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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.

http://www.discusscooking.com/forums...ous-45167.html

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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Quote:
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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Old 06-01-2012, 10:52 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zereh View Post
I love Maesri brand best:

I've used this brand to good effect too.

One thing should be understood, there's Thai curry and there's Indian curry. I don't like Indian curry at all. Pataks tasts yucky to me. I make Thai curries, based upon coconut milk as the liquid.

So my point is that whatever you use depends on what kind of curry you're making. I'm not sure but I suspect the curry pastes from one region might not be right for cooking curries from the other region.
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Old 06-01-2012, 03:43 PM   #12
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I tasted the Pataks, it's well...curry tasting with maybe some vinegar taste too.

I'm going to buy some Thai curry paste too, for comparison. Thanks.

I also noted the part about sauteing the lamb. As it so happens, I saute 2 large chopped onions in some butter until the onions turn clear. I COULD toss in the lamb at that point (curry powdered + maybe a little curry paste too) and saute the lamb awhile too, then continue with the stewing process as called for.
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Old 06-01-2012, 07:12 PM   #13
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Calson, if you try the Thai curries I suggest you base your recipes on coconut milk, or IMO (my own idea here) even better to use coconut cream if you can find it.

And I just don't accept use of curry powder as applicable to making curries. I think the powder is great to add a curry taste to other dishes, but IMO a curry dish requires more than mere curry powder can deliver.

Finally please note that my area of expertise is Thai curries, and that I know very little about Indian curries, nor do I like Indian curries. Anything I've said should be considered knowing that what I say applies to Thai curries, not Indian curries. Personally, I don't like Patak's, but then you now know why.
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Old 06-01-2012, 11:48 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Greg Who Cooks View Post

Finally please note that my area of expertise is Thai curries, and that I know very little about Indian curries, nor do I like Indian curries. Anything I've said should be considered knowing that what I say applies to Thai curries, not Indian curries. .
Noted, thanks. This thread will self-destruct in 60 seconds.
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Old 06-02-2012, 06:46 AM   #15
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Maybe some of you curry guru's could make a suggestion for a small bit of curry sauce made with Thai Red Curry (what I have in the fridge).

I'd like some 'taste' of curry to use over some chickpeas/small red beans/brown rice.

(I could add some beef or chicken or whatever--it's just not currently on my personal menu.)

Can you make a little, say 1/2 cup of sauce, using the Thai Red Curry? What do you suggest? I like citrus, creamy, some salt, all vegetables/fruits. Ideas?
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Old 06-02-2012, 10:55 AM   #16
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Note that you can use part of the curry paste from a can, then transfer the rest to a glass dish covered with plastic wrap and it will last months in your refrigerator. Throw it out when/if it changes in appearance.

Blissful it sounds like you're making an Indian curry (chick peas, brown rice, beans) so I have no idea. Speak up if you're willing to add coconut milk.
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Old 06-02-2012, 11:04 AM   #17
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It might sound like indian--but since I wouldn't know the difference, let's just pretend it's thai.
Sure I can use coconut milk, what next?
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Old 06-02-2012, 11:11 AM   #18
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My basic Thai recipe with no additions is to place a modest amount of coconut milk in a wok and heat it up until it's warm enough to dissolve the curry paste. Add some paste and keep stirring until the coconut milk and paste are evenly mixed. Add enough additional coconut milk to suit the size of your full recipe and simmer it for about 20 minutes, stirring as required. Add some fish sauce to taste, stir, then add your meat, poultry, fish, shrimp, whatever, continue cooking another 20 minutes or until the meat is tender. You would add various vegetables as you go along, depending on what kind of curry you're making. This would make a pretty plain curry.

My advice is to google curry recipes and pick and choose whatever ingredients that appeal to you.
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Old 06-02-2012, 04:00 PM   #19
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The majority of curries I've made (Thai style) call for putting the curry paste in first before any liquid is called for.

Steamed Mussels with Lemongrass Coconut Curry is simple, with only a handful of ingredients, yet has outstanding flavor. I've made it many times to rave reviews.

Also this Thai Green Chicken Curry is a great recipe. You make your own "curry paste" for this one rather than using a pre-made one. This is another outstanding one I can highly recommend. Reheated leftovers the next day make you fall in love with it all over again.

"Curry" really just means spice mix and curry powder from a tin isn't really used often in home-style Indian cooking. Instead the curry flavor profile is created by using individual herbs and spices. Some spices are ground from whole, some are toasted, some are given a trip through some hot oil until they "pop" and release their flavor.

There are as many different types of curries as their are kitchens. ;)
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Old 06-02-2012, 04:24 PM   #20
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This is great: Basic Curry Paste from Honest Cooking

This is a basic tomato based curry paste recipe that is the base of almost all Indian curries. With a slight variation here and there you can make hundreds of curries using this basic curry paste. It can be made in bulk and can be stored for weeks. No more going to the stores and buying jarred month old curry paste that cost you a fortune and don’t taste half as good!

Ingredients / Makes approx. 1.5 cups of wet curry paste:
1 cup chopped onion
1 inch ginger
3-4 cloves of garlic
2-3 green chilis (or any chili pepper of your choice)
dry spice powder)- Only half of it will be used in this recipe for curry paste. You can store the rest in an air tight container for later. <-- not sure what this is, it's incorrect on the original source as well. =/
2-3 bay leaves
2 tsp cloves
2 tsp peppercorn
3-4 black cardamom
1/2 Cinnamon stick
1/2 tbsp cumin seeds
3 tbsp coriander seeds (you can use 2/2.5 tbsp coriander powder if you don’t have seeds)
other ingredients:
1 tsp turmeric
2 tbsp oil
1 tsp ghee (optional)
Salt to taste
1 cup diced tomato

Grind together ingredients for the wet mix in a food processor or blender/grinder. Use about 3-4 tbsp of water if necessary for the blades to rotate. Set aside.

Grind together all the dry ingredients in a spice or coffee grinder. Set aside.

Heat oil in a thick bottom pan, add wet mix. Cook it on medium high heat until all the water has evaporated. Once the paste starts getting thicker reduce the heat to medium low, add salt and turmeric. Cook until the paste starts changing color and gets golden brown in color.

Add ghee. Very soon oil will start to separate. Add diced tomato. First the tomatoes begin to melt then slowly all the liquid will evaporate. Cook until the mixture has no liquid left.

Now add dry ingredients. Mix everything well together. Your curry paste is ready.

Notes: Now you can add vegetables if you are making a vegetable curry. Add browned, baked, stir fried or deep fried meat to make a meat curry. You can also add it to rice with a few vegetables and make a tahiri (spicy rice pilaf).

This curry paste can be stored in a refrigerator for weeks. All you have to do is let the paste cool down completely and then transfer it to an air tight container and freeze.
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