Tips & Tricks for the Perfect Curry
With a few simple tricks, you can whip up a deliciously satisfying dish; better than anything the local takeout or supermarket can offer.
How to make the perfect curry
Look for the secret to the perfect curry? While some of us might be tempted to reach for the shop bought pastes and sauces, making your own perfect curry from scratch couldn’t be easier and knowing how to temper the spices and being familiar with the ingredients you are cooking with is key. With a few simple tricks, you can whip up a deliciously satisfying dish; better than anything the local takeout or supermarket can offer.
Sizzle your spice:
Kick off your curry by heating whole spices in hot oil to unleash their flavour. Choose from cardamom, cinnamon, cloves and seeds for the perfect base to your dish. Fresh spices are the best choice and will keep for longer in the freezer.
It’s a common misconception that curries have to be unhealthy. For a healthier curry, simply soak almonds in water for an hour and blitz to create an almond paste or choose tomato as an alternative to coconut milk. Spices such as chilli and ginger are packed with health benefits such as antioxidants which help fight viruses and can help boost circulation.
Take your time:
A good curry doesn’t have to take hours but it’s important to allow ingredients such as onions to cook properly, to get the most flavour out of them. Plus, save powered spices like Garam Masala until last. The cooking process reduces the flavour of dried spices so it’s best to wait until you’re almost finished with the heat before adding to your mix.
Season to taste:
Tomato based curries can benefit from a little sugar to take away the acidity and a pinch of salt can also balance the dish. If you accidentally go a little overboard with the seasoning, a twist of lemon juice will neutralise the excess.
Transform your curry with a simple topping! Toasted sesame seeds, desiccated coconut or a sprinkle of fresh pomegranate adds another layer of depth to your creation.
Make curries go further by adding pulses like chickpeas and yellow split peas. Not only will it bulk out the meal, but pulses are great sources of protein and fibre which will give your dish a nutritional boost. As long as the rice is cooled quickly (i.e run under cold water after cooking) and stored in the fridge, it’s safe to reheat the next day – or you can grab a pack of our handy Steamed Basmati Rice which takes just two minutes in the microwave!
Tips for cooking better curries at home
How to thicken a curry
A popular way to thicken a curry is by adding tomato puree or unflavoured yoghurt. Simply adding tomato puree or yoghurt to your curry during the cooking process creates a smooth and creamy consistency.
Greek yoghurt can serve as a cream substitute. Simply add yoghurt to your curry until it reaches your desired thickness.
Tomato puree works best in tomato-based curries to add thickness and strong flavour. Mix in the tomato puree while cooking until the curry is your preferred consistency. If you do not have tomato puree, diced tomatoes or tomato paste can also be used.
How to make curry less spicy
You can make a curry less spicy by adding coconut milk, cream, yoghurt, or sour cream to your curry dish while cooking.
These cooling ingredients aim to reduce the heat of your curry by spreading out the spice.
Coconut milk is best used in coconut-based curries to complement the flavours. Add the coconut milk to the curry until the spiciness has reduced.
Sour cream, regular cream, and yoghurt can also be added to improve the flavour. Pour in the sour cream, regular cream or yoghurt and taste until you reach the desired spice level.
You can also add more base ingredients to your curry to make it less spicy. Diced potatoes and extra meat help to bulk out the dish and absorb spice.
How to sweeten a curry
A curry can be sweetened by adding honey, syrup, or sugar. These ingredients add flavour and balance to a sour or bitter curry.
Add around one tablespoon of either ingredient to your curry while cooking and taste. Continue to slowly add syrup, honey, or sugar to the dish until a sweet flavour is achieved.
Sweet-tasting vegetables such as sweet potato and butternut squash can also add sweet flavour elements and create balance.
How to give curry depth
You can give a curry depth by adding umami goodness. Umami is one of the basic five tastes and is often described as a meaty, savoury deliciousness that deepens a dish’s flavour.
Natural foods that peak umami taste receptors include tomatoes, mushrooms, onions, and roasted spice.
Add umami ingredients sparingly to your curry dish for a deepened and elevated flavour.
When to add spices to curry
It is best to add spices to a curry towards the end of the cooking process to preserve their flavours.
The flavour of dried spice is naturally reduced during cooking so add spices and herbs to the mix from the midway point for optimum taste.
How to cook frozen prawns in a curry
Frozen prawns can be added to curry to create a simple and flavourful dish. Their mild yet sweet flavour makes them a versatile ingredient in a range of curries.
To defrost your frozen prawns, leave them in the fridge overnight or simply place them in a colander over the sink while running cold water over them.
Then add your raw prawns to curry as the last ingredient. You will know when your prawns are cooked as they turn a subtle pink shade.
How to cook a curry in a slow cooker
To cook a curry in a slow cooker you should add all your ingredients and leave them to cook throughout the day.
Add your ingredients and mix well to combine flavours and aromas. Cover the slow cooker with the lid and cook on high. Be sure to check the curry at various points throughout the day so the ingredients do not become overdone.
Use chicken thighs over the breast in a slow cooker as they remain tender for longer. Do not add too much liquid as the water cannot evaporate, leaving you with a watery curry.
For the ultimate curry recipe, why not check out our Perfect Chicken Curry?
Recipes to try