Author Topic: New Curry Base - Some thoughts please  (Read 3196 times)

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Online Yousef

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New Curry Base - Some thoughts please
« on: April 04, 2006, 10:15 PM »
Morning All,

I have been going through an old email account from the days of the into2curry board and someone emailed me a base sauce which i have not seen before.? In addiiton to that the process of cooking it is very different to what we are all doing at the moment.? Its Just a bit different but i would value any comments before i go ahead and try it.? If you read the process and visualise what you end up with i have the impression it would be a thick base not the runny soup consistency we are all striving for, maybe this is the answer.? ?:o? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?:D

Curry base

After much experimentation I think I?ve finally got a grasp of the grail of restaurant style taste. The secret, I?m convinced, comes down to the preparation of the base. In particular it comes down to the way the onions - the main component of the base ? are treated. Put simply, they need to be fried in order to draw out their natural sugars ? this is the ?authentic? sweetness you get in a takeaway or at a restaurant. The blend of spices is less fundamental. They may give each restaurant its subtle differences, but it?s the caramelised onions that give the authentic similarity we all seem to crave. It?s a long, protracted and messy process but worth it!
? Because it?s such a hassle you might as well make a largish batch (like a restaurant). This make 1 litre (approx)

Ingredients:

2kg chopped onions
10 good cloves of garlic
1 ?thumb? of ginger
1 medium potato boiled and then pureed in half a cup of water
2 bay leaves
6green cardamom pods split
1 dessertspoon of ground coriander
1 dessertspoon of ground cumin
1 dessertspoon of paprika
1 dessertspoon dried garlic powder
1teaspoon hot chilli powder
1teaspoon turmeric
1teaspoon of salt
1 litre of rapeseed oil

Method:

Stage 1
 Place onions, garlic cloves and ginger in a large pan with as little water as you can get away with to stop it sticking. About half a pint to a pint should do it. Put a lid on, bring to boil and then simmer over a low heat. The onions themselves should give up some moisture and collapse down a bit.
Stage2
 After an hour puree with a hand-blender (it should look similar to apple sauce). Now, with the lid off, (but definitely with a splatter guard on) cook down gently over a lowish heat for a further hour. Stir regularly to stop it sticking. What we?re actually trying to achieve is to remove all the water from the onion puree. This takes time.?
 Stage 3
After an hour add the litre of oil. It will spit horribly. Continue to cook down, with the lid off but a spatter guard on, stirring occasionally, until it has reduced significantly, almost stopped steaming and pretty much stopped splattering. Depending on your pan, initial water content of the onions, etc, this could take anything from 1-3 hours.
Stage 4
Now here?s the critical part. The alchemy. Raise the temperature to medium and allow slowly to become darker in colour (20-40mins). This is the natural sugar in the onions caramelising. As it gets darker it should taste increasingly sweet. It should begin to sizzle rather than gloop when stirred. It?s about right when it reaches a dirty, sandy colour.
 Add the spices, fry for a further three minutes.
Take off the heat and allow to cool for an hour. Then decant off the oil (don?t throw this away ? use it to cook the final dishes). What oil?s then left over can be added to make up a litre of oil for the next batch of base sauce. The taste should improve with every subsequent batch of base you make!
 Finally, add the potato and salt to the base. Refrigerate for at least 24hrs. This serves 2 purposes: firstly, the taste improves even more; secondly, there?ll be another deposit of oil that can be subsequently removed.

Tip. Once it?s removed from the heat and cooled a bit, it?s a good idea to pour it into a taller container. This makes decanting the oil off easier.



Additional Comments sent to me by email
Curry base preparation.

After a week off work and much experimentation this is what I've found: To get that restaurant style "sweetness" in the dish you need to use an awful lot of oil in the base sauce's preparation. This ensures the onions caramelise rather than stew and brings out there natural sugars. Use the normal onion, garlic and ginger boiled base, puree well, and then fry with spices in oil, THE SAME QUANTITY OF OIL TO BASE PUREE (most of the oil is removed from the base afterwards). Be careful the oil's not too hot when adding the base. You'll want a deep pan with a lid. Medium heat.
 After half an hour or so the stuff should look curdled and separated. Take off heat and let stand for ten minutes. The solids should settle to the bottom. Pour off the oil into a separate vessel, leaving the solids (this is your base). Use some of this oil to cook the finished dish. The base will need salt adding to taste.
 Oil that's left over store in jar in the fridge. Next time you make a base top up with fresh oil to make enough to fry the base, i.e. the same quantity as the onion base.
 With each batch of base, the left over oil should become more and more flavoured. I?ve done three batches this week, and each one is better than its predecessor.
 I?ve heard that restaurants use the same oil over and over again. This kind of replicates that on a smaller scale.

I use rapeseed oil because, like olive oil, it?s supposedly better for you than standard vegetable or sunflower oils. Its taste is pretty neutral.

Good luck!

Offline CurryCanuck

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Re: New Curry Base - Some thoughts please
« Reply #1 on: April 05, 2006, 02:05 AM »
I have also tried the variation of this recipe where the onions are browned first and then added . It made for a slightly more sweet and smoky taste . I also reduced the amount of oil by half .

CC


Offline raygraham

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Re: New Curry Base - Some thoughts please
« Reply #2 on: April 05, 2006, 07:41 AM »
Hi,

There are a number of books I have read mainly traditional Indian cooking that say the Onions should be caramelised to produce a sweet smoky taste. Looking at the recipe above I wouldn't mind betting it is going to taste and have a consistency different to most of the bases we make on this site. Definately going to be thicker and the spicing seems quite intense for a base too.

I do wonder if most restaurants would spend so much time caramelising Onions. If 2 kilos takes up to 3 hours to cook how long would a restaurant sized batch take? All day perhaps, in which case I think most would avoid this method.
It's also interesting to read a recipe that uses the re-claimed oil method too.

Let us know if you try it.

Ray!


Offline Curry King

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Re: New Curry Base - Some thoughts please
« Reply #3 on: April 05, 2006, 09:32 AM »
I remember reading somewhere before that how you cook onions are important and there was a descirption of cooking them on their own at the begining.  I tried this once and it took a good few hours extra for me to finish making the base and the currys were noticably sweeter almost too sweet.  I didn't think it was worth all the extra hassle and time to be honest and as Ray says would a restaurant bother if it takes so long?  I would be intrested to see how it turns out though if you do go for it!

cK
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Offline gary

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Re: New Curry Base - Some thoughts please
« Reply #4 on: April 22, 2006, 01:24 PM »
Interesting, but I'm not terribly convinced.

I've been having the caremalised Vs boiled debate with myself for a good few years now - I always thought that caremalisation was a must.

However, moved by the weight of evidence, I've now started using the boiling method, and I must say I feel my currys have taken a huge step towards a more authentic restaurant taste and texture.

I'm not a food scientist, but I reckon a good long boil is enough to release the sugars in most vegetables - including onions. Think back to the overcooked carrots and sprouts of yesteryear - before the trend fr everything al-dente, how sweet were they ;)

I really can't see this being a financial viable way for retaurants to prep their base sauce for the masses.

Gary
Quote from: Chef Abdul Mohed
As a chef, cooking Indian dishes both at home and in the restaurant; I have not seen any difference in regards to the taste.

Offline pete

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Re: New Curry Base - Some thoughts please
« Reply #5 on: April 23, 2006, 09:31 AM »
This is Dylan's recipe
He was off work and got stuck into some curry experminents
I tried it and got some very good results
Very sweet and savoury
The first time I saw potato in a gravy recipe, was here
I doubted it, but later saw it used at my Bengal Cuisine demo
He was right about reclaiming oil too
So, well done Dylan
I've been going to different takeaways and one thing is for sure
They don't all taste the same
The base is NOT identical
In fact I have had a few curries recently which have no trace of the "taste"
If I had made them, I would have thought "not good enough"
The results Dylan got might match his local takeaway, and maybe matches some of mine.
The only way I can ever be sure, is to have a bought curry to compare with my made one
Having said that, I had a brilliant Bombay Potato side dish
The best ever
I went back four days later and bought another, and it wasn't a patch on the first one
If the professionals can't get it right, what chance have we?

Offline merrybaker

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Re: New Curry Base - Some thoughts please
« Reply #6 on: April 23, 2006, 05:44 PM »
I had a brilliant Bombay Potato side dish The best ever I went back four days later and bought another, and it wasn't a patch on the first one.? If the professionals can't get it right, what chance have we?

Maybe it was the chef's night off, and the second-in-command was cooking.? You could disguise your voice and phone to ask what night(s) the chef has off.
« Last Edit: April 23, 2006, 07:24 PM by merrybaker »


Offline Mark J

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Re: New Curry Base - Some thoughts please
« Reply #7 on: April 23, 2006, 05:52 PM »
Ive found this in my local, vastly different results when the head chef has his night off

Offline pete

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Re: New Curry Base - Some thoughts please
« Reply #8 on: April 25, 2006, 07:55 AM »
Ive found this in my local, vastly different results when the head chef has his night off
I never thought of that
It's funny to think that you can have all the right ingredients, and still get it wrong

Offline deckitout

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Re: New Curry Base - Some thoughts please
« Reply #9 on: April 25, 2006, 07:12 PM »
Ive found this in my local, vastly different results when the head chef has his night off


I actually checked which nights the Head chef has off at my local and avoid those nights as the quality is just not the same

Phil


 

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