23 Oct 2018
The Meat Eaters guide to curry
Is there anything better than a meaty curry? Our Head Butcher, Simon Rowse has given us the low down on the best cuts to use, and his top tips for getting the perfect Indian inspired dish every time.
Your choice of meat is dictated by your cooking method. If opting for a quick dish (less than 30 minutes) choose a relatively lean cut, as it doesn’t require as much cooking time, but will keep its tenderness. Chicken breast works well for a quick korma or tikka and, although a little pricy, lamb neck fillet works well for speedy lamb dishes.
If you’re going to be slow cooking your dish, opt for cuts that are sold on the bone as they inject incredible depth of flavour. Chicken legs and thighs, lamb shanks and beef shin are all great options, especially when cooked low and slow, so the meat falls off the bone. Slow-cookers are an effective way of cooking curry particularly when using cuts of meat that require extended stewing, beef in particular. I would suggest preparing your curry in a pan, and simmering uncovered for about 15 minutes to allow all the ingredients and flavours to combine, before transferring it to a slow cooker. It’s also important to remember that not all slow-cookers allow for evaporative reduction. As general rule to keep in mind is to reduce the liquid added to the curry by a third – this can be as simple as adding less stock or water to the cooking process.
To really maximise flavour, score your meat and gently rub your base spices such as cumin seeds, ginger, garlic and turmeric into the meat for up to five minutes before adding to your pan. The heat from your hands will help the spices absorb into the meat, whilst also tenderising it.
Once spiced, it’s time to seal all of that flavour in. Meat can be added to the pan once the onions have been cooked, or alternatively you can remove the onions from the pan and brown the meat by itself. If cooking for a crowd, sear the meat in batches, as this will ensure for even cooking and aim to serve roughly 150-200g of meat per person, to ensure everyone is well fed!
Finally, my top tip is to get adventurous with your meat choices, pork is often overlooked in British curries, but it can be a delicious option. Or why not try game meats such as duck, wood-pigeon and Guinea Fowl when in season? If in doubt, ask your local butcher for some ideas and inspiration!