What is a Daag Curry Base?
A few months ago I wrote a blog describing what a daag curry base is. Basically this is a curry paste/sauce that is made before a curry is needed and, when a curry is being cooked, the daag base is used to supply the initial curry sauce. This technique is used on the Indian sub-continent and a variation is often used in UK curry houses where extra ingredients are added to the daag curry base in order to produce the required curry.
I wondered how effective this technique was. Would it produce a yummy curry or wouldn’t it? The technique obviously works in curry houses so it should work for me.
Making the Daag Curry Base
I had most of the needed ingredients in the house and all I had to get were the extra onions (this recipe uses a fair number of onions).
The idea of the daag curry base is to make the base sauce before it is needed and I made the daag curry base early on Sunday morning so that it would cool before the evening meal time.
There is nothing tricky at all in making the daag curry base. If you look at the recipe then you’ll probably see that the ingredients and steps are common to lots and lots of curry recipes. All that is missing is the adding of the main curry ingredient and the final cooking phase.
The main cooking step in the recipe is sauteing the onions and this step took about 44 minutes for me when I made the daag curry base. It takes a long time to cook lots of onions.
I let the daag curry base cool when I had finished making it.
Using the Daag Curry Base
Now to use the daag curry base for real.
I decided not to follow a specific Curry Focus recipe – I would use the base with some chicken breasts that I had taken out of the freezer early in the morning. The daag curry base recipe makes enough curry base for 8 servings and I had enough chicken breasts for 4 servings (myself and the tasting crew makes 4 people). I cut up the chicken breasts into bite-sized pieces before starting the cooking.
I divided the daag curry base that I had made and used half of it for this curry. I heated up the daag curry base in a saucepan and added the chicken once the daag curry base was simmering and cooked the ingredients for 10 minutes. Then I covered the saucepan and cooked the curry for another 15 minutes. The chicken was fully cooked so I could serve up the curry to the waiting tasting crew (on basmati rice, of course).
Tasting the Daag Curry
The curry was really good. The sauce had a great consistency and tasted great, having a kind of neutral but spicy flavour. The spice/heat level was hot and the tasting crew gave the curry base a taste score of 8 out of 10. If the daag curry base had been left a couple of days then the taste would probably be even better (we all know how a curry tastes better the next day).
Using the Daag Curry Base Again
Would a vegetarian curry work as well? Only one way to find out. The next day I grabbed some vegetables from the fridge and chopped them up, all ready for cooking. I had potato, carrot, courgette (zucchini) and capsicum (bell pepper). I prepared the ingredients and put the remaining curry base to heat up. Then I added the carrot and potato and cooked for about 10 minutes before adding the courgette (zucchini) and capsicum (bell pepper). I carried on cooking for another 10 minutes and checked the potato and carrot ingredients – they were still a bit hard so I cooked the curry for another 5 minutes. Everything was cooked well at this stage and I served up the vegetable curry on basmati to the curry tasting crew who had been persuaded to come around for a second night of curry tasting (not that they needed much persuasion).
How was the Vegetarian Daag Curry?
The vegetarian curry was really good. Everyone enjoyed it. The curry base had produced another hot curry and it was agreed that the vegetable curry deserved a taste score out 8 out of 10, just like the first curry that had used the daag curry base.
Was the Daag Curry Base Recipe a Success?
This certainly was a great daag curry base recipe that worked and produced 2 great curries. Definitely a successful daag curry base recipe.
I will almost certainly make this curry base again. The one time that I think it would be really useful for me is around Christmas time when I know that I will probably be making a leftover turkey curry (or two). Rather than following a recipe, I could just heat up the daag curry base, add the previously cooked turkey, maybe throw in some vegetables and end up with a great curry in less than 30 minutes. Now that’s something to look forward to.