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Messages - romain

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11
I don't understand why anyone would want their emulsification to break like this and spoon the oil off (unless calories were more important than flavour). You aren't just lifting calories. All the flavour from the spice infused oil is lost as well.

There's nothing inherently wrong with adding an excess of oil. Indeed I would argue that an excess is required to achieve a BIR result. I do spoon off all excess when the curry has cooked though (oil separation a must as an indicator of doneness) and use this as my spiced oil rather than creating a batch from fresh. So the spice infused oil is not "lost" it is reused.

I'm not sure if we are speaking across each other. How much oil is excess oil in your estimation? I  typically run 4-6 tablespoons of oil in each portion so is excess 10 tablespoons?

My observation is simply that there are a significant number of oil soluble compounds in spices. If you cook your curry until it breaks and spoon it off then those spice flavour compounds are not in the oil you have spooned off and not in your final dish. Further, the mouthfeel provided from the fat is also removed.

Also, why do you feel that breaking the emulsion is an indication of the dish being done? What characterizes done?


12
I'm not following Syed closely so I don't know the underlying recipe/quantities but in my single serving I typically have 1 Tbsp oil from the base (my base is pretty light on oil) plus some indeterminate amount of oil from the garlic ginger plus either 3 or 4 Tbsp oil to cook the curry (standard portion). I don't know what I do different but I manage to keep the 4+  Tbsps emulsified into the sauce.

You can look at anything labelled restaurant curry picture on glebekitchen. I don't change anything when I take the pictures. No removing oil. No tricks. Always pictures of my dinner (styled of course). Goes from the pan to a bowl for pictures, reheated in the pan, onto a plate with some rice and dal and into my mouth.

I don't understand why anyone would want their emulsification to break like this and spoon the oil off (unless calories were more important than flavour). You aren't just lifting calories. All the flavour from the spice infused oil is lost as well.

How much oil went into that total? That really doesn't look good to me at all. I'd likely send it back as well or at the very least never go to that restaurant again.

Except the rice. It's out of focus but from what I can tell it looks impressive.

13
Phil - thanks very much for pointing to the recipe for JB's potatoes.

On the Britishian Food channel, I see that the SIMPLEST RECIPE FOR FAMOUS CHICKEN TIKKA DUPIAZA is due to 'premiere' in 2 hours time at 2pm today (12 June)

It looks superb but why does he stress the words 'simplest' and 'simple' in so many of his recipes? It's a real turn-off, causing me to fear they've all been redesigned to taste less well than they did when he worked in the restaurant. Wouldn't it be better if he used words like 'best' and 'tastiest'. And made sure the recipes taste at least as good as the restaurant versions. They probably are as good. It's just the use of the word 'simplest' which has me concerned.

You are likely not his target market.

14
Now all we need is a volunteer who will transcribe the recipes into written form in the appropriate categories in the “recipes” section of this forum (with the blessing of Britishian of course), so that if the videos ever disappear, or YouTube goes to a paywall model, we can still refer to them.

An enthusiastic curator who will create an index post pointing to links of them all as a recipe set would also be a nice touch, if anyone should have the time and inclination.

Some of the videos already have written ingredients and Syed is planning on doing more. You can see he has been very busy with what he's already put up.  A mammoth effort so far.

As an gentle observation - Syed is trying to build a YouTube channel. At some point he will get enough followers and traffic to get some financial renumeration for his extraordinary effort.

These recipes are his intellectual property. He is sharing. Please just support him unless he offers his explicit permission.




15

What science I can find tells me that spices degrade over time. If you've ever toasted whole spices, ground them and cooked with them you know that there is a big difference between freshly ground and commercial ground spices.

This degradation is attributable to oxidation of the aromatic compounds. Two key accelerants of the rate of oxidation are light and heat. Heating something to or near to the point of smoking is seriously accelerated.

So the statement that they will last as long as any spice mix is a bit hard for me to just accept. I happen to know first hand that anyone can say anything on the internet :smile:

To provide a timeline overlay, Bon Appetit suggests that the shelf life of ground spices at their peak is around 3 months under normal conditions. Not science but at least a semi-reputable source.

https://www.bonappetit.com/story/do-spices-go-bad

This would appear to be what we should expect.  There is plenty of information out there that says powdered spices are not roasted but Syed does it.  In order to follow his recipe set correctly I've made a half quantity so I'll be interested to see how long it lasts.  Fresh spices are obviously best but some of my powdered individual spices are getting a bit old and they are still perfectly fine.

Incidentally Romain, wherever possible in my cook yesterday I bloomed spices in oil which in some of the dishes meant changing the sequence slightly.  I encountered no problems with this.

Delighted to hear that Livo! You mentioned that it was the best curry you have ever made. Love to hear, as this progresses, if any part of that is attributable to the blooming part.

16
I would expect the dry roasting would get you part of the way there so long as the toasted spices are used immediately.

Maybe not.  Chef Syed says these toasted spices last, "These spice powders will last long, the same as normal powders. "

I am just curious how close it comes to a blooming spices in oil approach. Looking forward to your results. Thank you for offering to do this.

That would be the test.

We can't discount this as being wrong. He's been doing it for quite a while apparently.  According to Indian Spices 101 there is no "rule of thumb" regarding how to cook, use or blend spices.  It's a free for all and anybody can do whatever they like and whatever works in the application.

I am not discounting anything but I cannot find any food science (you know I'm all about the food science) to support this either.

What science I can find tells me that spices degrade over time. If you've ever toasted whole spices, ground them and cooked with them you know that there is a big difference between freshly ground and commercial ground spices.

This degradation is attributable to oxidation of the aromatic compounds. Two key accelerants of the rate of oxidation are light and heat. Heating something to or near to the point of smoking is seriously accelerated.

So the statement that they will last as long as any spice mix is a bit hard for me to just accept. I happen to know first hand that anyone can say anything on the internet :smile:

To provide a timeline overlay, Bon Appetit suggests that the shelf life of ground spices at their peak is around 3 months under normal conditions. Not science but at least a semi-reputable source.

https://www.bonappetit.com/story/do-spices-go-bad

17

No offence taken from you whatosoever Romain although other commentators seem to think that the 12000+ curries I have prepared for satisfied  and repeat customers over the past 3 years were all cooked "wrong". Cant wait to get them right and earn even more money  :smiling eyes:

I expect you will be rich and quite possibly famous :smile:

18

Romain, after 45 years of trying every method I have certainly used your approach many times also with success. However, I can cook up to 20 individual curries in one day and I prefer the small amount of liquid before dried spices as its less prone for error and everyone who eats my curries has no complaints whatsoever. This "new" method of dry roasting first helps me to maintain the safer approach but elevates the final outcome in my opinion. I can easily use your method of blooming the dried spices in oil first when I cook for myself and/or my wife so I will do a head to head at the weekend and post the flavour results.

Hugoboss, peace. I meant no offence.

I would expect the dry roasting would get you part of the way there so long as the toasted spices are used immediately. I am just curious how close it comes to a blooming spices in oil approach. Looking forward to your results. Thank you for offering to do this.

19
The sequence of cooking is a curious point Romain. I guess many are fearful of burning powdered spices in hot oil right at the start.  If you've ever done it, or burnt your garlic, you'll know that you can't continue. It's bin and start again.  This cooked curry powder may be another way of blooming the spices with reduced risk.

I have no hesitation in blooming whole seeds and other larger spices but doing powder is always a concern for me. I have never been shown exactly how hot the oil can or should be, or for what time powdered spice can or should be cooked without risk of spoiling.  I err to the side of caution and most likely at the expense of flavour and aroma.

I have burned spices. I have burned garlic. I have overcooked chicken. I have overcooked steak. My grill temp was high yesterday, my neighbour distracted me and I overcooked a lovely leg of lamb. Very sad.

I will do all of those things again. I have made more mistakes in the kitchen than I can remember. It happens to everyone. How else do you learn? It's like skiing. If you don't fall down once in a while you aren't trying hard enough.

I'm not an "expert" but I would like to suggest that anyone who is looking for that "elusive BIR something" (a term I have never understood until right now) start their quest by blooming your spices in oil. It's not hard. And it makes a huge difference.

Livo,

It's easy enough to figure out. I have started making some YouTube videos to accompany the blog - also under glebe kitchen. There are a few restaurant style curry videos where I have tried to clearly demonstrate the process. You could start there.

And then just grab your pan, some oil and a handful of some blend of Indian powdered spices. Heat your oil until it just shimmers. Toss in around 3 or 4 teaspoons (however much you usually add for a portion of curry) and stir continuously. Follow what I show in the videos. You want to be able to keep it in the zone for about 30 seconds before you add in a liquid ingredient.

If it burns you've just learned that your stove setting was too high. Throw it out, wipe out your pan and start again. In fact, if it ever starts to look like you've lost control abort by adding in your first wet ingredient (I use tomato puree in water in my workflow).

Try again. If it doesn't bubble like in the videos your heat is too low.

Try again. Eventually you will get the feel. I would be really surprised if it took you more than 5 tries to get it down. And even it takes you 10 tries what does it cost? 30 minutes of your time. A pint of oil. And $2.00 in powdered spices. What do you have to lose? It's a game changer...

If you are interested you can watch my intro to Indian restaurant video https://youtu.be/e7hgTpiXtjQ. I focus on the how and why in that video rather than the what. It is short and to the point...

Please don't fear it. Embrace it!



20
Thank you for your kind words HugoBoss. Appreciate it :smile:

I asked the question expecting this to be the answer. There seems to be two camps in the restaurant curry at home world. Those, like Phil and myself, that bloom their spices and those, like you, that don't. So I would venture the notion that what you are doing is emulating the blooming of the spices in a dry pan to some extent.

If you have the time and inclination to try blooming your spices in oil before adding the diluted tomato puree, I would love to hear if you get the same or similar flavours you are experiencing with this dry roasting technique.

I am close to the point that I would bet money that you will find the curry in which you bloom spices to be even better because the fat soluble compounds released by heating the spices wind up dissolved in the oil. Almost - because I haven't tried this dry roasting powdered spices myself.

I know, when I have tried liquid then spices, it's almost as if I've forgotten to add salt. Everything is somewhat flat and lifeless.

FWIW, my house and my local Indian restaurants smell exactly the same when I'm cooking curries and it's the point where I add powdered spices to the pan that it happens.

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