The week runs from October 10 - 16 this year, so there is plenty of time for your chef to cook up something different for the specials board.
Inapub visited a masterclass with Cyrus Todiwala last week, to get some ideas from the Mumbai-born chef proprietor of Café Spice Namasté and celebrity television cook.
Meanwhile Vegetarian Express has teamed up with chef Paul Gayler MBE, to create six new National Curry Week inspired recipes. More info below.
Cyrus at his masterclass offered to competition winners by Kerrymaid
1. Cook your rice in the oven
According to Cyrus, the key to perfectly cooked rice comes from frying off your onions and spices, then adding the rice and just enough water, bringing it to the boil and leaving it in the oven at 140 degrees for 10 minutes in a lidded pan.
This is because if you cook it on the hob the heat is coming from one direction, whereas in the oven the rice will cook though evenly.
2. Talk about health benefits
“Let food be your medicine and medicine be your food,” says Cyrus. Indian cooking is all about using herbs and spices which benefit health. For example turmeric has fantastic antiseptic qualities, while chillies can boost metabolism. It’s another line for your marketing, and another USP to tweet about.
3. Soak chillies overnight and blend them for an easy-to-use paste
For an authentic tasting curry, soak red chillies overnight then blend them up into a paste. According to Cyrus, ginger & garlic, red chilli or cumin & coriander paste are the three key pastes to help you create nearly any Indian recipe.
4. For safety, don’t be afraid to use long life cream
If an expert in Indian cuisine like Cyrus can use long life cream, so can you.
He says: “You can do all the same recipes with long life cream as you can with fresh, and it reduces the risk of sending your customers to the bathroom very quickly…”
5. Wait for your spices and oils to separate
This is the key to ensuring your spice is cooked properly and to avoid that burning sensation in the back of your throat when eating. When your fats and spices start to separate, you know they are cooked. Then you can add the rest of your ingredients.
6. Give your puddings some spice
Cyrus suggested adding rose, cardamom, nutmeg and vanilla to your milk when making bread and butter pudding or crème brulee. (After trying this ourselves we are definitely convinced, your customers will love it.)
7. Go veggie
According to Will Matier, managing director at Vegetarian Express: “British diners are becoming more and more adventurous when it comes to food choices and are looking to try something different when they eat out. In fact, 60 per cent of people would be encouraged to choose a vegetarian dish if interesting ingredients were used.”
8. Curry week doesn’t have to mean curry and rice
Chef Paul Gayler MBE has created a Spinach & Paneer Gnocchi with Kasuri Curry for something a bit different to add to your menu.
9. Think about drink pairing
Drinking lager with a curry is one way to provoke an upset tummy, according to Cyrus. Yet us brits love to pair booze with food. So how about upselling some carefully paired ales, cocktails or wines?