Author Topic: What do you wish you'd known?  (Read 1038 times)

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Offline curry based god

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What do you wish you'd known?
« on: May 12, 2020, 08:06 PM »
When you first started cooking using curry base what mistakes did you make that are easily avoidable?

I've done a sort of madras and a bhuna using base so far and the bhuna was so so great but I've invested so much energy in it all I'm kinda scared to make any big mistakes that might waste a lot of time.

Also, I got carried away and picked up a few spices I'd never used before and so far haven't found too many recipes that actually use them. Any ideas of curries that really make the most of mustard seeds, fresh curry leaves and black cardamon?

Ta



Online Peripatetic Phil

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Re: What do you wish you'd known?
« Reply #1 on: May 12, 2020, 09:42 PM »
When you first started cooking using curry base what mistakes did you make that are easily avoidable?

Thinking that "more is better".  In fact, less is frequently better, so don't think that adding more spices will get you closer to your goal — it rarely if ever will.

Quote
Also, I got carried away and picked up a few spices I'd never used before and so far haven't found too many recipes that actually use them. Any ideas of curries that really make the most of mustard seeds, fresh curry leaves and black cardamon?

The first two would go well in a Bombay aloo or similar; the last I rarely use, always in moderation, and never as a substitute for green.  I might bung one in a potli ka masala, a little bag of whole spices (and herbs) that are used to infuse flavour but removed before the dish is served.

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« Last Edit: May 12, 2020, 09:55 PM by Peripatetic Phil »
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Offline romain

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Re: What do you wish you'd known?
« Reply #2 on: May 12, 2020, 11:07 PM »

Also, I got carried away and picked up a few spices I'd never used before and so far haven't found too many recipes that actually use them. Any ideas of curries that really make the most of mustard seeds, fresh curry leaves and black cardamon?

Ta

I like curry leaves a lot (fresh). They work really well in anything South Indian. They have a distinctive taste that you will know when you taste them (if you like South Indian). Curry leaves and coconut milk go well together. I like them in a tarka for dal as well.

Black cardamom has a smoky flavour so anywhere you want that. Again in tarka dal, in a nihari gosht, good in a keema or laal maas. Typing this, it occurs to me I like it with lamb. Never thought about that.

Mustard seed in anything Bengali inspired. Again, good together with cumin seed in dal, or in saag aloo and bombay potatoes (just about anything with potatoes). They work well with curry leaves in South Indian cooking.

Lots of fun playing with Indian spices. So much diversity...
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Offline livo

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Re: What do you wish you'd known?
« Reply #3 on: May 13, 2020, 01:34 AM »
Good advice so far.  You possibly wont find curry leaf in a lot of the more popular BIR dishes (if any).  Black cardamom comes up occasionally.  You can add mustard seeds to anything really if you like it. They go well with eggs as well as potatoes. Pop the seeds in oil in the initial stages and away you go. 

As already mentioned, Curry leaf and Mustard go great with potato and I'd extend the South India to Sri Lanka.  They use these a lot so if your looking to use it up search for some Sri Lankan recipes as well. Sri Lankan Tempered Potatoes is a well worn favourite in my home and uses both.

I've recently been giving my excess Birdseye chillis to the local Indian Grocer (big browny points to me).  He has told me that he's been eating them with his omelettes which also include Mustard seeds. He eats the chillis raw on top of his omelettes and not cooked through.  I really enjoy Anda Bhurji (Indian spicy scrambled eggs) and you'll find Mustard seeds and Curry Leaves in some recipes for this dish.  They are not in my "go-to" recipe which is this one, https://www.curry-recipes.co.uk/curry/index.php?topic=13894.0 but I have used them. 

These recipes uses one or the other.
https://thecookingjar.com/indian-style-scrambled-eggs-anda-bhurji/ This one uses Mustard Seeds.
https://swatisani.net/kitchen/recipe/spicy-anda-bhurji-indian-scrambled-eggs/ This uses Curry Leaves.

I also have a spice cupboard full of different things that rarely (ie; never) get used unless you deliberately search for uses for them.
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Offline Alchemist

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Re: What do you wish you'd known?
« Reply #4 on: May 14, 2020, 08:24 AM »
Thinking there was a magic curry base out there and chasing it, rather than finding a good one and sticking with it! It only took me ten years to work that one out :-)

Knowing technique is everything and nailing that was more important than anything else (or at least as important!)

Knowing having the base nice and thin was important to allow the curry enough time to cook before it became too thick too quickly

Knowing lots of oil is very important to getting close to BIR, whether you like it or not!

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Re: What do you wish you'd known?
« Reply #5 on: May 14, 2020, 09:12 AM »
Of Alchemist's 4, I was lucky never to experience the first, but all of the other three ring true.  However, I am still not convinced that "technique is everything" — I don't think that the finest technique in the world will compensate for a lack of understanding of why each spice (or herb, or whatever) is used, when it should be used, and in which dishes it should be used, something that I think those from the sub-continent understand innately but which we in the West have to learn by trial, error and experience.  Let me ask you all a question :  do you know why you add coriander, why you add fenugreek, when you should add each, which dishes call for more of one and less (or none) of the other ?  This is a lack of knowledge from which I have suffered my whole long curry journey, and I don't think I have made enormous progress in that time ...

So an understanding of "why", "when" and "which" are, to my mind at least, as important as first-class technique.

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Offline Bowser

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Re: What do you wish you'd known?
« Reply #6 on: June 13, 2020, 01:50 AM »
I would have to agree with Phil, knowing what why and where would be a pursuit worthy of knowing.


 

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