Real Cider Vinegar is the missing curry ingredient!
The true spice notes of good curries do not spring into life without the tang of good Cider Vinegar.
The Covid 19 lockdowns have led many of us to upgrade out culinary skills, and the area of curry making has not been neglected. There has been a huge boost in companies selling curry kits, both of ingredients and dry spice mixtures. What they are often neglecting to do is advise cooks to add a good quality ‘fruit’ vinegar.
Vinegary tartness is as important an ingredient to Indian cooking as chilli or spice. Nearly all genuine Indian cooks call for the addition of fruit vinegar to their recipes and a generous slosh of real Cider Vinegar will make all the difference to your efforts!
The famous India Vindaloo is cooked with plenty of vinegar (four or five tablespoonsful)! The name Vindaloo comes from a Portuguese dish called "carne de vinha d'alhos", meaning 'meat with vinegar & garlic'.
The creation of the Vindaloo
The Portuguese colonised South Western India in 1505 and "carne de vinha d'alhos", was a popular way of cooking meat and using up wine that had soured on the voyage. The dish was embraced by local Indian cooking and the Vindaloo with spices was created (it doesn’t necessarily have to be super-hot).
Goan cuisine also uses plenty of vinegar.
Throughout India, vinegars are made from many fruits but full-juice cider vinegar is the best option for British cooks.
For decades cooks have debated the importance of particular masalas or spices to different regions of India without realising the equal importance of the souring agents and vinegars that accompany them. Often, the vinegar is added to dry spices and mixed into a paste before being added to the pan.
It has become normal to squeeze lemons or limes onto Balti dishes and the citrus juice goes a long way to clarifying the different flavours, but the effect disappears a lot quicker than if vinegar has been included in the recipe.
"To boost our immune system it is recommended that we eat from at least thirty different vegetable sources every week. The small amounts of trace nutrients found in spices and cider vinegar will add to, and complement, your plant based intake."
Phytonutrients and the immune system
The spice mixtures that flavour our favourite curries are packed full of unusual nutrients and compounds that all contribute to boost our immune system, fight inflammation and repair damaged cells.
Spices are made from plant leaves, seeds and roots and the plant chemicals they contain are known as phytonutrients.
Real cider vinegar also provides a phytonutrients boost, but it has to be pure cider apple juice, slow fermented vinegar (see side panel) – supermarket cider vinegar will not do!
To boost our immune system it is recommended that we eat from at least thirty different vegetable sources every week. The small amounts of trace nutrients found in spices and cider vinegar will add to, and complement, your plant based intake.