A chef has shared her top tips for cooking curries to ensure our dishes at home taste as delicious as they do from our favourite takeaways.
Monica Sawhney Haldar, who runs the Spice Club in Manchester which hosts cookery classes and pop-up dining experiences, has provided her pointers for where most of us go wrong when cooking up a curry.
Monica shares classes on YouTube and says much of time it is small, simple mistakes which can make a big difference when it comes to flavour.
From onions and tomatoes to preparing the spices ahead of time, the chef told LadBible everything you need to know to master the dishes.
If you start by throwing your onions into the pan first, cooking them for a couple of minutes and then adding other ingredients, you’re doing it all wrong.
Monica advises spending 10 to 15 minutes cooking just the onions to brown them and allow the sugars to caramelise before you move on, which will add “so much flavour to your curry”.
The chef says: “A tin of tomatoes can make a curry for 12 to 15 people. A lot people add it because it makes it look like a curry, but it just ends up diluting the flavour and you end up with something that just tastes spicy and very tomatoey.”
Instead, Monica opts for passata if she’s cooking for four people and only uses four to five tablespoons. So cut back on the tomatoes.
Try to only buy as much spice as you need for the dish you are cooking, as leaving them sitting around can cause them to become less potent.
If you do need to store spices for next time, ensure they are kept in an air-tight bag or container to make sure they maintain that kick.
It doesn’t matter how much spice you use or the quality or your ingredients, Monica warns if you’re not using salt, you’re making a huge mistake.
She says you should be adding it and tasting the sauce as you go to ensure the flavour is just right – rather than having your first taste when you sit at the table and it’s too late.
Rather than having to start from scratch every time, Monica puts ingredients like ginger, garlic, chili and coriander in a food processor before storing it in the freezer to be ready when needed.
She adds: “A good tip is to put them in a sandwich bag and tap them down until they’re flat. That way you can just break off shards when you need them rather than having to break up a block of it every time you need some.”