Scotland’s Curry Chef of the Year, Ashok Ram of The Radhuni in Loanhead in Midlothian shares his top tips for cooking curry.

As it’s National Curry Week, why not make your own by following these top tips?

Use Greek yoghurt instead of cream

This thick, full fat natural yogurt is excellent at adding texture and creaminess to curries and is a far healthier alternative to cream.

Simplify the spices

curry week

Picture: judepics Flickr/Wikicomms

There seem to be a million spices for you to choose from so it’s easy to get confused. The best way to start experimenting with Indian cookery is to pick a simple recipe that uses two to three spices and grow your spice collection from there.

Make batches

Make batches and freeze minced garlic and ginger in ice cube trays, then push them out and ziplock them into bags ready for curries. That’ll save a whole lot of time when you’re cooking next.

Add oil

Adding a few drops of oil to the rice before cooking will prevent it from becoming sticky.

Use spices in moderation

Less can be more! Adding too much spice can make a dish bitter.

Use steam

Covering the dish while cooking not only conserves fuel but also hastens the cooking process using built-up steam.

Go crispy

curry week

Picture: Miansari66/Wikicomms

To make crispier bajjis (pakoras) add a little cornflour or rice flour to the gram flour while making the bajji batter. Also add some hot oil to the batter.

Pick a few recipes and start experimenting

As you cook with Indian recipes more and more, you’ll get familiar with the process of toasting spices until they pop, knowing which spices go together most frequently and how to combine ingredients for a final delicious meal.

Do NOT use curry powder instead of Garam Masala

curry week

Picture: erik forsberg/Flickr

Curry powder is not garam masala and is never used in India. Curry powder is not as flavourful and has turmeric and other additions. It is a British or Western spice blend approximating the masala spice blends from North and South India. Use garam masala spice blend or the spices mentioned above in Indian recipes.

Add sugar if required

If the curry is too salty, adding a small amount of sugar will help balance the flavour but only work when your curry is slightly too salty, not overly so. If you are trying to counteract a heavily salted dish with sugar you will end up making the curry too sweet and inedible.

• Ashok Ram recently won Curry Chef of The Year at The Scottish Curry Awards and is the head chef of The Radhuni in Loanhead in Midlothian

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