Top Tip: Knives

Standard

You need sharp knives, it’s as simple as that. Blunt knives are dangerous as you need to apply more pressure, that equates to more chance of slipping and cutting yourself. This doesn’t mean your knives need to be expensive, cheap knives can be kept very sharp too, but they’ll just need a little more looking after than a high quality knife.

Sharpening knives is relatively easy, and made that much easier by doing it regularly. Our advice is to purchase a wet stone, sometimes called a sharpening stone, like the ones found here: https://www.steamer.co.uk/atoz/a_to_z_sharpening_stones You basically soak the stone in water, for a given amount of time, then scrape the blade back and forth at a constant angle. This very gradually shapes the blade, removes burrs and polishes the edge. You could always use a “grind” sharpener, the type with a V shape groove you drag the blade through, however these can often damage the blade and leave a rough edge. Butcher’s steels are also very good, but can take a bit of getting used to.

When it comes to cleaning knives there is only one golden rule you should follow; never, ever, ever put them in a dish washer! This rattles the knives around, clanking them together which will ruin the blade edges, also the dishwasher detergent is very abrasive, which will also damage the blade surface. Clean them in the sink with normal washing up liquid, rinse them and dry them straight away.

Knife storage is quite simple, use a good quality knife block, or a magnetic holder. Don’t just bundle them into a cutlery drawer for the same reasons you don’t want them knocking together in the dish washer. If you’ve got very expensive knives, you can even buy rubberised sheaths for them, to protect the blades even further.

As far as brands go, knives can be a bit “snobbish”. However, to be fair to the more expensive manufacturers, there is definitely a difference. We use everything from £10 Stellar knives right up to £100+ Global knives. The Stellars are perfectly serviceable knives and we use them regularly, however the Globals definitely have the edge (pun intended). They’re sharper from the start, stay sharper longer, have a better balance, and with any luck, will last longer. Other brands we like include Robert Welch, I.O. Shen, Kin and Yaxell.

Advertisements

Shatkora

Standard

Serves: 1

Introduction:

Shatkora is an Asian citrus fruit that is very popular in Indian cookery. Apparently, if you’re unable to source fresh or frozen shatkora, a good substitute is grapefruit, but we’re not convinced by this. Most Asian supermarkets will probably stock shatkora, just ask if you can’t find it on the shelves.

Ingredients:

  • Precooked meat or vegetables
  • 400ml Base gravy
  • 2 tbsp. Vegetable oil
  • 2 spring onions, chopped
  • 2 tsp. Garlic & Ginger puree
  • 1 tsp. Mix powder
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • 1 tbsp. Methi leaves
  • 1 tsp. Cumin powder
  • 2 chillies, chopped.
  • 1 tsp. Chilli powder
  • 1/4 of a peeled, chopped Shatkora
  • 1 tbsp. of Shatkora zest.
  • 1 tomato, diced.

Method:

Heat the oil in a hot pan, then add the spring onions and the garlic and ginger puree. After a few minutes add the chillies, diced tomato, mix powder, chilli powder, salt and cumin. Add half of the base gravy and allow to boil for a minute or so, now add the shatkora fruit and zest, add your precooked meat and the rest of the base gravy. Allow to boil and thicken for a few minutes, before finally adding the methi leaves. Give it all a good stir and serve, garnished with a little extra shatkora zest, or some coriander if you prefer.

Curry recipe resources

Standard

As we’re sure you already know, The Curry Bible isn’t the only curry recipe website available on the Internet. There’s all sorts of resource for the discerning Curry-ista, everything from recipe websites, community forums, on-line shops selling authentic spices and cooking equipment, the list goes on. Here’s a quick run down of some of our favourites.

A great on-line resource is the BIRCurries.co.uk website, it’s an invaluable forum where you can find massive amounts of information from plenty of other curry enthusiasts, both newbies and veterans alike! The forum is organised really well so you can find sections for starters, main dishes, side dishes etc. There’s also a few professional Indian restaurant chefs that  use the forum too! Take a look here: BIRCurries.co.uk.

Although it hasn’t been updated in a long time, The Curry Sauce is an excellent website. Run by Shane and Andy, two curry loving friends the site has a few really good recipes posted, our personal favourite being the Naga / Sylhet and also some reviews and other curry related information.

Cook4One is a fantastic website, but can feel a little overwhelming for new users at first. It’s a website dedicated to cooking single portion food, which is a category BIR curry’s fit in to perfectly. The website caters for authentic Indian, BIR, Chinese, Vegetarian and other types of cuisine. The BIR section is certainly expansive and jam packed with recipes and information. There are at least five different base sauce recipes, each given a code name, so as we say, for the beginner it can be a little daunting.

Dan Toombs, AKA The Curry Guy runs the Great Curry Recipes website and it’s a cracker. Dan has also published a couple of e-books too, the seafood book is seriously worth a look. You can also get in touch with Dan on Twitter and Facebook, he’s a friendly guy, always keen to help out, give advice and generally chat about all things Curry! Dan also runs a small on-line shop where you can buy some excellent spice kits, Curry-centric cookware and the inimitable I.O.Shen knives! The Curry Guy also tends to run competitions from time to time too, so get involved!

Another useful BIR recipe website is The Curry House, the recipes posted are definitely worth a look. They too have produced a recipe book that you can purchase in both physical and electronic formats. There’s also a very useful FAQ section. Here’s the link: The Curry House

Other on-line resources that we love include:

Let’s get connected – Twitter

Standard

Hi, thanks for visiting us here at The Curry Bible! We hope you enjoy the recipes and please feel free to leave comments, we love hearing from you. We’d love to hear your thoughts on the recipes and any requests for recipes.

If you’d like to keep in touch with us via the electronic magic of Twitter you can follow us here: https://twitter.com/TheCurryBible

Methi Palak

Standard

Serves: 1

Introduction:

This curry takes it’s name from the key ingredients used, methi (Fenugreek leaves) and palak (spinach). Please note that many restaurants and take-aways use the term saag for spinach, when in fact saag actually refers to any green leafy vegetable. This curry is often served with Paneer (cheese).

Ingredients:

  • Precooked meat or vegetables
  • 2 tbsp. Vegetable oil
  • 400ml Base gravy
  • 2 tsp. Garlic & Ginger puree
  • 1 tsp. Mix powder
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • 1 tsp. Sugar
  • 2 tbsp. Methi leaves
  • 2-3 cloves
  • 1 tsp. Cumin powder
  • 2 tsp. Coriander powder
  • 1 tsp. Garam masala
  • ¼ tsp. Asaefotida powder
  • 1 tsp. Chilli powder
  • 4 tbsp. Puree’d spinach
  • A handful of fresh chopped spinach leaves.

Method:

Heat the oil in a hot pan, then add the garlic and ginger puree, after a minute or two add the cloves, dry spice powders (excluding the garam masala), salt and sugar. Allow the spices to combine with the puree then add a ladle of base gravy, mix well and add the meat or vegetables and the puree’d spinach. Continue adding the base gravy a ladle full at a time, allowing the curry to thicken. Add the garam masala and stir well. Add the fresh spinach, stir again and serve immediately.

Steamed Rice

Standard

Serves: 2

Introduction:

This is an utterly fool proof method for cooking perfect boiled basmati rice. Not quite as exotic as our Pilau rice recipe but much more straight forward.

Ingredients:

  • 1 mug of washed Basmati rice
  • 2 mugs of fresh, cold water
  • 1 tsp. Fennel seeds
  • 1 pinch of Salt

Method:

Wash the basmati rice in plenty of fresh water, we find the simplest way to do this is pop the rice in a sieve and run it under the cold tap until the water runs clear.

Now add all of the ingredient to a suitable size pan and slowly bring it all to the boil. Stir only now and again to stop it sticking, you don’t want to release too much starch from the rice or it will go sticky. As soon as the rice comes to the boil, give it one last stir, pop a lid on and turn the heat down to the lowest setting, let the rice simmer for exactly ten minutes. After ten minutes the water level should have dropped below the surface of the rice, move the pan off the heat and leave it to sit with the lid on for a further twenty minutes. After the twenty minutes resting time the rice will be perfectly steamed and still nice and hot, fluff it up with a fork and serve.

Customer service is alive and well!

Standard

As part of our equipment here at The Curry Bible kitchen, we have a full set of early 1990s Le Creuset cast iron pans in brilliant white. These pans are old but just keep getting better and better with age. However, when we bought the pans they were fitted with the old fashioned wooden handles, which meant they couldn’t be used inside an oven. This needed to be remedied! We bought ourselves some replacement phenolic (oven proof) handles and some shiny new hanging rings. Unfortunately as we were changing the handle on the 18cm pan, disaster struck! The internal handle rod had sheared off! After some very colourful language and a few minutes crying we popped a tweet over to Le Creuset’s UK customer support account asking for any help or advice on how to repair the pan. At this point it’s worth pointing out that new Le Creuset pans come with a life time guarantee, however this didn’t apply to our pans as they were too old and purchased before the life time guarantee was in place. Very graciously however, Le Creuset offered us the option of sending our pan back to them using their free post service, so that their engineers could take a look and let us know their thoughts on how to repair the handle. This was great! We parcelled up the pan and sent it off, crossed our fingers and hoped for the best.

After a couple of days we received an email from Le Creuset explaining that as a gesture of good will they were going to replace the pan completely free of charge and asked that we let them know which colour we would like! This was utterly amazing! How many manufacturers do you know of that would replace a 20+ year old cast iron pan for free?! Well, we can answer that, just one, Le Creuset! Our new pan arrived today and is looking utterly gorgeous!
We’d like to take this opportunity to thank Maria, Sarah and everyone else at Le Creuset UK for going above and beyond the call of duty and providing what can only be described as the best customer support we’ve ever received.
Vive Le Creuset customer service!

Korma

Standard

Serves: 1

Introduction:

Another curry named after the method of cooking. The word Korma translates roughly as “To Braise”, as such a traditional Korma will go through a long and slow process of cooking. In BIR circles the Korma is a mild curry flavoured with cardamom pods, almonds and yoghurt.

Ingredients:

  • Precooked meat or vegetables

  • 400ml Base gravy
  • 1 tsp. Mix powder
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • 1 tsp. Sugar
  • 3 tbsp. Ground almonds
  • 3 tbsp. Yoghurt
  • 1 tbsp. double cream
  • 3 or 4 Cardamom pods
  • 2 tbsp. Coconut powder
  • A few drops of yellow food colouring.

Method:

Toast the cardamom pods in the warm pan for a few seconds then add 200 ml of base gravy to the pan, add the mix powder, salt and sugar and stir well for a few minutes until beginning to boil. Allow the sauce to thicken then add the ground almonds and coconut powder, stir well to incorporate in to the sauce then add the precooked meat or vegetables and yoghurt. The yoghurt will thin the sauce out quite a bit so stir well and allow the sauce to thicken again. Now is the time to add the cream and the food colouring if you plan to use it. Stir well then serve.

Kalia

Standard

Serves: 1

Introduction:

A traditional Pakistani curry, very flavoursome and quite hot, although the heat levels vary depending on which chef is making the curry. It’s most commonly made using lamb, mutton or goat meat.

 

Ingredients:

  • Precooked meat or vegetables

  • 2 tbsp. Vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp. Garlic & ginger puree
  • 1 tbsp. grated fresh ginger
  • 1 tbsp. diced red chilli
  • 400ml Base gravy
  • 2 Cloves
  • 1 stick of cassia bark
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • 1/4 sliced onion
  • 3 or 4 Cardamom pods
  • 1 tsp. Black mustard seeds
  • 2 tsp. Cumin powder
  • 1 tsp. Curry powder
  • 1 tsp. Chilli powder
  • 2 tbsp. Methi leaves

Method:

Heat oil in a suitable pan, then add the garlic and ginger puree, extra ginger, diced chilli and onion, fry for a few minutes, stirring continuously. Add the salt, mustard seeds, cardamom pods, cloves, casia, chilli powder, cumin powder and curry powder then stir well. Turn up the heat and add a ladle of curry base and stir. Add the precooked meat or vegetables and continue to add the curry base, a ladle at a time, stirring occasionally as the water evaporates and the sauce thickens. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well. Continue to simmer, on a medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the oil begins to separate (4 to 5 minutes). Finally add the methi leaves, stir through for a minute or so, then serve.