This topic contains 10 replies, has 10 voices, and was last updated by  sam 8 months, 1 week ago.

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  • #248

    carly
    Participant

    I don’t know how to cook curries at all, and I want to cook a slow-cooked beef or lamb curry for tonight. When I look at recipes, they all sound horribly wrong to me. They involve things like covering the raw meat in yoghurt and then putting that, cold, into a simmering sauce. The image that this conjurs in my head is not something I want for dinner. This runs against all my instincts, which would tell me to sear the meat with spices, put that into a simmering sauce for a few hours, and add yoghurt just before serving.

    Are there any basic principles about cooking curries with tomatoes, slow-cooked meat and yoghurt that I should go with?

    I’m not interested in time-consuming, fancy recipes that I’d make for a dinner party. I’m talking about food for dinner after getting in from training at the wall. Simple, tasty and nutritious, requiring a bit of prep and then leaving in the slow cooker for a few hours.

    Cheers!

  • #249

    Katy
    Participant

    Hot oil. Throw in your cumin seeds and wait till they darken. Blend the onions and cook with the lid on until dark golden brown. Add blended green chillis and ginger/garlic as required and fry off for a couple of minutes. Add meat at this point (if using) which may or may not have been marinated in yogurt/spice mix. Cook off till the oil separates (you are not really getting a sear like in western cooking though). Add tomatoes (canned and blended in my opinion) and water as necessary. Add dry spices at this point and cook for as long as needed.

    This is basis for many tomato based curries. Cooking at each stage until the oil separates is the key in my opinion. And go easy on the yogurt – you don’t need much.

    What’s great about curries is that there’s no much chopping to be done if you have a food processor.

  • #250

    frosty
    Participant

    I’m no cook but it seems to me that curry evolved as a way of covering the taste of meat that was past its best before refrigeration. It also seems that you are not going to get the spices to infuse the meat by searing it and caramelising the outside, which is done in western meat cooking to seal in the moisture. One of the most delicious spicy recipes I ever tasted called for chicken to be scored so as to open it up then splashed with lemon juice, salt, curry sauce and yoghurt, left for a few hours then baked in the marinade. It had a tart spiciness that really set the taste buds tingling. In essence I think Indian cooking is all about getting the spices to penetrate the meat and the additives like yoghurt and lemon juice to tenderise it.

  • #251

    carly
    Participant

    Ta, really helpful. Guess I need to get used to doing wrong things like cooking onions til they’re brown.

  • #253

    jam
    Participant

    @carly you should always cook onions right down, at least until golden (20 mins minimum). Undercooked onions are a cardinal sin in any form of cooking!

    I don’t know how to cook curries at all, and I want to cook a slow-cooked beef or lamb curry for tonight. When I look at recipes, they all sound horribly wrong to me. They involve things like covering the raw meat in yoghurt and then putting that, cold, into a simmering sauce. The image that this conjurs in my head is not something I want for dinner. This runs against all my instincts, which would tell me to sear the meat with spices, put that into a simmering sauce for a few hours, and add yoghurt just before serving.

    I have cooked one or two recipes that go like this. The recipes never sound appetising and often they don’t look that promising during the cooking process – however there are one or two curries of this style that have become my favourites so I would encourage you to give it a go even if you never do it again.

  • #259

    tom
    Participant

    you should always cook onions right down, at least until golden (20 mins minimum). Undercooked onions are a cardinal sin in any form of cooking!

    @jam Not all curries cook onions till brown but quite a few do. It forms the base thickness of the sauce. Some tips: absolutely make sure you fry off any dry spices before adding any liquid. But burning them is a irreversible mistake (start again if you do). Burning garlic is equally as bad. Yogurt in curries can split and look like curdelled milk which is edible but an epic fail. Use only full fat yogurt and add in stages to the pan with no liquid (after the dry spices go in). Sizzle it spoon by spoon and mix it in slowly and it should not split.

    Marnanating meat in spices and yogurt is a really good technique but normally needs to be over night. A tikka whole lamb leg is spectacular when done like this and then cooked over coal. The yogurt is meant to tenderise the meat but not sure how true that is.

    Anyway besides all this the very best slow cooked beef curry IMO is Malaysian beef Rendang and whilst having lots of ingredients is pretty fool proof. You don’t do any spice frying or owt like that. Put that in the slow cooker all day and I promise you it will be one of the best curries you ever tasted. Will whatzapp you the recipe.

  • #260

    dave
    Participant

    I’m no cook but it seems to me that curry evolved as a way of covering the taste of meat that was past its best before refrigeration. It also seems that you are not going to get the spices to infuse the meat by searing it and caramelising the outside, which is done in western meat cooking to seal in the moisture.

    I hate to be “that guy”, but these two statements are quite incorrect. We sear the outside of meat before braising (in some recipes) to get the delicious flavours from the maillard reaction and it in no way “seals in” the juices, and there is no reason to believe that people used spices other than because they taste quite nice.

    That said, marinating meat in oils or vinegars can help to prolong the life of your meat.

  • #261

    mark1
    Participant

    Are there any basic principles about cooking curries with tomatoes, slow-cooked meat and yoghurt that I should go with?

    Generally – not always, but usually – don’t use yoghurt if you’re using tomatoes, they tend not to play well together.

    But for a weekday, slow-cooked curry don’t bother with spices and similar malarkey. Get a jar of whichever Pataks paste appeals (the paste, not the runnier sauce), follow the instructions on the back until you get to the ‘simmer’ stage, bung it in the slow cooker and later on, Bob’s your bream.

    If you want an alternative that doesn’t involve the slow cooker but still doesn’t have you following the whole recipe from scratch yourself, pick up one of the Spice Tailor packets. The instructions are simple, the spices you need are there and they don’t take too long to knock together; good stuff for a midweek evening.

    I say all this as a curry fan who likes the whole process of doing it himself from scratch; but things like Pataks pastes and Spice Tailor packets exist for a reason and I’m happy to use either when it’s appropriate.

  • #270

    kerry
    Participant

    One of my favorite recipes is Meat Dilruba from Mridula Baljeka’s: Complete Indian Cookbook. https://www.amazon.co.uk/Complete-Indian-Cookbook-M-Baljekar/dp/0862838029 The lamb is marinated in ginger/garlic/turmeric then simmered for an hour. After that it is fried in a spice mix, coconut is then added and the liquid returned to the pan.

  • #271

    troll
    Participant

    @katy Your method sounds spot on, though for slow cooking braising beef or shin, doesn’t matter too much what you do to the onions (i.e. no need to blend them) as it will all cook down,/ So tend to treat it like making a tomato based stew, including searing the meat for flavour.

    Two things I am not so sure of

    Yogurt in a tomato-based, slow-cooked curry? As a garnish for something spicy perhaps, and yes for marinating before the tandoor, but necessary for beef or lamb cooked this this way.

    Not frying off ground spices. I thought it was proper to cook these off a bit in oil, but without burning.

  • #273

    sam
    Participant

    This is what we do:

    BEEF & SPINACH CURRY

    Serves 5
    Smear of olive oil
    1½ lb diced [stewing] beef
    2 large onions, chopped
    2 cloves crushed garlic
    3 tbsp curry powder
    1 tsp dried ginger
    150 ml chicken stock
    1 14 oz tin tomatoes
    175 gm (6 oz) frozen spinach
    Salt + pepper

    *Fry onions + garlic till soft (10 minutes)
    *stir in curry powder + ginger. Cook for 1 minute
    *add meat & brown it
    *stir in tomatoes, stock, spinach, and seasoning
    *bring to boil
    *cover and simmer for 1½ hours. Stir occasionally
    *remove lid and simmer for a further 30 minutes (till it thickens). Stir occasionally

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