The Curry Kitchen
Some Useful Indian Cooking Utensils
There are a few items of hardware that make preparing Indian restaurant food easier, less time-consuming, and more ‘authentic’.
- A deep, heavy bottomed frying pan.
- A blender for the curry sauce.
- A coffee grinder for grinding spices.
- A small pestle and mortar for crushing whole spices.
- A sizzler dish to serve Tandoori dishes.
- A couple of balti dishes if you like balti curries.
- A karahi or wok.
Kris's Favourite Herbs and Spices
This must be the gift of the gods to spicy food. It is delicate yet distinctly aromatic. Too much is never enough – you can use coriander on or in every savoury dish you serve and it is never over-powering. Try blending a handful of fresh coriander with green chillies, a little lemon juice and salt, adding a little water until you have a pouring consistency. Use as a dip for spicy chicken wings and samosas or drizzle a little over meat and vegetables. Delicious!
Research suggests that coriander is the UK’s favourite herb. Did you know that home grown coriander is even better than shop bought? It is relatively easy to grow.
Sometimes called garlic chives, cloves of garlic are planted and develop green shoots rather like spring onions. These fresh garlic shoots can be used in all dishes where you would normally use garlic, either alone or in addition to garlic cloves for their colour and aroma. They add that extra touch of magic.
Sweetly aromatic, mint is versatile enough to transform all kinds of dishes, sweet and savoury. Its wonderful aroma, freshness and vibrancy is a must for chutneys, sauces, raitas and sambhals. Mint is readily available from greengrocers and supermarkets and is also very easy to grow.
Turmeric is an incredible ingredient; it does much more than make food yellow. In its fresh state it looks a bit like ginger, only it looks a bit more shrivelled and has an orangey colour. Turmeric can be used in its fresh state as a vegetable in its own right and even made into sweets. Usually though it is sun-dried and ground to a fine powder.
Turmeric has been considered by Indians to have significant health giving properties and is often used to treat injury and ill health. Medical research now shows that they were right – turmeric is shown to be an anti-inflammatory and is appearing in preparations to treat conditions like arthritis. It is also thought to prevent Alzheimer’s disease.
These little greenish pods have a heavenly aroma that lends itself to both sweet and savoury dishes. A key ingredient in garam masala cardamoms are also used to flavour kulfi, sweet meats and chai – dishes that simply wouldn’t have that wow factor without these versatile little pods.