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Construction of Curry



Anise seeds
Candlenut seeds
Cardamom seeds
Chillies (dried or fresh, red and green)
Cinnamon (preferably unground)
Coriander seeds, young leaves also used
Cumin seeds
Curry leaves
Dill seeds
Fennel seeds
Fenugreek seeds
Galangal rootstock (ginger family)
Ginger rootstock
Lemon grass (fleshy base of stems)
Mace (outer covering of nutmeg)
Mustard seed
Nutmeg seed
Pepper (dried fruits)
Poppy seed
Star anise fruit (dried)
Tamarind (pulp from seed pods)
Turmeric rootstock
Coconut is used as indicated to produce coconut juice or milk. Where grated coconut is required to be roasted brown, desiccated coconut is more easily handled.

MethodBack to top

In general, the flavouring agents are divided into two sections, those which are ground and made into a paste with water, and those which are fried, sliced or whole.
Ingredients in the first section can, unless there are specific instructions, be very slightly roasted and ground dry, except of course for onion and garlic which may be grated. When the paste is made, the finer and smoother it is, the better.
Ingredients in the second section should be thrown into a preheated mixture of oil and ghee and cooked fairly gently until the onion is browned.
Coconut milk does not contain the liquid from the interior of the coconut. To prepare coconut milk, pulp the flesh of a coconut with 300ml of water in a blender. Squeeze out and strain off the liquid, which constitutes the thick milk. The flesh can then be extracted with 600ml of water to yield the thin milk.
The thin milk is generally used for the early cooking after the first, ground mixture of spices is added to the second, fried mixture. The thick milk is usually added 10 to 20 minutes before serving. Most curries are much improved by being allowed to stand in a covered pot in a warm place for an hour or more at the stage before addition of the thick coconut milk.


Many recipes call for tamarind water, made by extracting about 50g of tamarind with 600ml of water. Lemon juice or lime juice can be substituted: use the juice of 1 lemon to 600ml water.
For 1 stalk of lemon grass, substitute half teaspoon grated lemon rind.
Curry leaves are called Karuapillary in Tamil. The botanical name of the plant is Murraya koenigii.

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