Curry dishes revel in complex flavors -- cool coconut mingles with warm red pepper while coriander and cumin tone down sharp ginger and garlic, for example. Delicious though it is, this complexity does leave room for error, including curry that errs on the bitter side. If your curry makes you pucker, you have plenty of options for remedying the situation.
Cool Your Curry
Curry sauce commonly relies on a base of coconut milk, cream or yogurt; to cut back on bitterness, increase the proportions of these ingredients. If the additional liquid makes your curry runny, thicken it up with a few extra minutes of boiling, or add lentils or a legume puree to soak up excess moisture -- these ingredients can also help reduce a bitter edge. Alternatively, add fennel seeds and let your curry sauce simmer for a few minutes to create a subtly sweet and cool tone that also lends your dish a slight anise flavor.
Sweeten the Deal
In just about any dish, sweetness helps stave off bitter flavors. Palm sugar serves as classic sweetener, particularly for Thai-style curry. Upping your curry's onion content can also help sweeten a bitter recipe, particularly if the onions are browned beforehand. Likewise, ground pistachio nuts lend your curry gravy a sweet, cool and nutty flavor.
Although the reasons for this phenomena remain unclear, salt serves as a famously effective suppressor of bitterness. Curry dishes commonly include salt, but adding a few more pinches can help cut back on an overly bitter flavor. Sea salt and celery salt also do the trick, as can slices of celery. Adding salty seasonings to reduce your curry's bitterness calls for more moderation than cool or sweet additions, as the salt may overpower the dish.
Mind More Tips
Cut down on curry ingredients, such as cumin, nutmeg and basil, to reduce bitterness from the outset. If you're preparing bitter gourd curry, always de-seed the gourd and balance its bitterness with spices like garlic, mustard seed and green chili. No matter which seasonings you turn to to amend your curry's flavor, always use fresh spices for a crisper, brighter and bolder taste.
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