• Administrator
  •  
    Welcome to BIRCurries.co.uk Discussion Forum
    Your One-Stop Resource for Discussing Anything to do With Replicating British Indian Restaurant (BIR) Style Curries at Home!


    Please note that you need to be a member to access certain parts of the forum and will need to make 3 meaningful posts before you can access the recipe sections - REGISTRATION is FREE!


    Your contributions are important to us - please help us grow the forum by actively participating - irrespective of your level of expertise!

    Please note that your account may be downgraded to Inactive Member if you do not continue to participate and post and you will no longer be able to access the recipe sections (please see Policy for Managing Inactive Members for further information).

    Alternatively, you may like to consider the Donating Member Option, if it suits your circumstances better:


    Image

    November's Curry Club Curry of the Month is cartz's Hari Mirchi Bhuna Gosht (open to all members & guests):

    Image

    Please send me a Personal Message or email me, at admin@bircurries.co.uk, if you have any questions or if you need any assistance with using the forum.
     

Advice for Beginners

A "Quick Start" for members new to BIR style curry cooking - basic techniques and simple recipes to get you started on your BIR-style curry cooking adventures.
Forum rules
This section of the forum is for controlled content only. Please DO NOT start new topics in this section of the forum (unless requested to or authorised to do so).
Post Reply
macferret
CAYENNE
CAYENNE
Posts: 624
Joined: Tue Nov 11, 2014 2:08 pm
Been thanked: 1 time

Re: Advice for Beginners

Post by macferret » Mon Mar 05, 2018 4:26 pm

That's a good question: what do I wish I had known? For me it's simple: don't obsess about the gravy, just focus on learning the pan-frying technique. I spent a lot of time fiddling around with gravy recipes, but actually an experienced BIR chef can cook up a decent curry with a very simple gravy. I have blagged my way into a dozen BIR kitchens, and the chefs were always surprised that I was so interested in the gravy. They thought I was a bit mad, as if I thought there was a secret in the kind of salt or water they use.
The other thing is to keep cooking the same simple dish until the technique clicks. There is a tendency to blame early failures on a bad recipe and move on to another dish, but you need to learn a dish until it is completely done from memory: nobody can watch a pan and think about heat levels, texture and timing while they are running backwards and forwards to look at a recipe.
Happy cooking!
MacFerret
If I publish an e-book, please kill me.

Snarkanoid
PIMENTO
PIMENTO
Posts: 7
Joined: Mon Dec 11, 2017 2:27 pm
Favourite Curries: Balti Dishes, Biryani's and Rogan Josh.
Location: Surrey, UK

Advice for Beginners

Post by Snarkanoid » Mon Mar 05, 2018 4:26 pm

Any newbie advice welcome, ie - when you were starting, what was the one thing you wish someone had asked.

Regards, Rich...

Snarkanoid
PIMENTO
PIMENTO
Posts: 7
Joined: Mon Dec 11, 2017 2:27 pm
Favourite Curries: Balti Dishes, Biryani's and Rogan Josh.
Location: Surrey, UK

Re: Advice for Beginners

Post by Snarkanoid » Mon Mar 05, 2018 7:04 pm

Thanks Macferret,

Just realised the mistake in my question... I did of course mean "what was the one thing you wish someone had told you"!...

Sounds like good advice, thanks for the tip. Must admit, I was thinking along the same lines regarding getting gravy right so that's a good shout.

Thanks, Rich...

User avatar
Bandit
SERRANO
SERRANO
Posts: 407
Joined: Sat Jan 21, 2017 9:51 am
Favourite Curries: Madras, Jalfrezi, Pathia, Ceylon.
Been thanked: 1 time

Re: Advice for Beginners

Post by Bandit » Wed Mar 07, 2018 8:31 am

Hi snarkanoid,

Keep it simple and try not to over complicate, stick to a couple of basic recipes and get the technique mastered that is the best advice I can give, there is more than enough information on here for you to be able to crack it and if you are unsure just ask :thumbup:

Most of all enjoy

Bandit

User avatar
Bandit
SERRANO
SERRANO
Posts: 407
Joined: Sat Jan 21, 2017 9:51 am
Favourite Curries: Madras, Jalfrezi, Pathia, Ceylon.
Been thanked: 1 time

Re: Advice for Beginners

Post by Bandit » Thu Mar 08, 2018 8:33 am

As a suggestion you could start with making a small quantity of Base Gravy, there are plenty of recipes on here to choose from, any extra you can freeze.

Yes you can use pre-cooked chicken using a small amount of Base Gravy, again plenty of methods on the forum, any extra you can freeze.

Leave the spiced oil for now and start to concentrate on the technique used to cook a typical BIR curry, choose a basic method that suits yourself.

Start simple and try not to over complicate, get the basics right and the rest will follow but most of all enjoy, we all have disasters every now and again. :thumbup:

Most of all it's your choice :):

Bandit

User avatar
Cory Ander
MODERATOR
MODERATOR
Posts: 8860
Joined: Sat Mar 02, 2013 3:52 pm
Favourite Curries: King Prawn Phal
Location: Perth, Western Australia
Has thanked: 3 times
Been thanked: 5 times

Re: Advice for Beginners

Post by Cory Ander » Fri Mar 09, 2018 6:45 am

I suggest starting with something simple (e.g. the recipes in our Beginners Guide) and not complicate things. Once familiar with the basics, you can more confidently move on to more complex recipes and ideas. Otherwise you will likely start your BIR-style curry cooking exploits more with whimper than a bang.

I would also suggest following recipes to the letter. Resist changing (i.e. don't change!) anything. And use a curry base recipe that compliments the main dish recipe (i.e. written by the same author). If you change too many things, at once, you will likely end up with an inferior result and confusion.

Don't try to cook more than a single or double portion of a curry in the same pan. Rather cook them, in several single portions, and combine them (if you need several portions of the same curry).

I would also ask "what would a British Indian Restaurant (BIR) likely do?" If you conclude that they are unlikely to do something, then don't do it. Conversely, do as they do, and you are less likely to go wrong.
Please make an effort to make at least 1 meaningful post each time you visit the forum

Regards

CA (aka Admin) :)

User avatar
thebeermonkey
JALAPENO
JALAPENO
Posts: 148
Joined: Thu Jun 15, 2017 8:59 pm
Favourite Curries: Lamb Kahari, Lamb Nihari, Lamb Madras
Location: The People’s Republic of Glasgow

Re: Advice for Beginners

Post by thebeermonkey » Fri Mar 09, 2018 6:56 am

Thanks everyone for the excellent advice on this thread.

Cheers all.
I came for a visit but decided to stay.

User avatar
ScotchBonnet
BIRD'S EYE
BIRD'S EYE
Posts: 1587
Joined: Sat May 23, 2015 6:54 pm
Favourite Curries: Garlic Chilli Chicken, Tandoori Lamb Tikka, Veggie
Location: Glasgow

Re: Advice for Beginners

Post by ScotchBonnet » Fri Mar 09, 2018 8:56 am

Absolutely check out the Beginners' guide.

And I agree entirely with CA's statement as to whether or not you think a BIR restaurant would use something or do something in a particular way. For colour would you use saffron (the world's most expensive herb) or turmeric or paprika or food colouring? Would you use a £1000+ Thermomix device or big pot on the stove? Organic, perfectly-shape onions or the cheap ones that will go off quick but it doesn't really matter because you are chucking them in a base gravy today? Packet of ground nuts or lovingly pound them yourself in a pestle and mortar? Jar of crushed garlic or peel and mash your own?
"There is no such thing as too much oil; just an insufficiency of naan".

User avatar
Cory Ander
MODERATOR
MODERATOR
Posts: 8860
Joined: Sat Mar 02, 2013 3:52 pm
Favourite Curries: King Prawn Phal
Location: Perth, Western Australia
Has thanked: 3 times
Been thanked: 5 times

Re: Advice for Beginners

Post by Cory Ander » Fri Mar 09, 2018 10:04 am

Another thing....don't believe everything you read (on this forum or elsewhere). These forums are full of opinions (albeit often born out of prior history and significant experience) but with many red herrings. And opinions are often divergent, come in and out of "fashion", and generally go around in ever-increasing circles. So treat everything you read with healthy scepticism.

Ultimately, the only way to be sure, is to watch the actual chef, at your favourite BIR, cook your favourite curries, from start to finish. You can't believe anything else that anyone else (e.g. the owner or the waiters) tell you. You need to see it for yourself (and post your observations here, of course). Nevertheless, the curries that appeals to you may not appeal to many others. Ultimately, it's a personal thing.
Please make an effort to make at least 1 meaningful post each time you visit the forum

Regards

CA (aka Admin) :)

pauly
MODERATOR
MODERATOR
Posts: 3081
Joined: Sat May 18, 2013 10:29 am
Favourite Curries: Chicken Vindaloo
Location: Co.Cork, Ireland
Been thanked: 1 time

Re: Advice for Beginners

Post by pauly » Fri Mar 09, 2018 12:34 pm

CA wrote:Ultimately, it's a personal thing.
I think that sums up everything we try to do, we all like something different: Beer, women etc. Just as every restaurant & TA makes a slightly different form of your favourite curry, at the end of the day, make it as you like.

AgentGandhi
CAPSICUM
CAPSICUM
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue Jun 26, 2018 3:49 pm

Re: Advice for Beginners

Post by AgentGandhi » Tue Jul 10, 2018 4:09 pm

When you say to focus on the pan-frying technique, what are the hardships in that exactly? Are there certain parts that take time and practice to really master? What parts would those be?

Thanks!

User avatar
Greybeard
BIRD'S EYE
BIRD'S EYE
Posts: 1592
Joined: Wed Oct 07, 2015 11:18 pm
Favourite Curries: Dopiaza, Kashmiri, Madras or Garlic chicken
Location: Somewhere north of Watford but south of Inverness
Been thanked: 1 time

Re: Advice for Beginners

Post by Greybeard » Wed Jul 11, 2018 12:43 am

The fry off, IMHO, is really where the skill lies in putting together a decent BIR curry. If you get the base right, and the mixture of spices and ingredients for your dish right, it is the the only part of the process you can really mess up big style.

Temperature control and lots of oil are the secrets here. If the pan is too cold, you risk not getting the spices to bloom properly and releasing their natural oils into the oil. Too hot, and you risk burning them, along with the garlic, which will wreck your dish. You can always take some oil out, but you cannot put it in.

Also, resist the temptation to add water to lower the temperature, or to loosen up a curry. Add some base (or cream etc.) by all means, and take the pan off the heat if need be, but water and oil don't mix, and unless cooked through properly will separate.

Getting the temperature right takes a bit of practice, but you will soon find the sweet spot for your combination of pan, cooker etc. You want to find a temperature where a good fond builds up that can be stirred in, but at the same time doesn't burn and become bitter. A good sign is where the oil starts to separate, especially when it has adopted the colour of the spices, base, tomato puree etc. That's when you know you are on the right track.
The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.

User avatar
Cory Ander
MODERATOR
MODERATOR
Posts: 8860
Joined: Sat Mar 02, 2013 3:52 pm
Favourite Curries: King Prawn Phal
Location: Perth, Western Australia
Has thanked: 3 times
Been thanked: 5 times

Re: Advice for Beginners

Post by Cory Ander » Wed Jul 11, 2018 2:17 am

Check out the Chat About Curry Cooking Techniques section of the forum, AgentGandhi, there are plenty of threads on the subject there.
Please make an effort to make at least 1 meaningful post each time you visit the forum

Regards

CA (aka Admin) :)

ambrook
PIMENTO
PIMENTO
Posts: 9
Joined: Mon Sep 11, 2017 6:54 pm

Re: Advice for Beginners

Post by ambrook » Sat Jul 28, 2018 11:05 am

Very interesting stuff on this thread. Thanks to all who posted

crmdgnly
JALAPENO
JALAPENO
Posts: 125
Joined: Tue Nov 17, 2015 6:43 am
Location: Sunshine Coast

Re: Advice for Beginners

Post by crmdgnly » Wed Aug 01, 2018 10:33 am

I think the idea of concentrating on o couple of specific recipes, and getting them to your liking works best.

I tend to improvise a bit too much if I haven't got exactly the right ingredients so that makes it harder to set a benchmark. That being said, I also found that making detailed notes of what I did do when improvising helped considerably in reproducing things.

Post Reply

Return to “Beginners' GUIDE (Guests Welcome to Browse)”