Where it all began...

One day I looked at my lonesome unused tub of medium curry powder and thought "I've never actually made a curry, I wonder how is it done?"
So I did what most people would do and bought a book that promised authentic and traditional curries. Just the job I thought especially as it was at a 'knock down price' from a garden centre.
So I dutifully reduced a 4 portion recipe for 'Chicken Tikka Masala' and was underwhelmed by the result. The same was true for most of the other curries I tried.
So, not being one to give up, I asked myself - "I wonder how they do it in the high street restaurants?"

I scoured the internet and at the time that yielded very little results. I stumbled on one site that mentioned 'masala sauce' as a recipe ingredient. This produced far too much and I thought "I only want one meal and this is for gallons of the stuff. What's this all about?"

So I cut the quantities down and made the curry and guess what - underwhelmed once again.
I thought that I must be able to do better than this. So I looked at all the curry recipes I could find and removed the meat, extra veggies, cream, lemon juice and so on and looked at what was left.
What remained were - onions, ginger, garlic, tomato and loads of different spices and a few herbs. Then I looked for the most common spices and this yielded turmeric and paprika plus some maybe's.

I also stumbled on a text from the Natco web site that purported to explain how to make curries at home just like you get in Indian restaurants. After reading this I came across the term BIR for the first time (didn't know what it stood for) but realized that I had been edging towards restaurant style cooking without knowing it.

I searched the internet for 'BIR' and 'restaurant style' and found a book reference on Amazon and a couple of curry forums. I bought the book "The Curry Secret by Kris Dhillon" and scanned the forums. At the time I was still only wanting the occasional curry, but these sources confirmed what I had discovered about restaurant style cooking.

So I had the basis for a base sauce - onion, ginger, garlic, tomato, turmeric and paprika. From my traditional recipes and all the other information I had gathered I decided on ingredient quantities and proceeded to cook the base sauce as if I were making a traditional curry but inserted a blending stage that I discovered was done in restaurants.

So I had a small quantity of my own "Simple fried base sauce". I then made a curry using this and was immediately stunned (in a good way) by the result and this became the basis for most of the curries I made from then on although I now make larger volumes and have therefore developed this into the C41, C44 and C46 base sauces.

If you visit Buxton in Derbyshire don't neglect to visit the following restaurant, it is one of the best!
   Taj Mahal
Restaurant Curry Cook Books
 "The Curry Secret - Indian Restaurant Cookery at Home" by Kris Dhillon. (Right Way Books)
 "The New Curry Secret" by Kris Dhillon. (Right Way Books)
 "Authentic Balti Curry" by Mohammed Ali Haydor. (www.baltibook.co.uk)
 "Learn 2 Cook - Volume 1" by Abdul Mohed. (www.learn2cook.vpweb.co.uk)

Good reads on the history of curry up to the present day...
 "Curry - A Tale of Cooks and Conquerors" by Lizzie Collingham. (Oxford University Press)
 "Curry - The story of the nations favourite dish" by Shrabani Basu. (Sutton Publishing)
 "Star of India - The spicy adventures of curry" by Jo Munroe. (Wiley)

Further reading (not curry specific)...
 An easy to understand background to kitchen science...
 "What Einstein told his cook" by Robert L. Wolke. (W.W. Norton)
 "What Einstein told his cook 2" by Robert L. Wolke. (W.W. Norton)

Valid XHTML 1.0 Strict