No matter how careful you are. Every now and then a good curry can go bad. It can happen at any time and sometimes not long before you have guests arriving. When it does you need a Curry Tip to fix it quick.
The first step is to taste your curry and try to diagnose it’s condition. So have a mouthful of water and then taste your curry trying to determine whether your curry is bland, too hot, too bitter, too runny, not hot enough, dry, or sweet.
Then try a solution from one of the appropriate headings below, depending on what you have in the cupboard and how bad that good curry has become.
Add Garam Masala – If garlic, ginger and/or onion flavours prevail and it lacks the curry spice flavour a pinch or two of a good Garam Masala can really give it a lift.
Add Fired Onion and Curry Leaves – Fried Onion will add sweetness and Fried Curry Leaves will add pungency and bitterness. Either ingredient can be used individually or fryed together with the rest of the curry add once the onion is brown and the curry leaves pungent.
Add Curry Powder – Seems obvious but adding curry powder will add more heat and more curry flavour. Adding the curry powder to some warm oil or ghee until it becomes fragrant, then adding the rest of the curry will extend it’s value.
Add Curry Paste – Be careful with this one. It can work it you are in a hurry to rescue your curry and the paste you have is complimentary to the failed curry.
Add salt – Salt pulls all the other ingredients and their flavours together. It is amazing how much a couple of pinches of salt can do to lift a sagging curry.
Add Yoghurt – Milk is a cooling ingredient. If your curry is seriously hot, the addition of yoghurt, sour cream, cream, or bind a bind a little milk will tame the heat. I even remember an innovative chef using powdered milk in a tight situation.
Add Ground or Chopped Coriander (Cilantro) – Coriander is a cooling spice. The addition of this spice or herb will take the edge off a hot curry. It can be used in combination with a milk product if the curry is seriously over the top, or instead if the curry only needs a small amount of reduction.
Serve Lassi or milk based drink – Just like adding yoghurt a lassi (or a smoothie, thick shake, etc) is a wonderful retreat from a steaming hot curry. This is a nice way to cater for a crowd, where some guests like heat and so don’t.
Serve With Plenty Of Rice – Dilution can be the solution, and rice is a quick and easy way to solve this dilemma.
Add Rice Syrup – Rice Syrup is a wonderful sweetener that can be stirred into a bitter curry.
Add Fried Onions – Frying onion caramelizes the sugar in them. Frying onions until brown can add a good deal of sweetness and brings that wonderful smoky flavour as well.
Add Palm Sugar – Palm Sugar is the sweetener of choice for Thai, Vietnamese and Laotian Curries.
Add Fennel Seeds – Fennel is a sweet and cooling spice. The addition of fennel seeds at the end of cooking a curry, will sweeten it and add that lovely anise surprise when you bite into the seed.
Add Red Lentils – Keep a packet of Red Lentils in your pantry. They are my life long friends for rescuing many an errant curry. They soak up excess water, and add “body” to curry. The great thing about red lentils is they don’t require overnight soaking like other do.
Add Potato – Diced Potato if allowed to boil for 15 – 20 mins will start to thicken a watery curry
Boil The Curry Uncovered – This is a preferable method. Bring the curry to a boil and then simmer over a lower heat. This may take longer but it will get the result you are after. Take care to stir and monitor the curry so as not to burn it to the bottom of the pan.
Add Fresh Chilli – Adding sliced chilli will add pockets of heat where as mincing the chilli and stiring it through will heat the whole curry. Sliced curry is a good way to add extra zing if in a group of people one or two really like it hot.
Add Chilli Powder – Chilli powder will heat the whole curry and is best used if you have no fresh chilli and wish to lift the whole thing.
Add Curry Powder – Naturally Curry Powder will add all the flavours not just heat. A good option if a curry just need a “shot in the arm”
Add Water – A very simple and straight forward solution but remember water will also dilute flavour.
Add Coconut Milk – Good for Thai, Vietnamese, Laotian Curries that are looking like a bit of a dry argument.
Add Peeled Tomatoes – A can of peeled tomatoes will add a moisture and a richness to Indian Style Curries.
Add Fenugreek – Fenugreek is a bitter spice and should be used sparingly, The addition of 1/2 a teaspoon can round out a curry where sweetness dominates. Fenugreek is great for Indian style curries.
Add Lime – Lime tends to be more of Thai, Vietnamese, Laotian curries. A little squeeze of lime juice at the end of cooking a curry can tame an overly sweet curry.
Add Fried Curry Leaves – Fry some chopped Curry Leaves and once they develop that strong pungent smell stir in your sweet curry.