The recipes here were compiled from a cookery course I attended in 1992. All the recipes are reasonably easy to make, and give very good, authentic Indian "home-cooked" results. I stress this because if you are looking for a curry "just like the local restaurant does", then you need entirely different methods from those contained here (not to mention a large freezer and/or a monumental appetite for Indian food). Perhaps I should do another compilation of these "restaurant-style" meals?
In order to make any of these dishes successfully, then it is necessary to get to grips with a few basic principles. Following these easy rules will give good results every time, and will make the difference between an authentic Indian meal and the drab yet over-spiced stew usually associated with the home-curry;
Take the time to buy fresh spices and make up batches of the masala recipes. These are worth there weight in gold, and are much better than the pre-mixed curry powders available in the shops (which are usually old, are rarely roasted before mixing). Buy new spices and mix new batches of masala regularly. It really is worth the effort, and the spices themselves are cheap enough to discard once they have lost their zest.
It is vital that when frying the powdered spices at the beginning of most of these recipes, care is taken not to let them burn. They should be fried just long enough to let them release their oils into the pan. Burnt spices make ruined curries.
Most of these recipes require the gentle frying of onions to start them off. This is vital to the finished dish, and should not be rushed. Patience is the key here - allow plenty of time for the onions to cook properly.
The secret of including yoghurt into a curry is to beat it thoroughly beforehand, then to introduce it a little at a time, stirring it in as you go. Follow this procedure and the yoghurt will not separate.
These dishes use a lot of oil. This is essential to the cooking of the onions and spices, and to the eventual consistency of the dish.. If you use non-stick pans then the quantities of oil could be reduced to about ¾ the amount in the recipe. Do not skimp on the oil - if you are worried about cholesterol or on a diet then cook something else! In most dishes, excess oil can be spooned from the curry prior to serving.