letters to the Curry House

Sandra wrote :
Can you please answer a quick question for me? I have your quick curry recipe and it is for 2 servings - I am intending to have a curry night for friends and would like to know how to change the recipe spices to cater for 12 people? Thank you for your help and curries. Well the recipe was never really meant to be scaled up beyond maybe doubling it and I have never tried to do that. But I can give some hints from my general experience. Do make a standard portion for 2 for yourself sometime before your dinner. You might not like it! Also it will give you the feel of the recipe. These days I never try a new recipe on guests - I always cook it for myself first. Fry off the chicken (if that's what you are using) in small batches otherwise it will just stew if you overcrowd the frying pan. Use the biggest pan you've got to cook the curry. Don't add too much water (certainly NOT 60 fl oz/3 pints!) or you'll never be able to boil it all off. Add a little at a time as needed to stop the sauce drying out. Don't x6 the chillies!!! I would use about 10-12 then add chilli powder later if you need more heat. If you're cooking for 12 you're bound to get a few people who don't like things too hot. You could try splitting the curry into 2 pans and making a hotter and a milder version. You can x6 the ground cumin and coriander if you like BUT for the other spices I would x4 not x6. For some reason you don't need the same volume of spices when you make large amounts in one pan. Again, add a little garam masala later if you think it's lacking spiciness. Do try and get hold of the dried fenugreek leaves - they make all the difference N.B. - NOT fenugreek seeds. Do x6 the onions but I would only x4 the garlic too Similarly I would only use enough oil to get a good coating round all the onions (plus a little to spare in the bottom of the pan). You need enough oil so the onions don't burn but x6 the oil would be too much I think. Unless you have a massive pan I would fry off the onions in batches too. I would make the curry sauce earlier in the day. That way you can: A) relax when your guests arrive B) adjust the spicing etc. as necessary when you add the chicken for the final cooking.

© David W Smith, 2002
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