Food & Drink Magazine

The Curry Secret

By Eatouteatin
The Curry Secret
The Curry Secret by Kris Dhillon was first published in 1989 and set out to provide a method for home cooks to produce Indian Restaurant style food from the comfort of their own homes.  In its introduction, Kris explains how restaurant cooking has a distinct flavour often very different to that with a more home-cooked taste.  Now this in itself may be a little disappointing but I totally understand the notion in trying to re-create your favourite dish.
In her book, Kris reveals the "tricks of the trade" and secret recipes that are claimed to be the techniques often used by restaurants.  I am not about to reveal all these secrets but I will elude to the main points and tell you why I love this book so much.
"Kris Dhillon writes with the authority of an accomplished Indian restaurateur, with many years' experience and thousands of satisfied customers.   Most chefs guard closely the secret of their basic curry sauce, but here Kris Dhillon reveals all, and offers you the opportunity to reproduce chicken, lamb, fish and vegetable curries with that elusive taste."
The book provides a recipe for a curry sauce which is to become the main ingredient for most of the dishes listed (in varying amounts).  The curry sauce takes a few hours to prepare but the quantities shown make enough for about 12 main courses - and I have found it to be greater still.  This sauce can be frozen or chilled and re-used so when you come to make the final dish the process is quick and simple.
The curry sauce cannot really be used on its own as it has very few spices but instead creates the consistency and background flavour needed with the use of tomatoes, garlic, ginger and onions.  Another reason I love this book is that the spices used are mainly dried spices that are cheap to buy and can sit in your cupboard for a long time if you are an occasional cook.  Of the dishes I have tried the main spices needed are as follows:
Garam Masala
Chilli Powder
Fenugreek Leaves
Bay Leaves
Salt & Pepper
There are a few other ingredients used within the book but you will be able to tackle most of the dishes with these simple store cupboard ingredients.
Some of the dishes we have tried with success are:
The Curry SecretChicken Tikka Massala
The Curry SecretChana Aloo (Chickpeas and Potatoes)
The Curry SecretA simple Pilau Rice (with cloves and cinnamon)
The Curry SecretSaag Meat (Gosht) - lamb and spinach
The Curry SecretA mix of some of the above
We have also enjoyed the Tarka Dal (needs Ghee but easily available these days) and Chicken Dhansak which uses some of the pre-prepared Tarka Dal (lentils), pre-cooked chicken, various spices as above and the incredible curry sauce.
I bought this book for Fran for Christmas but as you can tell, I think I have had the most use out of it so far.  Although, Fran has also enjoyed the tasting (she tells me).  This is a great book to use for dinner parties as you can easily make several very different tasting dishes and have much of it pre-prepared so you can spend more time with your guests.  there are even quick recipes for deserts at the back of the book like Indian Ice Cream and Yogurt flavoured with Garlic and Cumin. 
Why not get the book yourself and discover the secrets - you will love the dishes and will go back to it time and time again I am sure.

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