2014 was another big year for the Curry Focus team and the Curry Focus website is going from strength to strength.
And it is all down to you – the visitors and contributors to the Curry Focus website. Google, Bing, Yahoo and Facebook send a lot of visitors to the Curry Focus website. But we notice that a growing number are coming directly to the website – hopefully you have Curry Focus saved as a favourite in your browser.
Thousands of you come to the website each month. So what do you look at? Well, it is mainly the recipes and the blogs.
There are lots of different types of curry recipes on the website – just check out the curry category page to see the main curry groupings. And now there are over 500 recipes on the Curry Focus website. Yes – 500. That is a lot of recipes. And there is a backlog of recipes to be added that have been given to us by friends and friends of friends and friends of friends of friends … well, you get the idea.
We also get lots of recipes emailed to us. And sometimes we see a great recipe on a food forum and get the submitter’s permission to publish the recipe on the Curry Focus website. If you have a favourite curry recipe then email it to us and we will share it with the world – and we publish your name along with the recipe. Just make sure that you describe how to make the curry (the method) in the correct sequence, that you use all of the ingredients and there are no ingredients left over once the recipe has been followed – do not worry about the measuring system that you use (metric or imperial) because we will convert and format the details for you.
The Curry Focus recipe categories with the most recipes are the chicken curry recipes and vegetarian curry recipes. Is it surprising that these 2 curry recipe categories have the most recipes? We do not think so. The majority of people in the Indian subcontinent are Hindu which means that they are vegetarian. And chicken seems to be the most widely used meat eaten meat around the world.
The number of recipe categories will continue to grow, based on the recipes that are added and on your feedback. Late in the year we received an email asking if we had any “Indian” breakfast recipes. Of course we did. But at the time there was not a recipe category for breakfast recipes. So we created a Breakfast Recipes category. Problem solved. Creating new recipe categories on the website is pretty easy and more will be added as time goes by. We just need to be careful that the recipe category page does not get too big and unwieldy.
Of course, as well as looking at the recipe categories, you can always use the Curry Focus search function to look for recipes. Just enter the name of the recipe that you want to see in the textbox on the left of every page on the website, click on the Search button and you will be shown a list of search results. The best matches appear at the top of the list. And within the best matches, the recipes are shown first. Easy. Lots of searches are made every day. In fact, you can search on basically anything and the website looks for matching results for you. For example, you can look for ingredients to get recipes that use the ingredients.
The one big change that was made with the yummy curry recipes was to calculate the calories in a recipe. We always laugh when we see vague calorie questions on a website, such as “How many calories are in a chicken bhuna curry?” with a definite number of calories, such as 520, as the answer. Just how does this work? If you think about it, the question cannot be answered. It ignores mention of any variables (such as the ingredients are in the curry, the quantity of ingredients, the serving size, whether it is cooked at home or at a restaurant, etc.). So it is impossible to see how the number 520 has come from. It is probably just a guess.
It is not an easy task to work out the calories in a curry. It is impossible if you are eating a restaurant made curry. You can see the calories on curries that your buy from a shop or supermarket but you have no control over the quality of the ingredients and there are usually preservatives and other ingredients added.
We wrote a series of blogs about working out the calories in a curry way back in 2009 but the blogs are still as applicable today as they were back then. The new calorie feature on the Curry Focus website means that you do not have to go through all the tedious calculations to work out how many calories you are eating – all you have to do is read the number. If you can eat the curry with rice (which you can do with most curries) then the total calories (including the rice calories) are shown as well – the rice calories are based on a serving of basmati rice.
Most of the Curry Focus recipes now show the number of calories that you get from a recipe and, if applicable, how many calories are in a serving. About 75% of the recipe show the calories and we are working through the other 25% so that we can show the calories on all of the curry recipes.
And 247 of the Curry Focus recipes have been tested and reviewed by the team. We follow the recipe as it is supplied and then 4 regular tasters eat the results and give their taste scores and rate the spice/heat rating. Once this is done, we write a blog about what the recipe and publish it on the website. This sounds a bit like a chore to some people but we see this as a labour of love.
You can see the list of recipes that have been reviewed on the Recipe Reviews page. And you can sort the Recipe Review page details by recipe name, taste score or heat rating by clicking on the orange triangles. So if you are looking for a mild curry you can quickly see which curry recipes might suit you.
Of course, these taste and heat ratings are what the curry tasting team thought. You might try a curry recipe and think very differently. For example, none of the tasting team like butter chicken recipes but we got an email from a very enthusiastic curry lover with one of the butter chicken recipes that we had tried (and rated pretty low). It all depends on what you like.
The recipe review ratings do mean that you can see the curries with high spice/heat levels.
But what if you misjudge the heat of a curry and it is too hot? Well, we recommend you look at the blog about how to cool down a curry that is too hot. This was the most popular blog during 2014 so we assume that lots of people make a curry that is too spicy and need to take emergency steps to cool down the curry.
The main source of heat in a curry is chilli, either as chilli powder or as fresh chillies. If you are unfamiliar with a recipe then these are the ingredients that you need to look at carefully. In general, a curry with more than 2 chillies or with more than 1/2 teaspoon of chilli powder are likely to be at least “Medium” in the heat levels – they are unlikely to be mild. So if you like the look of a recipe but think that it may be too hot then cut back on the chillies or chilli powder. In chillies, the main heat source is the seeds and white fleshy veins so you can cut these out to get a slightly milder curry.
Whether you like “hot” or “mild” curries, the one piece of advice we can give is not to try a new recipe at a dinner party. You really need to know how hot a curry is going to be before you unleash it on guests.
One of the fun things we like to do at the end of the year is see where the Curry Focus visitors live. It is always good to visualise hot and sunny places while we sit here in the cold (at least there is no winter snow around in this part of the UK yet).
2014 saw visitors from 161 different countries and states and the top 10 countries shown in the following table.
Once again, the United Kingdom supplied most visitors by a huge margin. Which is not really a shock seeing that curry, in all of its various forms, is hugely popular in the UK. What does make us smile is seeing India at number 5 in the table.
The majority of countries in the world sent visitors to the Curry Focus website. The ones that catch our eye are Brazil (curry on Copacabana beach), Seychelles, Maldives and Barbados. Notice how these are all warm places? No freezing temperatures or frost in those places. Dream on.
The visitor numbers go through the roof on December 27th and stays there for 2 or 3 days before settling back down to the usual visitor numbers. And 2014 was no exception to this pattern. Lots of visitors looking for these recipes as well as reading the blogs on how to look after leftover turkey.
So it seems the tradition of cooking a turkey that is too big for the main Xmas meal continues. And the worrying tradition of looking for these recipes more than a couple of days after Xmas continues as well. In fact, we are still getting people looking at the leftover recipes today – 10 days after Xmas Day. Using meat this old is really asking for trouble unless the meat has been frozen shortly after being cooked.
Thankfully, a lot of visitors are reading the “Roast Turkey Meat Safety” blog. So maybe not so many people are risking their health as it first appear.
2104 was a great year for Curry Focus and the team is fully energised after a few days break to make 2015 even better. We have had a couple of office meetings to sort out the priorities for this year. It is going to be an exciting year.
But the website would be nothing without the visitors. We want to share our obsession with good curries with you all. And we want to hear your ideas for the website. If you want to see something changed or added then just let us know. We cannot promise to meet all wishes but we will do our best.
We post links to all of our blogs on Facebook. So far we have over 400 likes. Have you liked us yet? No? If you have a Facebook account go to Curry Focus on Facebook and like us then. No pressure. Just do it. Pretty please.
We publish a monthly newsletter with links to the blog that were published in the month. You can sign up for this by going to the Curry Focus home page and giving us your email address in the “Curry Newsletter” textbox (in the top right of the page). This way, you can keep up to date with our blogs once a month.
The one important fact about the Curry Focus website that gets overlooked is that it is FREE to use. No charges. There never has been a charge to use the website. How about that for value for money?
2014 is over. 2015 is underway. Onward and upward.