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merrybaker

Have you worked in a British Indian Restaurant?

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Whoa, that was quick! Thanks.

Okay first off, I was using the right type of ginger then (although I'm freezing the stuff these days, to extend "shelf life").

The extra tomatoes did add liquid, but considering how much liquid was already in there, and how much liquid evaporates (this was cooked uncovered) I don't think it made much difference.

But still, although I realize the red color of the Chicken Tandoori is food coloring -- Chicken Tikka uses different spices than Chicken Tandoori, right? I saw a couple of thread on the differences between Chicken Tikka Masala and Butter Chicken.

Does the book have recipes for Vindaloo or Madras?

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Did you strain the onions before blending them? I guess I wasn't very clear on that.

I've not tried these

Madras

Add to Mild curry base

1/2 tsp turmeric

1/2 tsm cumin

1 tsp black pepper

1 tsp hot chilli

1 fried onion

2 Tsp garam masala

1 Tbl dry genugreek leaves

1 Tbs lemon juice

Vindaloo

1/2 tsp turmeric

1 Tsp black pepper

2-4 Tsp hot chilli

1 fried onion

2 Tsp garam masala

1 Tbs dry fenugreek leaves

1 Tbs vinegar

Add boiled potato to extend the meat.

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No, I didn't strain the onions -- I saw no mention of that. Wouldn't this make the sauce base very liquid, though? I thought the onions added some body to the sauce?

The Madras and Vindaloo recipes make use of fenugreek leaves, rather than just fenugreek (which I assumed to be fenugreek seeds). Was the first recipe supposed to be fenugreek leaves also?

(I froze some left-over base sauce, and will try the Vindaloo recipe, once I've re-stocked the fenugreek leaves -- well, unless you tell me the base sauce can't be frozen, hehe. )

Thanks for answering my questions!

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I'm not that much of an expert, but I think you puree the cooked onions, npot the water they are boiled in.

I also believe its fenugreek seed, although recipes vary

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I thought the onions added some body to the sauce?...

Was the first recipe supposed to be fenugreek leaves also?...

I froze some left-over base sauce...

Hi, Grub, I've made this base sauce twice. I pureed it (in batches) in my blender. Then I put 2/3 cup portions in snack-size baggies, and put those all in a large freezer-weight plastic bag, and froze them. I made 2/3 cup portions because Kris Dhillon's recipes usually call for multiples of 1/4-pint of the sauce, and 1/4 of a British pint is 5 oz., which is about 2/3 American cup. :huh: It freezes very well.

Also, remember she uses rounded teaspoons in her measurements and 5 oz. cups.

The first time I followed the recipe exactly, and it made some nice curries. The second time I was lazy, and instead of pureeing the can of tomatoes, I used an 8 oz. can Hunt's tomato sauce. It did NOT turn out the same. Even the color of the final sauce was redder. So, I think that your changing the tomato could affect it. But how much difference it make in the final curry I wonder.

The fenugreek called for in all the curries is dried fenugreek leaves that have been ground in a spice/coffee grinder. I grind a whole box at a time and keep the powder in an old spice jar.

I've made that chicken curry, and my notes say "good but mild." I personally like more spice (not necessarily heat) in a curry. There's no law that says you can't throw in more spices!

Hope this helps a little. As you can see from my first message in this thread, there's something elusive about these curries that just escapes me.

-Mary

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Ah, I'll definitely have to stock up on fenugreek leaves then! I've had my hands on quite a few spices, but this stuff really impressed me -- it has a really good flavor; seemed very authentic to me. Unfortunately, I only got to use it a couple of times, before it turned to mush... I've never seen anything quite like it, but it seemed as if some liquid had slipped into the plastic container (and I'm fairly certain that wasn't the case).

I'll get some more, and try this again.

Thanks, Mary!

Oh yeah, and I totally agree about that elusive English curry taste... I've never found any flavor in any US Indian restaurant that comes close to it. But I've come across some fairly similar aromas when some friends of mine cooked Indian, twice -- always barbequed, incidentally (I figure this might make sense, seeing that the tandoor oven might create similar aromas).

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I think the tomato puree does add something (Although not necessarily a good thing!). My dad always wanted to replicate the Madras from the local curry house, And I think I have worked out their 'secret'.

By using a whole tube of tomato puree, but no fresh tomatoes, a load of black pepper at the end and more garlic than normal, I have got it pretty close (Big squeeze of lemon at the end too).

I have a feeling I got the same results by different methods - I doubt they used that much pepper for example, but it is very red, very tasty, and completely inauthentic - the perfect great British curry!

I'll see if I can remember exactly what I did and produce a recipe.


I love animals.

They are delicious.

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And Chicago... well, I've never had the pleasure to eat Indian food there, but I have had St. Louis fare and it was the worst I've ever eaten. Once you leave the tri-state area, forget about it.

In other words, you've lived in areas with mediocre Indian Food (Princeton, Chicago)

If you have not eaten Indian food in Chicago, then do not knock it.

There are a few stellar places here.


S. Cue

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very red, very tasty, and completely inauthentic - the perfect great British curry!

Well said! I'm sure many are wondering why we'd even want to duplicate the food of British Indian restaurants. But it can be a delight in itself, even if it isn't authentic.

-Mary

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Okay, I had another go at it tonight... Very mixed results.

Most important thing I realized is, fenugreek leaves is definitely part of the "magic," as far as British Indian restaurant meals. Fenugreek seeds have little or no impact on this recipe.

I used jackal10's recipe once again, but more as a base this time -- I did modify it (I added cumin and coriander. Also, I waited until the very end, before adding garam masala, since most recipes do this).

This time, I did strain the onions, but it made the base sauce extremely thick, and caused that horrible, blurp-blurp-splatter type of effect that just splatters sauce all over the place, so I added some water to the sauce...

Instead of using the chili powder, I used some proper, dried chili peppers (which are far more potent) -- but by the time it was done cooking, the heat was all gone. Likewise for the vinegar: I thought the dish was horribly vinegary, and way too hot -- but by the end of the cooking process (about 1:30 hours), it was relatively mild.

All in all, the fenugreek leaves reminded me of British Indian restaurants, and I guess the vinegar sort of reminded me of a proper Vindaloo...

But I'm still way off, as far as recreating that magic...

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I'm afraid, in my experience the blurp blurp splattering is essential, and yes, it does make hell of a mess.


I love animals.

They are delicious.

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This time, I did strain the onions, but it made the base sauce extremely thick

Mine wasn't that thick. I hate to keep bringing this up, but did you use British pints when measuring the water? The original recipe calls for 2+3/4 pints of water, which would be between 6.5 and 7 American cups. Mine had the texture (and similar color) of bad pea soup.

I've only had a vindaloo once because it was SO hot. :shock: I don't remember the taste through all that pain! But although vinegar was part of the original vindaloo, I've heard that British restaurants don't use it any more. Anybody know about this?

splattering is essential, and yes, it does make hell of a mess.

Not to mention the smell while making the base sauce. It lingers for days... and days...


Edited by merrybaker (log)

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marybaker, sorry for not replying on that one -- yes, I did use British pints for both recipes (although from what I can see, it called for 1/2 pint with the ginger & garlic, and 2 pints with the onion mixture; 6.25 cups).

But when I made the vindaloo, I strained the water out from the onion/garlic/ginger mixture, as per jackal10's instructions -- and this is resulted in the extremely thick and splattery consistency (and made me add water to thin it out). I'm confused about the need to strain the water out, because it seems I'm dumping a lot of good flavor out by doing this (and of course, I further diluted the flavors by adding water later)... But if it is the right thing to do, I'll do it -- but just keep the lid partially on, to avoid too much of a mess -- I think I've got a frying pan's splatter guard around here somewhere...

And yeah, vindaloo is extremely hot. There's no way I could eat a proper one today -- I reckon the average American would need trauma counseling after encountering a genuine British vindaloo. :smile: But for now, I think I'll revert back to more authentic, non-British Indian dishes.

I have no idea whether vinegar is used in British vindaloos, but from jackal10's recipe, it certainly seems so.

My fave Indian cookbook is "Betty Crocker's Indian Home Cooking" -- don't laugh, it's really very good. Recipes by Raghavan Iyer. In addition to great recipes and nice pictures, it also provides a lot of great information, and this is what it has to say about Vindaloo:

"The term vindaloo on restaurant menus conjures up images of the after-effect of fiery hot chilies; sweat running down your forehead and the naturally euphoric state of light-headedness related to an endorphin rush. How funny, then, that vindaloo actually means "vinegary." The amount of ground red pepper that you add is a purely personal choice. if you are inclined to relive your restaurant experiences at home, use more than the recipe recommends!"

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from what I can see, it called for 1/2 pint with the ginger & garlic, and 2 pints with the onion mixture; 6.25 cups

The original recipe calls for 2+3/4 pint (l litre + 570 ml) water, but I'm through with math for the day!

I strained the water out from the onion/garlic/ginger mixture

Nothing should be strained. The whole, sloppy mess is put in a blender (in batches) with the warning, "Absolute smoothness is essential." You're right, straining it would take out a lot of the flavor.

My fave Indian cookbook is "Betty Crocker's Indian Home Cooking" -- don't laugh

I won't laugh. I like it, too! I never read the part about vindaloos, though, since there's NO chance I'd make one. Thanks for finding that reference.

-Mary

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The original recipe calls for 2+3/4 pint (l litre + 570 ml) water, but I'm through with math for the day!

Oh, shoot! I don't have the book myself -- I was just working off of the recipe jackal10 posted... Oh well, at least I won't strain it, the next time around. Thanks.

I won't laugh. I like it, too! I never read the part about vindaloos, though, since there's NO chance I'd make one.  Thanks for finding that reference.

Curious, why is there no chance you'd make that one? As the book says, authentic vindaloos don't have to be hot...

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Curious, why is there no chance you'd make that one? As the book says, authentic vindaloos don't have to be hot...

Good point! The idea of vinegar in a curry just never sounded appealing. I don't know why -- I often use lemon juice. And I tried Raghavan Iyer's paneer made with vinegar, and it's great, so you're right, I should give it a try. :smile:

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