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Simple Curry Base (aka Base Gravy/Sauce)

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.
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Cory Ander
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Re: Simple Curry Base (aka Base Gravy/Sauce)

Post by Cory Ander » Sun Sep 16, 2018 2:15 am

Good oh, please let us know how you get on, Vindaloser.....
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Re: Simple Curry Base (aka Base Gravy/Sauce)

Post by Vindaloser » Tue Sep 18, 2018 9:43 am

I made the base yesterday, freezing 2 portions and using one for last nights’s meal. Very good, great texture. I noticed that the recipe said it mustn’t be at all bitter, mine was slightly. I used the simple spice mix which seemed pretty heavy on turmeric or maybe it was the onions which made me cry as I cut them. Anyway, I added a touch of sugar and it was perfect as a base sauce.

For the final curry I used a couple of yellow peppers, chicken, ginger, more onion. It was great and well received by all, including a 2 year old.

Many thanks

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Re: Simple Curry Base (aka Base Gravy/Sauce)

Post by Spggodd » Tue Sep 18, 2018 8:09 pm

Gonna give this a go at the weekend, hopefully I'll get back on here and post my review!

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Re: Simple Curry Base (aka Base Gravy/Sauce)

Post by Cory Ander » Wed Sep 19, 2018 12:44 am

Good oh, let us know how you get on, please....
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Re: Simple Curry Base (aka Base Gravy/Sauce)

Post by Dragonsnostril » Wed Sep 19, 2018 8:14 pm

Been making curry for years but never made a base, I will be doing one this weekend, thanks for sharing

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Re: Simple Curry Base (aka Base Gravy/Sauce)

Post by Spggodd » Fri Sep 21, 2018 10:34 pm

So this evening I decided to have a go at my first BIR using the CA Curry Base, CA simple pilau and CA simple madras, this post covers all of these (I'm not sure what the rules are on cross posting on this forum..!)

Overall I had a good time cooking this up, from about 5 minutes in the kitchen smelt amazing, here you can see my initial brew with my calibrated dipstick/volume monitor!
sND3tA1 (2).jpg
I let this simmer gently, I ended up using the smallest burner with the lid slightly ajar to ensure i wasn't boiling the mixture!
I let this simmer for at least 60 minutes (likely more) whilst I did the bath and bed routine for my little one.

Finally I added the spice and coriander and blended:
KszEx9P (3).jpg
Here's the spice mix.. looking good (check out my other recent post about a nice little shop I've found for spices in the south west).
SiyV6KU (4).jpg
Ingredients ready for the Madras!
RA0NIS8 (5).jpg
9qlOrLT (6).jpg
I would have taken more photos... but I was getting a bit carried away with the cooking and the delicious smells!

And here is the finished product!
W7P27mJ (7).jpg
So overall... the first mouthful was amazing and the curry was pretty tasty. As it was for my wife as well I did not add any chilli powder on this first run just in case the spice was over powering. In my opinion I think it was definitely lacking heat, so a question for CA... is it OK to cook a batch, remove a non-chilli portion and tip the chilli in at the end of the cooking process?

Although the taste was great (definitely got that BIR curry taste going on!), I was mildly disappointed at the consistency and texture of the gravy, I ended up boiling the curry down for quite a while past the recommended 4 minutes to achieve a somewhat satisfying thickness, this had the side effect of probably overcooking the chicken a bit. Previously I've had curries that have a semi-thick grainy texture which I prefer, does anyone have any recommendations for a base like this that I could try next?

Also CA, the 15g of carrot, pepper, potato etc.. almost seems an insignificant addition to the base, what is the thinking behind this, interested to know your thoughts as I can't seem to appreciate how these ingredients in such small quantities have an effect on the flavour when you've got so many other powerful flavours going on there?

One other observation was the choice of beverage pairing, Sol was refreshing but I'm not sure it paired well with the madras in my opinion! Does anyone have any suggests for a good drink to go with this madras.. alcoholic or non!

So for my first venture into BIR cooking I think this went well, the taste was great, wife approves and I doubled up on the base gravy so I can try a korma in the near future... I'll let you know how it goes. 100% would recommend this one for newbies to the forum.

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Re: Simple Curry Base (aka Base Gravy/Sauce)

Post by andrw » Sat Sep 22, 2018 12:08 am

Wow, looks like you have done a fantastic job there spggodd.

I think everybody is different when it comes to preferred consistency of a curry and I think most find their own way of achieving this. I think in this case you could use a little less base gravy to achieve a thicker sauce without cooking too much longer.

Some people use a thicker base (there are many here) and others may add pre cooked chicken at a later stage (to avoid over cooking the chicken). Once you get to grips with the basics (which it looks like you are) you can begin to experiment and adapt to suit your own preferences.

I love a nice cold bottle of sol with a curry so can’t really recommend an improvement in that area (there is a thread on this subject here)

Well done and good luck with your next curry, keep us updated. :happy:

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Re: Simple Curry Base (aka Base Gravy/Sauce)

Post by Cory Ander » Sat Sep 22, 2018 12:47 am

Thanks for trying the recipes and for reporting back with your photos and findings, Spggodd.

Generally preferable to post information/reports relevant to other threads in those other threads (so that members can subsequently more easily find the information/reports and so that threads don't get inadvertently dragged off topic).

Nice dip-stick! :tongue:

You will find quite a few threads on how to accommodate various tolerances to heat (you'll find them using the search facility at the top right hand side of each page). Or start a new thread (if one doesn't already exist) in the most relevant section of the forum. But you need to be wary of tipping chilli powder in at the end of the cooking process. A chilli paste (or fresh chillies) might be better.

Regarding the texture, you need to get the heat up and reduce the base well (or until the consistency is that which you desire). If this is prolonged, then add the precooked chicken later in the process. Practice makes perfect!

You will find other curry base recommendations here. But most are relatively "thin" and you need to adequately reduce them to get a thick sauce.

Regarding the ingredients, why not try making it, with and without them, and see what difference they make (to your mind)?

Glad you and your wife enjoyed the resultant madras and that the experience was a step in the right direction for you 8-)

Anyhow....back to discussions on the curry base (in this thread, anyway).......
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Re: Simple Curry Base (aka Base Gravy/Sauce)

Post by Spggodd » Sat Sep 22, 2018 7:01 am

Cheers for your feedback guys, I think I'm going to try a couple more base and curry combinations and then start to improvise things a bit more based on what youve said!

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Re: Simple Curry Base (aka Base Gravy/Sauce)

Post by Cory Ander » Sat Sep 22, 2018 10:36 am

Before you do, I suggest you might want to look at The Techniques of British Indian Restaurant (BIR) Cooking and Typical British Indian Restaurant (BIR) Cooking Process threads so that you can get a handle on the basic methods for reducing the curry base.
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Re: Simple Curry Base (aka Base Gravy/Sauce)

Post by Tr3nity » Mon Oct 29, 2018 1:56 pm

This really does look excellent... An eye opener for me, as the base is extremely different to those that I've made previously that seem to be limited to Onions, Garlic and Ginger. Look forward to giving it a try..

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Re: Simple Curry Base (aka Base Gravy/Sauce)

Post by Tessamarie » Thu Nov 08, 2018 12:52 pm

Exactly what I was looking for. Can’t wait to get started. ☺️

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Re: Simple Curry Base (aka Base Gravy/Sauce)

Post by JRWhittaker » Mon Nov 12, 2018 3:50 pm

Using a base makes a massive difference, I only found this out 3 or so years ago but have never looked back since.

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