Author Topic: See This Bag? It Has the Smell!  (Read 5251 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Cory Ander

  • Genius Curry Master
  • **********
  • Posts: 3656
    • View Profile
See This Bag? It Has the Smell!
« on: March 01, 2007, 05:03 AM »
See This Bag??......

.......I know this looks just like any other old ruck sack, but NO!  It has ?THE SMELL? (or something closely resembling it (and I don?t mean the smell of old socks!  ;D)!
« Last Edit: March 01, 2007, 05:10 AM by Cory Ander »
Regards,

CA :)

Offline Cory Ander

  • Genius Curry Master
  • **********
  • Posts: 3656
    • View Profile
Re: See This Bag? It Has the Smell!
« Reply #1 on: March 01, 2007, 05:09 AM »
So I thought I?d share with you how this came about??

My wife works with an Asian lady whose mother was visiting her.  Knowing that I liked curries, her mother invited me to her house, a couple of times, to watch her prepare a multitude of curries and side dishes.  Her recipes and methods are largely her own and/or handed down by her mother.  She writes nothing down and does not measure the ingredients.  Her favourite expression appeared to be ?and a little bit of salt?? meanwhile heaping yet another teaspoon of salt in, with a slight shrug of her shoulders and with sure signs of embarrassment!  :P

Now, this lovely lady was so generous that she not only allowed me to steal about 5 hours of her time, each time I visited her, but she also insisted that I ate enough to feed a horse and that I also take a whole bag full of curries (hence the ruck sack) and side dishes home with me!  What a darling she is!  :-*

Well, suffice to say that, every time I go near my ruck sack, I am greeted with a most gorgeous aroma of curries that bears a strong (if not exact) resemblance to ?the smell??..ONE WEEK LATER!... :o

??AND the smell fills the whole room!  :o

Obviously, this left me puzzling how she achieves such an unmistakeable and lingering smell to her curries.  You see, this lovely lady uses the most basic of ingredients and cooks with, what I presume to be, a typical traditional Indian style. She uses no curry base and was very intrigued (and a little perplexed) to hear that BIRs use such a curry base as a starting point. 

So how does she create this magical aroma to her curries?  Let me use her ?chicken curry? as an example, sufficient to feed about 6 people:

  • 12 or so chicken drumsticks (rubbed with some tumeric powder and salt to ?neutralise the smell?)
  • Various whole spices (2 star anise, 1 inch cinnamon, 5 cloves, 10 dry curry leaves)
    2 Onions (chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon garlic paste (bottled)
  • 1 tablespoon ginger paste (bottles)
  • 2 carrots and 4 tomatoes (chopped) ? the carrots are really ?fillers? more than anything
    2 coriander ROOTS
  • 6 TABLESPOONS of ?Baba?s? curry powder (for ?meat?, ?chicken?, ?fish?, etc)
  • 3 TABLESPOONS of chilli powder.  Boy, does she like ?em hot and spicy!  This also gave the dish and oil a very rich red colour
  • 4 par-boiled potatoes (quartered) ? again, these are really ?fillers?
  • Lots of salt (maybe 2 tsp)

And that?s basically it!  So was the smell from the ingredients?  Maybe?in part at least.  But clearly it is what she did with them that made the difference!  This is what I observed regarding her cooking technique:

  • She got a wok smoking hot
  • She added plenty of cheap vegetable oil (sometimes ghee for other dishes) which sizzled as it went into the hot wok
  • She left it, full blast (on a gas stove) until the oil was smoking ? to a point where I wanted to reach for the fire blanket!  :o

She then added the ingredients (in the above order) and did some interesting things:

  • She cooked everything on full blast ? whereas I would have been tempted to reduce the heat for fear of burning the spices
  • She left the ingredients largely undisturbed (i.e. up the sides if the carbon steel wok) as they simmered and spattered away ? whereas I would have been tempted to turn them for fear of burning them
  • She left things simmering and spattering away for reasonably long times ? whereas I would have been tempted to stop cooking
  • She scraped any ?burnt/fused? bits off the bottom of the wok?muttering something about this being good stuff? ;)

So, my conclusion was that, whereas the ingredients clearly have a significant effect on the final taste, this lovely lady achieved ?the smell? in her curries (or something closely resembling it) by using the above techniques to fuse the ingredients (much like CP and Andy advocate in the ?fusion? techniques that they described).

I know that, from now on, I will do the following (particularly when frying the spices and other preliminary ingredients):

  • Be far less cautious about using much higher cooking temperatures
  • Cook things, on full blast, for much longer
  • Leave things undisturbed, without turning, for much longer

Sorry to be long winded!  I hope you?re still awake!  :P

Regards,
« Last Edit: March 01, 2007, 05:11 AM by Cory Ander »
Regards,

CA :)


Offline DARTHPHALL

  • Elite Curry Master
  • CONTRIBUTING MEMBER
  • *******
  • Posts: 1451
  • ITHAQUA
    • View Profile
Re: See This Bag? It Has the Smell!
« Reply #2 on: March 01, 2007, 08:02 AM »
Someone on this forum,was it Mark J ?
 Said that the day after cooking some curry, that the splattered, slightly burnt bits on their Cooker had the smell, things seem to be starting to to point to Method in a big way. ;D

Offline Curry King

  • I've Had Way Too Much Curry
  • ********
  • Posts: 1842
    • View Profile
Re: See This Bag? It Has the Smell!
« Reply #3 on: March 01, 2007, 08:26 AM »
Hi Cory,

I've seen the video of Andys "fusing technique" and it's nothing more than swirling your spoon round the pan, I assume most people do this anyway to keep things moving and stop the spices burning.   You say she just leaves it all as is at full heat ? Have you tried doing this yourself yet CA?

cK
« Last Edit: March 01, 2007, 11:48 AM by Curry King »
Cr0, simply the best FREE curry site on the web


Offline traveller

  • Head Chef
  • ***
  • Posts: 175
    • View Profile
Re: See This Bag? It Has the Smell!
« Reply #4 on: March 01, 2007, 11:16 AM »
I use a Baba's meat masala for basic chicken curry dishes..wonder if its the same.  But i get it from Malaysia whenever I go as I dont know anyplace else that has it.  It has a huge range of spices in it.

Offline Ashes

  • Indian Master Chef
  • ****
  • Posts: 277
    • View Profile
Re: See This Bag? It Has the Smell!
« Reply #5 on: March 01, 2007, 03:54 PM »
Great post Cory!  ;D
Im been experimenting a lot with just "ordinary" food, for instance try taking some ordinary chicken pieces and wok frying them high heat they will give a much more "restauranty" type taste then having them pan fried on medium heat.

Also the type of pan makes a difference, some things tend to be better in a wok or a cast iron pan or even a non stick pan..

Its all magic science :)

Regards Ashes

Offline merrybaker

  • Head Chef
  • CONTRIBUTING MEMBER
  • ***
  • Posts: 213
    • View Profile
Re: See This Bag? It Has the Smell!
« Reply #6 on: March 01, 2007, 04:39 PM »
She added plenty of cheap vegetable oil...She then added the ingredients (in the above order)
She put in the chicken first?
How dark was the garlic before the next ingredient was added?
Any water?
 


Offline Cory Ander

  • Genius Curry Master
  • **********
  • Posts: 3656
    • View Profile
Re: See This Bag? It Has the Smell!
« Reply #7 on: March 06, 2007, 02:59 AM »
...you say she just leaves it all as is at full heat ?

What I mean is that she has things altogether hotter, for longer, and stirs everthing a lot less frequently than I have ever done.  Hard to define, I know, but she goes beyond the stage where I think things might be burning and she doesnt bat an eyelid.  The end result speaks (smells?) for itself :P

Quote
....have you tried doing this yourself yet CA?

I have tried it myself, but only with some of her simpler, but nonetheless delightful recipes, not containing curry powder or any other significant quantity of spices (bar copious amounts of chilli powder).  Rather unsurprisingly, these had very little of "the smell" but still tasted fabulous.  So, either I failed to reproduce her technique,or it is the "fusing" of the curry powder that creates "the smell".

I will try the above chicken curry to test this theory  8)

Regards,
« Last Edit: March 06, 2007, 03:06 AM by Cory Ander »
Regards,

CA :)

Offline Cory Ander

  • Genius Curry Master
  • **********
  • Posts: 3656
    • View Profile
Re: See This Bag? It Has the Smell!
« Reply #8 on: March 06, 2007, 03:14 AM »
I use a Baba's meat masala for basic chicken curry dishes..wonder if its the same.  But i get it from Malaysia whenever I go as I dont know anyplace else that has it.

Hi American,

Yes, you are right American.  This lady is from Singapore and she swears by Baba's (she brought the curry powder with her!).  It is simply called "meat curry powder", "fish curry powder", "chicken curry powder" etc, with a slightly different blend for each.  Other Indian friends of mine (from Sri Lanka) also swear by it.  You can buy it in Australia too.  I have some of the different types.  It is good.  Fresh, pungent and well packaged.  Maybe an import opportunity in the UK then?  ;)

Regards,
Regards,

CA :)

Offline Cory Ander

  • Genius Curry Master
  • **********
  • Posts: 3656
    • View Profile
Re: See This Bag? It Has the Smell!
« Reply #9 on: March 06, 2007, 03:18 AM »
Also the type of pan makes a difference, some things tend to be better in a wok or a cast iron pan or even a non stick pan..

I agree Ash,

I am using a 32cm cast iron wok (easily sufficient for 2, but I'd like a 36cm one, ideally).  It works a treat.  It gets nice and hot, retains it heat, doesn't stick (once "seasoned" by heating hot oil in it a few times) and cleans easily in only hot water.  I then dry it by putting it back on the stove for a minute.  Who needs "non-stick"!  I am sure that a well seasoned wok/karahi contributes significantly to the taste too.

Regards,
« Last Edit: March 10, 2007, 09:49 AM by Cory Ander »
Regards,

CA :)


 

  ©2020 Curry Recipes