Very little can compare to the satisfying aroma of a good restaurant or takeaway curry. Served with naan bread and fragrant basmati rice it is the comfort food most South Africans crave after a long week. But what if you could reproduce the authentic flavour at home, from scratch, in your own kitchen?
In this article, we set out to give you a guide to cooking the best curry at home. Curry that takes the crown away from your local Indian takeaway and places it firmly on the home cook’s head. So, if you are ready to be crowned curry queen (or king) - read on!
Four Simple Tips For The Best Curry Dishes
The create the best homemade curry that tastes authentically delicious, keep these four simple tips in mind:
- Take your time
- Get the spice balance just right
- Ensure your rice is light and fluffy
- The secret is in the serving
1. Take Your Time
We know that in a fast-paced world it is almost impossible to take your time when you are preparing dinner. However, curry remains a dish that simply cannot be rushed. Slow cooking your curry allows the flavours to develop fully and the other ingredients to soak up the herbs, spices, and curry powder over time.
Evidence that the best curry is always slow cooked is in the fact that most curries taste better the day after they have been prepared. This is because the ingredients have had time to marinate and blend with the sauce overnight.
If you are ready to take a shot at making the best curry, have a look at this recipe: Flavourful Chicken Curry which takes 75 minutes to slow cook to mouth-watering perfection. Serve on a bed of fluffy basmati rice for a heavenly, heartwarming meal.
2. Get The Spice Balance Just Right
Curry experts everywhere know that to cook a perfect curry you need to get the balance of spices just right. Spices are strong in flavour, so it is easy to overpower the sauce by adding too much turmeric, ginger, cumin or coriander.
Amateur curry cooks are sometimes scared of adding too many spices and end up adding too little, which results in the curry being bland and insipid. To save the flavour of your curry refer to this article: Easy Ways to Rescue Your Curry.
To get your spice balance perfect you can either follow a recipe step by step and measure your spices meticulously, or make use of a pre-mixed curry powder such as Rajah curry powder.
The benefit of using a pre-mixed curry powder is that the spices, herbs, and seasoning are blended to perfection, making it a lot easier to get the balance right. Additionally, you don’t have to spend extra time toasting the spices and grinding them into the flawless blend. Try this recipe: Seafood Curry Pot in which two tablespoons of Rajah Medium curry powder is used.
3. Ensure Your Rice Is Light And Fluffy
In the best curry dishes the delicious sauce is served on basmati rice which soaks up the flavour of the spices and adds a satisfying feeling of fullness to the meal. In many cultures around the world rice is a staple food and its nutty, chewy taste is celebrated both on its own and with curry sauce served over it.
To get your rice fluffy and light, you need to rinse it in a colander for about a minute before cooking it. Wait until the water runs clear - this will stop it from sticking together once it’s cooked. Now cook the rice, following the instructions on the packet.
Top Tip: For a deeper flavour infuse the water which you will use to cook your rice with cinnamon sticks, a green tea bag or lemon zest.
Try this recipe: Prawn Jollof Rice to experience a meal in which rice is celebrated as the main act!
4. The Secret Is In The Serving
Serving is an important step on the road towards the perfect curry, yet in our rush to put food on the table this step is often overlooked. There is so much you can do to enhance the meal experience at this stage of the preparation. For a hint of greenery, add a sprig of coriander to your curry. Or finish your curry off with a sprinkle of desiccated coconut.
To score brownie points with your family you can add a little crunch in the form of flaked almonds. Or take your meal back in time to the 1970s with bananas and serve it with a side helping of sliced bananas and chutney for a little sweetness.
To really achieve a takeaway level of moreish delight, add naan bread or roti when serving your curry. Both are divine when torn into strips and dipped into a curry sauce. Here is a delectable curry that is served with naan bread or roti for a vegetarian feast: Veggie Curry with Roti.
Become A Curry Pro When The Weather Gets Cold
If you follow these four tips to the best homemade curry, we are willing to bet that you will order fewer Indian takeaways and cook curry from scratch more often. With delicious rice, roti or naan, a balanced flavour and perfect serving, you’ll be crowned curry royalty in no time.