The spiciness in Indian food is much about richness and balance. And this balance is to be found in the basic Indian curry. The only dilemma when discussing the Indian curry is, it is not just one dish. The curry, which was how our British colonisers identified it, is a range of preparations made with a variety of ingredients in different parts of India. However, a few ingredients and cooking techniques tie all these curries together into one bunch. Here are some simple tips and tricks to step up your game.
1) Heat the whole spices in oil. While it's second nature to our mothers to put the whole spices into the hot oil before dropping anything else into the vessel, we newbies often forget this. This step brings out the flavour of the spices.
2) Use fresh condiments. Be it chillies or garlic, use fresh ones for the curry. You don't want your curry to be spoiled by shrivelled chillies or garlic that have lost their flavour.3) Add garam masala in the end. While we may forget to add salt, we are only too excited to drop dollops of garam masala in our curry. Our tip: wait till the curry is almost done and, then, add the masala. You can prepare the garam masala at home. Here is the recipe.
The spiciness in Indian food is much about richness and balance
3) Consistency matters. You can't make stock in the name of curry. Instead of using synthetic food thickening agents, use tomato, almond or cashew paste and coconut milk for the purpose.
4) A pinch of sugar helps. Your curry is salty and spicy but a pinch of sugar helps regulate the acidity and gives a balance.
5) Lemon juice can balance the salt. In case you've overdone the salt, we can fix it to some extent. Squeeze lemon juice to balance the taste.
7) Give it time. You can't hurry with the curry, not until you are an expert like your great-grandmother. Cooking in medium or low flames at some point during the preparation is vital to let the ingredients cook well.
Since you've bagged all the basic tips, here's a pro tip on how to make a perfect thick chicken curry with not a drop of oil. Check it out.
Let us know about your curry hacks in the comments.