The mixture of spices that you use, depending on what recipe you are following is of ultimate importance. Getting the delicate balance of spices right is a skill that can take time, patience and practise.
If you are using cumin and coriander, for example, it’s always preferable to grind the seeds in a spice or coffee grinder, rather than using a commercial powdered form.
2 Frying The Masala
My Indian cookery teacher who happily is also my brother in law’s mum, always taught me to heat a very bland oil and when shimmering, add your masala and turn the heat down. Stir constantly and as soon as the oil has risen to the surface, you will be ready to go onto the next stage. This will take about two minutes.
4 Know your chillies
If a recipe is rather vague and suggests you use two or three green chillies, it’s not really good enough. The heat and flavour of chillies varies a lot so it’s wise to do a little research. Often you will buy a bag of birds eye chillies and find that some have no heat whatsoever.
The people to get in touch with are The Cool Chile Company who have been importing chillies for two decades.
5 Vegetarian curries
How many times have I had to put up with over cooked vegetable dishes because they are steeped in a sauce. Halve the time that you would normally cook vegetables such as beans and cauliflower and turn off the heat. They will carry on cooking.
6 Get to know the unusual spices and leaves
Methi (fenugreek) amchoor (mango powder) anardana (pomegranate powder) kashmiri chilli peppers, fennel seeds, mustard seeds, the list is endless.
7 Chutneys and pickles.
There is nothing nicer than home made chutney. A lot of us make or buy chutney for cheese and meats, but making a mango chutney and your own pickles is easy and so much more delicious.
8 Naan bread
Making your own naan is a piece of cake. I was taught how to do this at The Cinnamon club in London. They use Tandoori ovens but you can use a frying pan and grill just as easily.
10 Know your audience
There is no point in experimenting on an unsuspecting audience. They are not lab rats. Make sure your guests are happy with the heat factor. Your mouth might not feel as though it’s been hit by a grenade but everyone is different and those who aren’t used to a punchy heat will not thank you for it.