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Old 10-16-2005, 01:01 PM   #1
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Curry Question

Have several Indian recipes for various generic curries, plus Vindaloo and Rogan Josh. They generally don't brown the meat or chicken before adding the wet ingredients. Anyone know if there's a particular reason for this, and what would happen if I do brown them first? Thanks in advance.

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Old 10-16-2005, 03:27 PM   #2
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Hmmmm ... I'm interested in seeing this answer. Yakuta, where are you? I, personally, brown the onions, spices, and raw meats (I often make curry with leftover cooked meat, and most often make it vegetarian) before cooking. If you put the meat in last it strikes me that you'll get a more tender meat, that's been poached rather than sauteed. But I'm not Indian and have no expertise. Someone out there, help!
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Old 10-18-2005, 10:27 AM   #3
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O.K. here are basic steps (Curry 101) per my cooking. I am not Chef so that's an advanced warning but yes I have learned from my uncle who is a Chef.

Oil or Fat medium goes in first
Onions go in next and have to be browned (no Indian curry is made with translucent onions so you have to really use elbow grease if you want a deep rich looking curry color).
Next goes in the minced ginger and garlic (Indian curries will never be complete without these two ingredients)
Next goes in the dry spices ( I freshly grind mine but you can use curry powder if you don't have an elaborate pantry full of these spices). Keep in mind toasting the spices and ginger and garlic in the oil and onion is key and do it on low heat so it does not stick.
Next comes the tomatoes. I add them and then I fry them in the oil and spices until they release all their water and become pulpy (again a key step in adding color and flavor to the curry)
Next goes the meat. Given the water from the tomatoes is completely gone and the onion and tomatoes are a paste the meat browns nicely. I fry it along with the mixture for atleast 10 minutes.
Next goes in water and since i use a pressure cooker to cook my goat or lamb, I will add water to cover the surface and then close the cooker and off it goes for 30-45 minutes. If you use a regular dutch oven you can add the water and cover it and cook it in an oven or on medium heat for an hour or so.
Finally once the meat is cooked, adjust the thickness of the gravy. There is nothing more disgusting than a runny gravy (in Indian cooking)
I will sometimes finish my curry with yogurt. It's best to use room temperature plain yogurt. You can add a little hot curry to it in a bowl to temper it and then pour it into the gravy to avoid curdling
Goes in a garnish of freshly chopped cilantro and some diced jalapenos (for those who love spicy food, some slivers of ginger) and you have a professional looking Indian curry.

So in short meat is browned - the difference is that it is done with the onions and reduced tomato pulp and spices unlike in other cuisines where it's browned just in oil with little salt and pepper.

Also you can cook any curry using the recipe above just adjust your cooking times - Lamb, Goat or Beef requires a lot of time. Chicken not as much, Veggies even less.

Finally instead of yogurt you can add some heavy cream or coconut milk for a variation and you will see how much the flavor changes.
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Old 10-18-2005, 10:47 AM   #4
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Very nice tutorial Yakuta.
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Old 10-18-2005, 03:21 PM   #5
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****, that sounds good Yakuta. Almost makes me want to eat some Indian Curry...almost. I prefer the Asian version myself.

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Old 10-20-2005, 05:23 PM   #6
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Thank you, Yakuta! I had the general right idea, but wasn't browning the onions enough, and definitely not the meat enough!

I don't think I met a "curry" I didn't like, from Indian, through southeast Asian, to Polynesian. The curry I keep in my freezer is a sort of Indian style. I love them all. I make mine for the freezer with vegetables only, then when I thaw, I add meat if we feel like it.
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Old 10-20-2005, 05:29 PM   #7
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Many of the curry houses in the UK win prizes in international competitions. It used to be Bradford (in Yorkshire) that won the prizes - but I believe that the last 2 international 'Indian' food prizes were won by chefs from Glasgow They say that the 'national dish' of the UK has changed from Roast beef and yorkshire pudding to curry.

I have to admit to a penchant for Indian sub-continent curries over those of SE Asia.
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Old 10-31-2005, 09:18 AM   #8
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A belated thanks Yakuta, for bringing order and sense to my confusion. Using this method, I made chicken curry with coconut milk and soaked raisins, with about a dozen spices (half of those in my drawer!). It was excellent.
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Old 11-04-2005, 08:48 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Ishbel
- but I believe that the last 2 international 'Indian' food prizes were won by chefs from Glasgow .

That'd be the Koh-i-noor. Quite easily the best curry i've had in my entire life. Its down the bottom of North Street i think.
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Old 11-04-2005, 09:58 AM   #10
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You are probably right, but I'm from Edinburgh and don't know Glasgow restaurants that well
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