This week we received an email asking if a particular curry could be cooked the day before it was needed for a dinner party.
The simple answer is “yes”. You can cook a curry the day before it is needed and keep it in the fridge until it needs to be heated up. You need to make the curry container airtight otherwise you could end up with everything in the fridge smelling like the curry.
On dinner party evening, just put the curry into a saucepan and then serve it up once it has been thoroughly heated. You could even zap the curry in a microwave. We find that rice is best cooked fresh so you could heat up the curry whilst the rice is cooking.
The only thing that you shouldn’t prepare the day before is any garnish, such as fresh coriander (cilantro), which should be put onto the curry just before it is served.
As well as freeing you up to enjoy the dinner party evening, another advantage of cooking a curry the day before it is needed is that a curry usually tastes better the next day.
Why is this?
Research on the Internet comes up with a few ideas.
One explanation is that the spices and juices infuse themselves into the main ingredient (such as chicken or dal) whilst the curry is in the fridge.
A variation on this explanation says that the taste is even better if the curry is frozen and then defrosted at a later date. I do this quite a lot and can vouch for the fact that the taste is usually way better the second time around.
Another great reason is that the curry is actually cooked twice, once the first time that the curry is cooked and the second time when it is heated up.
Most people agree that the spices have a chance to blend for a lot longer than if you eat the curry as soon as it is cooked the first time.
I have a couple of favourite recipes on the Curry Focus website and usually double the ingredients when I cook the curries. And I cook the curries the day before they are needed. Why do I do this? So I get the flavour enhancement that happens when you heat up the curry the next day. And also so I can freeze the excess curry and take advantage of the second flavour enhancement when the curry is defrosted and heated up. Just yummy.