And you thought you had it nailed

Even if you think you're master of masala, chances are you're doing a few things wrong. 


From cooking with ghee to handling spices, the Homemade food team and curry experts share their 8 indispensable tips for your next cook-off. You can thank us later.


1. Make your curry the day before

This gives the flavours a chance to mingle. Just try not to eat it.


2. Use ghee

Put the olive oil down. Ghee (basically butter with the milk solids removed) is where it's at: it has a nuttier flavour than butter and a higher smoking point. It’s used in north Indian curries such as rogan josh so will give your home cooking a more authentic flavour. Cooking a south Indian curry? Use coconut oil for the same effect.

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You can buy ghee in the shops or make your own using this recipe


3. Take your time with the onions

Who knew onions were so important? If slow-cooked, onions add a surprising amount of flavour to your curry and they distribute the spices throughout the dish. Whatever the recipe says, cook them gently for 15 minutes or so at the beginning rather than giving them a quick flash in the pan.


4. Use whole spices and grind them yourself 

They’ll have so much more flavour. Plus you don’t need a spice grinder; go caveman style with a pestle and mortar instead. 

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Grinding spices



5. Always toast your spices…

… before you add chopped tomatoes, coconut milk or stock. Keep a beady eye on them though: burnt and bitter spices means starting again.

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Massaman duck curry

Via: Martin Poole / Sainsbury's

Hairy Bikers' massaman duck curry


6. Add garam masala towards the end of your cooking

Otherwise it loses its punch.


7. Use large chunks of meat and fish in your curry

So they stay nice and juicy, like in this chunky Malabar fish curry below. Yum.

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Malabar fish curry

Photo: Homemade

Chunky Malabar fish curry


8. And finally, don’t skimp on condiments!

Curry should never be eaten on its own. The raita, chutneys, rice and side dishes are just as important as the main.

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Cucumber raita

Photo: Sainsbury's


In a hurry for more curry? Then give these a read:

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