Chickpea curry...for 40 people
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
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    London
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    2

    Default Chickpea curry...for 40 people

    Hi everyone,

    I am struggling to scale up a recipe for chickpea curry. It tastes delicious for five portions but when i cook for 40, it tastes bitter / metallic and generally bad.

    The reason I am cooking for so many is because I own a street food stall called Tikki Tikki Bang Bang. It's a brand new business and my first pitch is in two weeks. I am serving alu tikki (fried potato cakes) with a chickpea curry and homemade tamarind and date chutney, cumin yoghurt etc. Everything else tastes good, its just the chickpea curry I am having issues with.

    The recipe I am using is below. An Indian food blogger actually helped me with it but for whatever reason, i am unable to make it taste good. If anyone can explain what i am doing wrong, then I (and my customers) will be forever in your debt.

    Thanks, Michael

    Chana Masala
    40 portions (approx)


    For the chole masala
    3 to 4 cups oil
    8 to 10 bay leaves
    1/4 cup cloves
    1/4 cup green cardamoms
    1/4 cup peppercorns
    6 inches cinnamon sticks
    1 tsp asafoetida
    8 to 10 medium onions, finely chopped

    Base
    18 to 20 medium onions or 14 to 15 large onions
    28 to 30 medium tomatoes or 23 to 25 large tomatoes
    7 to 8 tbsp ginger paste
    7 to 8 tbsp garlic paste

    Dry masala
    5 tbsp cumin powder
    7 tbsp coriander powder
    half a tablespoon red chilli powder
    4 tbsp turmeric powder
    6 tbsp garam masala powder

    Curry
    15 large cans chickpeas
    8 to 10 tbsp amchur powder
    4 to 5 tbsp kasuri methi
    water as required
    coriander leaves


    Dry roast and grind whole spices, listed in the ‘chole masala’ section and set aside
    Fry onions from ‘chole masala’ section in oil until brown.
    Add ground spices to onions and fry for a few more minutes
    Puree onions and tomatoes in food processor from ‘base’ ingredients
    Mix with ginger and garlic paste and heat in a large pan
    Add chole masala (onions and ground spice mix) to pureed mix and cook for ten minutes
    Add spices from dry masala section and simmer
    Add chickpeas and cook until it has reached the right consistency
    Add water, salt, coriander, amchur powder as required.
    I posted on Real Curry Recipes so can you!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
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    Redditch, Midlands, UK
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    401

    Default

    Under cooking I would say, scaling up the quantities but not fully scaling up the time required to cook for the same results.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    France
    Posts
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    I agree. It sounds like you are not cooking the bitterness out of the onions. Maybe cook them in smaller batches and hold them at a low heat for longer - at least 2 hours at a very low simmer. I also note the absence of sugar and lemon juice, both of which would be useful in balancing the dish. I would try adding 3 tbsp or more of brown sugar and the juice of a lemon.
    As a general principle, we find that scaling up recipes just doesn't work. We always get better results by cooking many smaller batches, which sounds slow but actually with practice takes much the same time.
    Good luck.
    Cheers,
    Ferret

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Shrewsbury (go up past Birmingham for a bit, then turn left)
    Posts
    371

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    Totally agree with Cheddars, to cook a curry of this magnitude would take a long time. You don't describe how the curry actually tasted but I would guess that it was simply undercooked, leaving you with a rawness/bittyness to the 'finished' dish?

    My first attempts at curry making we're effectively all undercooked! I have no idea how long that curry would need but we are probably talking hours of regular taste checks, etc.

    Good luck!

    Martin

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    London
    Posts
    2

    Default Thanks

    Quote Originally Posted by Martinwhynot View Post
    Totally agree with Cheddars, to cook a curry of this magnitude would take a long time. You don't describe how the curry actually tasted but I would guess that it was simply undercooked, leaving you with a rawness/bittyness to the 'finished' dish?

    My first attempts at curry making we're effectively all undercooked! I have no idea how long that curry would need but we are probably talking hours of regular taste checks, etc.

    Good luck!

    Martin

    Thanks everyone, i cooked up the curry again this morning and took your advice - frying the onions, ginger and garlic in small batches before mixing. This was a definite improvement, and got rid of 90% of the bad taste.

    There is still a bit of a bitter aftertaste which kicks in after the initial sweetness, and I think this may be attributable to the cloves... but its a step in the right direction! Whatever, I am going to do what Ferret suggests and cook in small batches. Good to know there isnt a short cut.

    Thanks again everyone, thats a lot of help.
    I posted on Real Curry Recipes so can you!

  6. #6
    Gary AM is offline Junior Member Junior Chef
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Birmingham UK
    Posts
    36

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    Hi
    Would it be possible / practical for you to cook 8 * 5 portion curries, freeze and defrost them as necessary?
    I guess it comes down to time and freezer space etc. I know when cooking for large numbers that you need large pans etc, the bigger the better so as to fry an ingredient as opposed to boiling it, for example. Which is not that easy on a 4 ring household cooker.
    Just joined and just my thoughts, hope it goes well.

    Gary

    PS
    Just read that this has already been suggested - sorry, I need new specs
    I posted on Real Curry Recipes so can you!

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