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Best Ever Curry Recipe

I would be interested to know if this presentation really does improve the freshness significantly or if it is mainly marketing.

This presentation is part of the supermarket game of funnelling shoppers through the fresh produce section as they enter, which is intended (along with slogans like “fresh food people”) to have us believe that we are entering a realm of fresh, healthy produce when much of the food sold is none of those things. The fixtures that present these images to us are frequently timber, or at least clad with timber, where everything else is metal, glass or plastic. Its all about equating wood with natural and as we know ‘natural’ (whatever that means) is well embedded in the food and health industry marketing shtick.

This observation also leads me to ponder why fruit and veg is not all presented in chilled display cabinets like meat. It is stored and transported in chilled spaces why not sell it that way? Vendors may argue that the turnover is such that chilling veges isn’t warranted. Why then is the display in the most prominent place iced?

Perhaps the answer is that the image of ice beds on a timber fixture as you enter is enough to prime shoppers with the feeling of health and freshness and so the vendor can save on the cost of fixtures and electricity for the rest. Those shoppers who are making a bee-line for the frozen pizza cabinet may never buy that iced broccoli but it still makes them feel better as they hurry past. There are times I cannot decide which is stranger, the marketeers or the human frailties that they prey on.

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The placing of perishables on ice definitely does work.
Our local Supa IGA stock their broccoli, asparagus and other perishable veggies on their refrigerated vertical display and I seldom buy these products as the broccoli is usually soft and the asparagus is wrinkled.
They do have special boxes with hinged Perspex lids for the snow peas, sugar snap peas and brussels sprouts on the refrigerated vertical displays which helps to preserve them which Coles does not use. As a result, Coles loose snow peas, sugar snap peas and brussels sprouts are often soft and not worth buying, a problem which does not occur with their prepacked equivalents.
I once asked a Coles employee if they had any fresh snow peas and he produced a black plastic carton liner bag from behind the display box. Unlike the limp contents of the display box, the remaining snow peas in the bag were still perfect.
I suspect that the ice not only keeps the products cool but the resultant moisture offsets the problem with the air-conditioning drying the products. The broccoli and brussels sprouts are delivered to the stores packed on crushed ice.
The same applies in the stone fruit season when the supermarkets have anywhere up to 12 open boxes of cherries on display in the open or on the refrigerated vertical displays. Unless you can arrive shortly after they have opened the boxes, or you manage to get them to bring out a fresh box, you will find they are no longer firm and not worth buying. I suspect that they probably throw out around half of their stock.

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In general I agree that refrigeration does improve the shelf life of perishables, the whole concept of the supermarket is based on the benefits of refrigeration. In this case you have observed that the iced product looks better than the non iced product, no doubt icing helps but it is an assumption that is the only thing that is happening here.

It is possible that the staff are required to ensure that the poster child always looks good and so they rotate it faster. Another possibility is that the shoppers respond to having that product pushed and buy more so the apparent freshness may be due to turnover as well as ice.

Without comparative study we cannot be sure that the ice is the critical or only factor. If it is so effective why not treat all produce that way? Why use a chilling method that is so cumbersome?

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The benefit is that the ice is around 0 to 1 degree Celsius so doesn’t cause freezer type burning yet is cold enough to retain the “fresh picked” state and is moist, so not too cold and the moisture content of the packaging does not start dehydrating the produce before arrival. Snow Peas are sometimes treated the same way.

But if you look at the packing the ice is on the top and throughout the product not just the bottom, cold air is denser than hot so falls rather than rises. This is why you should pour the ice over goods in the esky rather than sit the ice on the bottom. If you cool the bottom of a bottle it takes a very very long time before the top part comes to a temperature anywhere near that of the bottom.

In the display cabinets it does a great job of keeping the product cold where it touches the ice but fails to keep the top parts cool unless they too are covered in ice which of course defeats the display element, air is a also a great insulator (why jumpers and similar work they trap heated air close to the body and stop the colder air displacing the warmth) and will greatly inhibit the transfer of cold into a product if it is not surrounded in the cold air. So I agree with you @syncretic that it really is mostly a marketing ploy to entice a transaction from the customers.

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Being less of a chef and more of a food warmer, try Spice Tailor. I find their product to be a bit above the Passage to [name your location] and similar, as well as all those sold in jars.

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I had planned to cook another Duck Madras curry in our pressure cooker this week, but after reminiscing about the Chicken Tikka I ate in Hong Kong some years ago, I decided to put the duck on the backburner and do the Chicken Tikka instead.
I bought a tray of 6 bone-in skin-on chicken cutlets from the Supa IGA which weighted just under 1.2 Kg and 2 packets of Taste of India Tikka Masala sauce from the butcher. After browning the cutlets, I added the sauce and spices and once the pressure cooker had reached high pressure, I cooked it for 20 minutes.
It may not have been quite as good as the meal in Hong Kong but it was completely satisfactory to me. I had it for dinner the past 2 nights and plan to eat the remaining 2 cutlets tonight.
Rather than have rice as the accompaniment, I also cooked my favourite Cous Cous dish with toasted pine nuts, cooked finely diced onions and chopped spring onions blended through the Cous Cous.
The chicken cutlets, the 2 packets of sauce, the Cous Cous, and the other ingredients cost around $20 total for 3 delicious meals.

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Thanks for that. Who doesn’t feel like a curry in winter. I used to make my own from scratch when young but have resorted to ‘jars’ in recent decades!. Ayam’s are ok. I used Patak’s this past week and it was awful. No flavour except an undercurrent of vinegar. Will definitely give your recommended brand a try next time the craving for curry comes :slightly_smiling_face:

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Thanks Fred! I’m definitely going to be on the lookout for the “Taste of India” products on my next shop. Cooking a curry sauce from scratch is all very well, but probably more expensive and certainly more time-consuming! Cheerio, Gail

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Where is the “everything must be natural” and “down with pre-prepared food” brigade when you need them?

It looks like none of them eat curry which would be excluded because it has more than 5 ingredients and it includes things grandmother wouldn’t consider food. Poison!

Hi Gail.
As I mentioned in my original post above, if you cannot find a stockist in your area, try calling the importer and distributor, SSM International, in Brisbane to enquire about stockists where you live. Their phone number is 07 3299 2477.
Their website also shows an online store but clicking on it does not seem to do much.

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The Taste of India products are made in Fiji where around 37.5% of the population are of Indian descent.
It is not made in China or some other Asian country with a questionable reputation for food quality.
Why not actually try it yourself instead of just being a sceptic?

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In times when I had no time I tried some bottled sauces, some were cromulent but many were poor. I am not saying the one you like is bad but for reasons below I have no reason now to find out. You keep assuming I am pre-judging this particular sauce, not at all, these remarks would apply to any.

I routinely keep all the ingredients that I need, many of them find other uses aside from curry and learning to use them has taught me much. I am not short of time and prefer to have the variety that making my own provides and some techniques cannot be done with bottled sauce anyway. The smells that fill the house, that vary according to the ingredients and stage of cooking, delight me. Joy is taking time to cook for family and friends and whatever the quality of my offerings may be they are mine. Sitting and taking time over simple pleasures is important and that doesn’t come out of a bottle. The process, purpose and intent can be as important, or more, than the outcome. While I am not a paid up member of the group the Slow Food philosophy suits me much more than quick food, industrial food or packaged food.

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Fred, I’ve had a look online for stockists, and found one lonely Woolworths store somewhere in the Eastern States, and a Morrisons, also in the ES. I am in WA. Tried to email, but you have to fill in the capcha - and it’s empty, so you can’t! They certainly don’t make it easy. I can’t see anywhere to buy online either.

syncretic, I have tried many times to make curry from scratch, and I’m never really satisfied with the result. So I have resorted to packets and jars, which aren’t wonderful either. I think a lot of Indians must use them too, judging by the huge number on the shelves in any Indian grocery.

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This is a puzzle as the method is not difficult. If you use good recipes (at least to start with), use fresh spices (ground yourself) and allow time I see no reason to not produce an excellent result. I suppose as with so many things in life YMMV. Nonetheless I encourage people to give it a decent try as the results can be very good.

Curry is quite suitable for entertaining. With some planning you don’t need to to anything at the last minute but serve and you can use cheap cuts of meat, or even go 100% vego. This allows you to avoid stress and to socialise with your guests and to not spend a great deal. Dinner for 6-8 should be a breeze with some preparation.

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I think Frankenfurter was the best Curry :wink: sorry, couldn’t resist - Curry did well in so many appearances though …

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Hi Julwood. You won’t find these sauces at Coles or Woolies unless they wake up to what they are missing out on. The online listing that Woolies has is obviously not current.
I called the importer this morning to ask about WA stockists as my son lives in Perth and he loves a great curry. He used to make his curries from scratch but as he is now the GM of a listed company, I expect that he no longer has the time to mess around anymore.
I also advised them about the captcha problem and that their online order facility is not operating. I also suggested that they list their retailers on their website, which I was advised that they are working towards.
They advised that the have a distributor in WA, Ready Chef Go, and their phone number is (08) 9279 6755. I called them and they advised that the Taste of India products are stocked by all “spudshed” and most IGA stores in WA.

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Thanks for doing that Fred - you saved me a phone call! My local IGA didn’t have them, but I do have a Spudshed not too far away I visit most weeks. I’ll check it out.

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The vast majority of Indian style fast food outlets source all their key ingredients including premade sauces from a franchise.

It makes sense to bypass the middleman. A great option.

p.s. To find the best local most authentic curries I have often asked the taxi driver who he goes to for food like his mum makes. Other than a journey back home many have useful tips. Just note that for those of us less travelled the styles of cooking vary greatly within India and Asia. You need to talk a little more to find out what style appeals. From Very Hot (chillies or peppers) and meaty vs aromatically spiced vegetarian dishes more akin to a thick soup or porridge.

Butter chicken may be revered more for the fact it contains chicken, than the sauce which is just another mildly spiced sauce, when many local dishes are without meats or use lesser product because of the cost.

Every curry is different, and each of us has different tastes, so the best ever curry is really only subjective and relative to our own life experiences. It might help to know what “ best ever” is being measured against? Eg my mum’s Keens Curry with roast lamb left overs and well cooked white long grain rice with English peas and carrots. Yum!

For the rest of us there is always “The Famous Taj Mahal Indian Restaurant”. Just like “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” there is an interesting play with the ambiguity of English words.

I look forward to my next trip to one of our two local IGA’s in search of the now famous ‘best curry ever’. Hope they have some goat too!

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We made this ‘recipe’ the other night. There was some initial scepticism from the crowd about whether a good meal could ‘come largely from a packet’ and relatively little effort, given the instructions in this post were fairly simple, so we assumed it was simple and went with it - outcome? - it was really good and any doubt disappeared on the first bite mouthful. I’m not sure I’d say its the best ever mainly because my scale of culinary pleasure is fairly granular and I’m no chef, but I can say in addition to it being really good that I’ll make it again and a little disappointed I can’t find the sauces locally (6 should fit into a 3kg post satchel :slight_smile: I have a plan !!).

As a side note - I’m thinking as a quick and easy meal that chicken thigh fillets might work? The duck tasted great, but I’d forgotten how fatty they were and to me more tricky to portion out without a bony splinterfest ensuing …

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Chicken Thigh fillet will be milder in taste but if you can source truly free range ones they will have more taste than non truly free range or non free range ones ones (a good use perhaps of a “boiler” though harder to find these days).

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