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Curry: The New Hot Ingredients

Stuck in a curry rut? Here’s a list of the must-have ingredients every curry king or queen owns.

Rattan jyoth

Rather than using paprika or heaven forefend, colouring, to get the red colour into your Rogan Josh, use rattan jyoth, the bark of a Kashmiri tree. You can order this online, or if you can’t get hold of it, use crushed beetroot instead. Never, ever, tomato.

Mangoestein/mangosteen/kokum

You can confidently expect Gwyneth Paltrow to be screaming delightedly about the benefits of this fruit shortly. Reddish or dark purple, it is known as the queen of fruits and is used to enhance potato, okra or lentil dishes, and fish or coconut based curries. Add the skins whole to the dish, but beware, they can be salty.

Dried pomegranate seeds

It is rare to eat a dish in a restaurant these days that is not studded with these little jewel-like seeds. So embrace the trend by adding dehydrated pomegranate seeds to your curries, as they lend a fantastic sweet and sour flavour. They’re also yummy in chutneys. And if you really want to show off, have a look for pomegranate molasses.

Amchur

Instead of using vinegar and lemon juice for astringency, why not try amchur, or amchoor. It’s a sour and tangy spice made of dried and powdered green mangos. It lifts chickpea dishes particularly well.

Chicken liver

Not exactly a new ingredient, but the Keralan dish chicken liver curry is rare in this country so will add a wow factor to your dinner party menu. It is a dryish dish, as the chicken livers are initially stir-fried. Good for you too – lots of iron.

Pavakka

We’re used to rich, powerful flavours from our curries, but not bitterness. Pavakka, or bitter gourd, is a great way of slicing through the richness of a meat curry. Cook it when it is green – when it turns yellow its bitterness intensifies. You can also reduce some of the bitterness by salting the gourd before you cook it.