takeaway, all the ones I have been making taste completely wrong.
I tried frying a spoonful of the real base and it was like a magic reaction happened, I got that restaurant smell just from the base so I think the biggest priority is to get the base right.

Curry Base Chat / Re: Got some real takeaway base today
« on: August 25, 2009, 12:44 AM »
The takeaway is of a very good standard. I live in London and I am surrounded by BIRs and takeaways, and I always order from there. It is called 'woodhouse tandoori'...heres the best link I could find

I cant remember exactly which bases I have tried from this site, but they have always turned out too thick and they didn't taste or smell as "mild" as the real thing (although the smell coming out of my extractor fan did smell very familiar) The consistency and flavour level of the real base (not the taste) is similar to the liquid part of chicken noodle soup, well thats the best I can really describe it as I don't eat many soups!

I havent tried cooking with the base as I only have a tiny tub full and I want to try and match it with my own base so il keep you updated on that one...

The ingredients that are definitely "there" are onion, water and oil. Maybe tomato/tomato paste although it is not clear. Other than that nothing else really sticks out. I'm guessing just a small amount of the usual mix powder/coriander-cumin powder, salt etc... It really seems very simple yet it tastes nice on its own and there is a hint of natural sweetness, which I presume is from Dutch onions.

Curry Base Chat / Got some real takeaway base today
« on: August 24, 2009, 09:35 PM »
I asked at my local takeaway today if I could have a small pot of their base gravy. It is different from all the bases I have made, and I have tried several of the main recipes. It is very thin, oily and runny but not watery. It has a very mild smell, and tastes very mildly spiced. It seems to be mainly like a naturally sweet onion soup. It doesn't taste bland like all my bases have done.

I also visited an Asian cash and carry today called 'Sira' in Southall, London (a goldmine area for food and ingredients). I managed to get a big bag of about 20 dutch onions for ?1.59 and 7 massive bulbs of garlic for 89p.

I am going to try and replicate a smaller batch of this base tomorrow, which really does seem just like blended onions in oil and water.
Here is a photo of the base....

Lets Talk Curry / Re: Im doing something wrong. Pics included...
« on: August 24, 2009, 12:42 PM »
What I mean by frying sugar is....

dishes that contain a chefs spoon of sugar such as a korma, tikka masala, dhansak etc...

the sugar is always added first from what I have seen from real BIR kitchens along with the spices, tomato paste etc...

It is then flash fried for a few seconds before the base is added. The sugar starts to burn and stick though in the middle of the cooking process after everything has been added. I have noticed that most real BIR curries are cooked in what looks like a thin and flimsy aluminium pan and the sauce never seems to stick.

Lets Talk Curry / Re: Im doing something wrong. Pics included...
« on: August 23, 2009, 06:26 PM »
Madras setup

Lets Talk Curry / Re: Im doing something wrong. Pics included...
« on: August 23, 2009, 06:25 PM »
Base gravy

Lets Talk Curry / Im doing something wrong. Pics included...
« on: August 23, 2009, 06:24 PM »
I am trying to replicate a BIR Dhansak or Madras (or any main dish really!), but I am doing something terribly wrong as the end result tastes disgusting!

I have never seen or tasted real BIR base gravy so I dont know if mine is completely wrong, although I have carefully followed a recipe called "melting base 3" from a different curry website which is pretty much the same as all the other bases I have made (I have tried several). The base itself tastes bland and watery, and I have diluted it to a thin consistency.

When I fry sugar, it eventually burns and sticks all around the sides of my frying pan or wok. I also get bits of skin forming around the sides of the pan, where it usually bubbles a lot as it is frying.

The end result always smells and tastes the same. Bland, watery (even though the consistency is right), burnt and flavourless.

I have tried cooking on a low heat as well on my domestic range, and although it doesn't stick as bad, its still pretty much the same.
I tried a madras afterward just to experiment as there is no sugar involved, and that turned out burnt and disgusting as well. 

I am guessing the problem lies in the base, although it seems fine when I make a Korma  ???

I have uploaded some pics to try and show what my attempts look like. The dhansak looks like it should but it doesn't taste anything like the real thing. Its barely edible! Any ideas what im doing wrong?

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