Making Curries - 101
So lets get going right away.
I have seperated the ideas into two categories, the first ones are things we can do at the start of preparation while the rest can be done if the curry is almost ready and you realise that its too runny or watery and not how you'd like it to be.
At the Start of Preparation --
--> If you use canned tomatoes - Look for "crushed" tomatoes, as they make better gravy. *I always keep a can or two for emergency even though I buy tomatoes fresh!*
--> If making a curry with onions and tomato where these ingredients dont need to be seen in chunks - Chop both onions and tomatoes really really fine.
--> If making a curry where you'd like to see strings of onions floating around but also want a relatively thick gravy - Chop half of the onions in slices while the rest into really fine pieces.
--> If making Paneer curries (like Palak Paneer or Mattar Paneer or Butter Masala etc) - Use a food processor or grinder to turn the onions into a thick paste, this will provide a beautiful texture for the gravy!
For all the above ideas - when you start cooking them - follow the steps below:
1. Heat oil. Add the initial spices (usually asafoetida and cumin/mustard seeds). Let the seeds sputter a bit.
2. Add the onions (chopped or paste). Add the ginger/garlic paste (if needed). Cook till onions are slightly golden brown.
3. Add the flavor spices (usually Garam Masala, Chilli powder, Turmeric Powder, Rajmah Masala, Chhole Masala etc etc and Bay leaves or Curry Leaves etc - as needed). Cook the onions in these spices for a few minutes and let the flavour and aroma of the spices intensify.
4. Add the tomatoes (chopped or paste). Add half a cup of water and let this mixture cook till it starts bulbing and boiling and forms a reasonably thick paste.
5. Now you can add whatever vegetables/lentils/beans etc that you are cooking.
At the End of Preparation --
To fix thin/runny/watery gravy:
--> If your curry has lentils, beans or potatoes etc in it, you can -
* Use a wooden/steel potato masher - and press some of the ingredients against the bottom or the side of the vessel and mash them into a thick paste. Then stir and check if your gravy is thick enough. If not repeat till you get it the way you like.
* Take almost a cup full of gravy with these beans and process in a food processor. Then pour them back into the vessel to get the thick consistency.
--> If you are a cheese lover - Add a few slices of cheese to your gravy and cook till it melts completely and thickens the gravy.
--> If you are a bread lover - Crush a few slices of bread with hands and add to the gravy and stir well and let it cook till the bread pieces are gone.
--> If your gravy is watery and you just want it thick but not change the taste at all - Add 2 table spoons of flour to the gravy and cook for about 5 minutes till the bubbles dissolve completely.
To fix a thick/chunky gravy:
--> If you are a cream lover - Add half a cup of cream into the gravy and let it simmer till it reaches the desired thickness.
--> If you just want to make it slightly thin - Add warm water to the gravy and let it boil till it reaches the desired thickness.
So as you can see.... its all in the preparation!
If you know exactly what you want - there are always more than one ways to get there......
See you next time! ;)