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Old 05-29-2012, 06:19 PM   #1
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Curry Paste choices?

I want to try using curry paste in my cooking along with curry powder that some recipes call for. Mainly to infuse a little more curry taste into the meat (marinating with curry powder doesn't seem to work that well). I've never bought or used curry paste before. I went to my local Ralph's grocery store and they had two kinds of Pataks curry paste. Mild Pataks curry paste and Masala Curry paste too. Some from Amazon.com reviews says its very vinegar tasting.

I guess I'll just have to buy various ones to find out what suits my taste. I am fond of spicyness in cooking, but I wonder if I should just use more medium curry paste rather than a hot one. I want a lot of curry taste, but not curry paste that has other ingredients to make it hot. (?)

I want to use it in my lamb curry stew that I've made for decades, and also when I make curried chicken and rice. I wouldn't mind tips, opinions, what brand you like and why or what brand you don't like and why.


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Old 05-29-2012, 06:51 PM   #2
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I like all the Patak's curry pastes that I have tried, less so the mild one. There won't be a taste like the taste from curry powder. That's something weird and Western. The smell of the stale fenugreek in curry powder makes me nauseous.

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Old 05-29-2012, 08:46 PM   #3
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I use all sorts of the Pataks pastes, they are great! I've made curries from scratch and the pastes are waaaayyy easier and just as tasty. I don't stick to the instructions on the jar ether. Like to add all sorts of veggies. More fun to be creative!
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Old 05-29-2012, 08:57 PM   #4
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We should all realize that there's at least two major divisons here: Indian curry vs. Thai curry. Indian curries often use yogurt, Thai curries often use coconut milk. (This is way over-simplification, we can discuss if you like.)

But what I'm sayin' is that maybe you should try a Thai curry paste, and I recommend Maesri brand (made in Thailand) available in several varieties (red, green, masamun etc.).

If the Indians aren't doing it for you maybe you should try a Thai.
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Old 05-29-2012, 09:09 PM   #5
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I use store-bought Thai curry pastes all the time, although I am trying to make my own paste now. I use a more "robust" cut of meat such as pork shoulder. I start off by browning the meat and then braising/stewing it in a mix of stock, thin coconut milk, some curry paste, galangal, ginger, lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves. Simultaneously, I start making the curry sauce in a separate pan using thick coconut milk, curry paste, sugar, fish sauce, etc. I use the braising liquid to create the sauce. Once the sauce reaches the desired consistency and flavor, and the meat has the required doneness, I add the meat to the curry sauce and finish the dish.
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Old 05-31-2012, 05:39 AM   #6
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I love Pataks indian pastes, always have one in the store cupboard, easy to use and taste great, never noticed anything vinegary about them. There are so many, the hot ones are really hot, very authentic I find, I go for somewhere in the middle.
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Old 05-31-2012, 11:48 PM   #7
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Thanks for the replies.
I just bought some Pataks Tikka Masala. I'm still wondering how I'm going to go about marinating the 2 lbs. of lamb stew meat my recipe calls for. Normally, I simmer the lamb in a quart of water (with onions, garlic, bay leaves, etc) with 4 tablespoons of curry powder added for 2-2.5 hours. I now want to try marinating the lamb beforehand to get more curry flavor into the meat. Stewing alone doesn't quite get that curry flavor into the lamb as much as I want now.

My lamb curry is made like a stew that is thickened at the end with arrowroot, and served over rice, with lots of condiments on top.

I suppose I could dry rub the lamb chunks with all or a portion of the 4 tablespoons curry powder and marinate for 6 hours, or maybe all or a portion of the curry powder with some curry paste added too, or marinate the lamb in curry paste only and perhaps adjust how much curry powder I add to the stewing process. It may be one of those things I just have to try to know which method works best to flavor the meat more. I don't plan to but, why is yogurt added for marinating lamb with powder or paste? To tenderize it?

I hope I don't overspice the 2 lbs. of packaged USA lamb for stew I just bought ($20). Wow, the price of lamb these days.
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Old 06-01-2012, 12:43 AM   #8
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I don't do a lot of complicated cooking, so forgive me going on about one of my faves. I loved this lamb curry my mom used to make way back. She got the recipe from 2 large fancy cook books that were part of a set of 1960's Encyclopedia Britannica. Those books are long gone, but I tore out the page with the lamb curry recipe.
I've been cooking this ever since, over the years.

I already posted the original recipe 4 years ago. The original called for adding some tomato sauce and cream, both of which my mom purposely left out, and for the better, IMO.

Lamb Curry - Easy and delicious

Now I wish to add more curry flavor to the lamb, the lamb meat is a bit bland tasting, the stew liquid is of course packed with curry flavor, but I'd like more flavor in the lamb meat itself. I'd rather not brown the meat first or something like that, if possible.
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Old 06-01-2012, 03:34 AM   #9
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I love Maesri brand best:


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Old 06-01-2012, 06:35 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Caslon View Post
I don't plan to but, why is yogurt added for marinating lamb with powder or paste? To tenderize it?
Exactly. If you're planning to marinate it, yogurt is what I would use as a base. The reason it's used in Indian cooking is because it's acidic. Its role is the same as that of vinegar or citrus juice in a western marinade: it helps tenderize the meat and carry other flavors with it.

Having said that, I make curry about once a week, and most of the recipes I've seen only marinate the meat if the plan is to grill it. For example, to make the Tandoori Chicken used as an ingredient in Murgh Makhani. Otherwise, the usual procedure is to saute a spice mixture in oil and onions, and then brown the meat in that. Once the gravy ingredients are added, you then slow cook it. You should get a ton of flavor.

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