National Curry Week is served from 22nd October 2018 - here's a side order of hints and tips to make it a success - freshly prepared by our very own chef Jonathan Coates. Find out about different types of curry, recipes to try and how to cope with a spicy serving below... 

Types Of Curry

Lots of people love a good Korma or Tikka Masala when they head out for a curry or order in a takeaway - but for a wider experience of Indian food the curries Jonathan thinks you need to try to celebrate Curry Week (if you haven't already) are:

Dopiaza

"This literally translates as 'Double Onions', and is based on a slow cooked sauce with Cardomon, peppercorn and touch of clove. The star of this dish is, as the name suggests, a combination of slow cooked onion puree and fried chopped onions which make this a sweet and rich option."

Jalfrezi

"Try this if you're wanting something a bit spicier. Jalfrezi translates roughly as "stir fry" and was originally a dish that was made to use up leftover ingredients, which would be fried with chilies. This is therefore a hot dish, but very tasty and smoky (though not usually very saucy) from the hot, fast-frying method of cooking."

Balti 

"This curry is said to have originated in Birmingham in the 1970's but there are similar dishes called Balti Gosht in Pakistan from a lot earlier which the current incarnation may have developed from. Named after the curved wok like pan it is traditionally cooked in, the spices of a Balti (a combination of peppercorns and Garam Masala) are cooked in oil rather than the usual Ghee with lots of peppers, onions and ginger. Usually a dry, not saucy dish but full of flavour."

Biryani

"This is a rice dish traditionally slow cooked with Meat or seafood and vegetables, occasionally eggs are added (sometimes whole or shredded through the mix) slightly spiced the delicate spiced Biryani flavour comes from the slow cooking."

Dhansak

"This one is a great option for something different a slow cooked its a mild spiced slightly sweet and sour curry made with lentils Cumin and ginger."

Makhani

"Often referred to as Butter Chicken, Makhani is a great curry that's not spicy and in some ways very similar to a Tikka Masala, but made with fresh tomatoes which gives a great sweet and rich flavor with subtle spices and finished with cream and butter."

Rogan Josh

"Best made with lamb, and slow cooked, the name translates Rogan "oil" and Josh means "hot", which tells you all you need to know about the cooking techniques used. Rogan can also mean red which explains the colour of the sauce in this deep red chilli spiced curry."

Curry For Beginners

Jonathan continues: "If you want to try making curry for the first time, National Curry Week is a great excuse to give it a go. Two simple dishes to do are Keema which means Minced Meat curry (a slow cooked Lamb Mince Curry), so easy to make as you can't over cook it and the delicate blend of spices make give it quite a sophisticated feel.

You can also try making a Daal - no meal in India is complete without a bowl Daal. This slow-cook combination of lentils and spices is very moreish and again very easy to make."

Keema Curry recipe

You will need:

  • 1x teaspoon turmeric
  • 1x teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 4x cloves
  • 1x cardomon pod
  • 675g lamb mince (can use Beef mince)
  • 2x tablspoons of butter or Ghee
  • 1x large onion finely chopped
  • 2x garlic cloves
  • 5cm fresh ginger
  • 400g chopped tinned tomatoes
  • 1x red pepper chopped
  • 1-2 green chilies deseeded and chopped
  • 2x teaspoons Garam masala
  • 1 x tablespoon of fresh chopped coriander
  • 1x tablespoon fresh chopped mint leaves

How to cook it:

  1. Add the butter to the pan on a low heat until it sizzles, add the turmeric, cardamon, ground coriander, cloves and chili powder, toast the spices for 2-3 minutes without burning and add the onion garlic and ginger
  2. Cook for further 3-4 minutes and add the mince, increase the heat and cook out the mince
  3. Add the peppers and cook for 3-4 minutes to soften then let the tomatoes simmer for 20-30 minutes.
  4. Serve with rice or naan breads,chappatis or parathas

Black Daal

You will need:

  • 350g Urid or small dried black beans
  • 2 teaspoons of chilli powder
  • 50ml of oil
  • 3x bay leaves
  • 1x cinnamon stick
  • 1x onion finely chopped
  • 300g chopped tinned tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons toasted cumin seeds
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • To finish: 30g butter, 2 teaspoons Garam Masala, 2 x teaspoons of salt, shreds of fresh ginger and chopped coriander

How to cook it:

  1. Wash the beans then soak overnight - cover the beans in water about 5cm over
  2. Put the beans on the stove and bring to the boil with the chilli powder and simmer for 2 hours until the beans are tender top up the water if necessary
  3. Heat the oil in a pan and add the spices toast and fry until fragrant and add the onions cook for 3-4 minutes and add to the beans
  4. Add the tomatoes and cook for further 10 15 minutes until sticky, add the tomatoe spice onion mix to the beans
  5. Stir in the butter fresh coriander and the ginger

Jonathan's Curry Cooking Tips

Rice

  • Always wash the rice, then soak for 30 minutes
  • Drain the rice and add it with the salt, stir a little add the the water and bring to the boil
  • Don't stir or you will break up the rice and the dish will be sticky and starchy.
  • Cook on low heat with the lid on for 10-12 minutes until all the water has been absorbed

Spices

  • If you are peeling Ginger, try using a teaspoon and using the edge to scrape of the brown outer skin, its much easier than trying to use a peeler or a as wasteful as using a knife.
  • When handling chillies if you need to deseed the chilies try squeezing the whole chili gently rolling it between your fingers t loosen the seeds when you cut it in half the seeds will practically fall out (make sure you wash your hands thoroughly after handling chillies try not to touch your eyes or nose)  
  • If you are cooking a spice paste for a curry and it starts to catch, or burns the base of the pan, add a little water to keep the spices cooking to release those amazing flavours. I always have a little pot of water and a ladle near the stove for this.
  • Toasting the spices in a pan or even in a try in the oven before grinding or cooking will really boost the flavor especially if you have some spices in the cupboard that have sitting around for a while.

Coping With A Hot Curry

  1. Mix things up as you go through the meal - the rice and bread will give your mouth receptors a bit of a rest.
  2. As you eat, avoid the temptation to down a glass of cold water - it won't touch the oily spice chemicals you need to 'extinguish'.Choose milk, ice cream or yogurt instead - which contains cooling casein that can calms the burn.
  3. Try a teaspoon full of sugar on your tongue and let the sweetness offset the spiciness.
  4. Surprisingly, acidic fruit like a slice of lemon or orange can help too.
  5. Remember that 'lava on the tongue' only lasts around 15 minutes after eating.