A Guide to Cooking Authentic Indian Curry 

Whether you eat at an authentic Indian restaurant in London or get a takeaway, you’ll notice how rich the flavours of each dish are. This is because each and every curry on the menu is prepared with care, using a varied and carefully selected blend of spices. Meats are marinated for long periods of time too. So let’s take a closer look into cooking an authentic Indian curry.

Curry Bases 

India is a huge country, with each region boasting unique spice blends and recipes, but when it comes to cooking, it’s worth knowing that the ‘base’ of a curry often starts out the same way. Most are made using two parts onion to one part ginger and one part garlic. Often, green chillies are added to the mix as well for some warming heat. All of these ingredients are sauteed in some kind of fat, typically oil, ghee or butter.

Curry Spices 

Spices for the curry you wish to make are then added to the base. These are left to simmer for a couple of minutes to bring out the unique flavours. Spices absorb oil quickly and will burn if left unattended, so it’s important to keep stirring and to add more oil where necessary. 

While many people add curry powder to their curries, this is actually a British invention. If you want to make a more authentic dish then it’s best to use garam masala. This is an Indian spice mix that typically includes cardamom, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, cloves, pepper, nutmeg and bay leaves. It can be found in the spice aisle of most grocery stores and will help give your dish an extra special flavour. 

Interestingly, garam masala mixes differ depending on where you buy them. This is the same in India, with many households having their own preferred recipe. If you cook a lot of Indian food, you’ll start to have preferences and can tailor your recipes accordingly. You can even make your own garam masala spice mix using the quantities of ingredients you prefer. Keep this nearby for your next cooking spree. 

Creating the Sauce 

Spices, garlic, ginger and onions are at the heart of nearly all curries. But to make the sauce you have a choice. Common options include stock, water, tomatoes, coconut milk and heavy cream. The ingredients you opt for will depend on how you want your curry to taste, with cream and coconut milk producing much milder options than stock, water or tomato juice. Sauces tend to be cooked slowly to allow all the flavours to blend together. 

Adding a Meat 

Curries can be vegetarian containing spinach, lentils or paneer. But if you’re using meat, this is typically marinated in advance and can be cooked in the curry sauce or separately. Tandoori ovens are used in restaurants to create specific flavours, with tandoori chicken being a popular option. At home, you can use a regular oven, slow cooker or hob. 

If you love curry and are looking for an authentic Indian restaurant, don’t miss Little India in South Kensington. Nestled close to some of the city’s best attractions, our restaurant serves dishes made with the freshest ingredients. Search for an ‘authentic Indian restaurant near me’ while in the area and enjoy freshly prepared cuisine.