This week (8th-14th October) is National Curry week and earlier in the week I was cooking some lovely curry recipes from Anjali Pathak. I am sure that everyone has made use of Pataks range of curry sauces and pastes when making a curry. Anjali Pathak is the granddaughter of the founder of this range. I was quite excited to be offered the chance to ask her some questions about cooking. I love cooking Indian food but it does not always work as well is it should when I cook it from scratch. I was hoping to learn a few things.
These are the questions I asked and the answers I received, I found them very helpful.
What was it that originally got you interested in cooking?
It was the scents and flavours of spices in my mum’s spice box that first pricked my passion for cooking. Her spice box was full of interesting ingredients that I wanted to use to try and create new and different dishes.
I find the vast range of spices that can be used in Indian cooking rather bewildering. If you wanted to have a set of basic spices that you can use in any curry what you choose?
I accent all my dishes with the well-loved trio of fresh garlic, root ginger and fresh chillies but it is very important to have fresh splices to hand to create the best flavour base for any Indian dish.
I can easily make a curry using your pastes but when I make one for scratch it never seems to work. Do you have some simple foolproof hints on making a simple curry?
Use your favourite Patak’s paste as your main flavour base and add your own fresh spices. It’s the perfect way to know you are creating an authentic meal but with all the spice flavours you will love.
I like a mild curry but my husband loves them hot and spicy. Is there a way to cook both from the same basic ingredients?
My partner is just the same and so I stab a few extra chillies whole and cook them with the meal along with the sliced chillies, then when I serve up the meal I cut up the whole chillies for him so he can get that extra hit, try it and let me know if it works.
Are there spices, herbs, ingredients or cooking tips that you use for Indian cuisine that could be applied to English recipes to give them a boost?
Cinnamon works amazingly in BRITISH recipes when cooking red meat, I also like to add cumin to many dishes which gives it a little extra something!
Which one herb or spice would you never be without?
Hands down, coriander leaf – I absolutely love it!
I would like to thank Anjali for taking the time to answer my questions and I will definitely be trying out that hint about chillis to spice up my husband’s meal next time I make a curry.