You should try to use tasteless oil such as groundnut oil or pure vegetable oil. Olive oil for example will make the curries taste very greasy. Also, many of the recipes call for very large quantities of oil, do not try and be healthy by reducing this amount of oil, it carries the flavour and is essential, curries aren’t healthy, get over it. What you can do however, is skim the oil off the finished curries if you so wish and use it to cook your next curry! This is what many Restaurants and Take-Aways do. Not particularly hygienic but it can improve the flavour! Second hand oil is like flavoursome gold!
The best pans to use for cooking the actual curries are very simple aluminium or steel pans. As a rule you should avoid non-stick pans as the non-stick surface can become scratched and flakes of the Teflon can enter the food. The average size of most curry-ing pans is between 22cm and 25cm in diameter. Cast iron frying pans are very good at holding heat, however, they’re also very heavy and unless you’re very strong they’re not ideal for the fast paced world of BIR curries.
For cooking the Base Gravy, any large cooking pot will do. In this case large cast iron pots are perfect, specifically Le Creuset pans are excellent as they retain heat very well, also RUN cookware pans are exceptional. Remember not to over fill the pot as when it’s boiling, it will bubble and splash!
Traditional curry cooking pans include the Karahi which is often made from stainless steel in the UK, often incorrectly referred to as a “Balti” dish, the pan is similar in appearance to a small wok and includes to curved handles at either side. Traditional Karahi’s are often copper or cast iron.
Another popular Indian cooking vessel is the Handi, which is similar in size to a Karahi, but more commonly has a flat bottom and lacks handles of any type.
You don’t need to spend a fortune on knives, but once you have you’ll understand why they are in fact worth every penny. As stated above, never, ever use glass or marble chopping boards. They’re simply wrong! Use plastic, it’s hygenic, easy to clean and doesn’t destroy blades. Our favourite knives include Robert Welch knives, Kin knives and of course Global knives.
As a guide, most commercial curry kitchens use 5kw wok burner rings. These are very, very powerful burners. In this guide any hob can be used, but bear in mind a high heat described here, is a very high heat so use a suitable burner, or electric ring. Also, be careful when using a very high heat as the curry will spit, this can burn skin and make a mess of your kitchen, but it is required to thicken the recipes properly. We’d recommend wearing long sleeves when making a curry. Using too low a heat will mean the curries take longer to cook and never thicken properly, this means the flavours won’t develop either.
You may notice that many of the curries you produce may not be the same colour as the meals you buy in a restaurant or take-away. This is because these commercial outlets use food colouring to make the food seem more appetizing to customers who are used to seeing their curries look a certain way. Without food colouring almost all curries will end up varying shades of brown. However, there is nothing wrong with using food colouring in your cooking. Don’t forget the ingredients in the curry will alter how the colours work, for example the cream used in a Passanda will make the red food colouring turn pink. Colouring is usually added towards the very end of the cooking process, Tikka being the notable exception, where the colouring agent should be added to the marinade.