letters to the Curry House

Maddie wrote :
I have tried in vain over the past 20 years to achieve the "spiced" taste to the meat in my curries, even marinating and long term freezing does not get the same restaurant results..SO WHY? I am now despondant and need help pleeeeeeeeze. If you can shed any light I will be most grateful; I like the taste of restaurant curries even if they are not that authentic in some cases. Using a "restaurant-style" rather than an authentic Indian or Pakistani recipe is essential if you are trying to replicate that restaurant curry taste. Restaurant-style curries use a standard sauce as their base. This is my "Basic Curry Sauce" (BCS). Each curry then has its own spices and ingredients added to make it a unique dish. In a restaurant the meat or chicken will be partially cooked in the BCS earlier in the day to save time later. The meat will then be chilled until needed. This, in effect, means that the meat will marinate in the BCS for some hours and will pick up spiciness along the way. Meat for tandoori dishes (including tikkas) will be marinated in yogurt and spices but, because of the incredibly high heat in the tandoor oven, will not need pre-cooking. The meat will cook so quickly that the customer will not be kept waiting. The marination will be several hours and, again, the taste and texture of the meat will be transformed. You will see that I don't suggested pre-cooking meat in my own recipes. That's really to keep the recipes simple. But, if you want extra spicy meat, try cooking it some hours earlier in a little oil and a few tablespoons of the BCS (plus added spices if you like), then chill it and finish cooking it later.

© David W Smith, 2001
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