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Feeding the five thousand

(22 Posts)
PigletJohn Tue 02-Dec-14 11:45:21

I foolishly agreed to cook 30 portions of curry, in a few days time, for a voluntary group I am involved with. I don't usually do that.

I shall be busy most of the day, and have it in mind to do a mild/sweet and a hotter/brown, and to cook diced chicken breast in oil, and two cauldrons of sauce the day before, chill them separately, then add the meat to the base, re-heat and simmer in the hall kitchen in the evening. This does mean that the meat will not be (mostly) cooked with the other ingredients, but I think it will be easier to chill and I will be less likely to poison them all. Does that make sense?

I intend to cook a cauldron of Basmati rice shortly before serving. Possibly I could enliven the rice a bit.

I am not an expert on curries. I was thinking something fruity for the mild one, rather than just a korma but have not yet browsed for recipes. Any suggs or comments on my plan?

TheSpottedZebra Tue 02-Dec-14 20:30:35

I think that fruit and meat is quite a divisive thing, as is levels of hotness. So I'd probably want to play it safer, and have one blander and the other hotter, and neither with fruit!

TheSpottedZebra Tue 02-Dec-14 20:32:12

You'd be ok cooking it all together -ie with chicken - then reheating the next day, as long as you are able to cool it properly and keep at the right temp until reheating.

PigletJohn Tue 02-Dec-14 21:25:52

I'm sure I've had sweet and fruity curries claiming to be Malaysian though.

I'm currently looking at a Kashmiri Masala recipe and a Thai Red Curry recipe, which looks like the hot one.

I think I want to avoid chicken korma as it is so weedy, but chicken tikka masala is said to be Britain's most popular food, and I could get a ready-made paste if it will help.

They will both be pig pans, so I thought chilling the meat separately would be smaller and quicker to cool. Looking at the recipes, though, it seems I should cook the meat with everything else. I was going to lightly brown the diced chicken in oil first, is that wrong?l

EmNetta Tue 02-Dec-14 23:04:45

I usually fry chicken in larger pieces first, dicing later when cool. If you'd like to make really special rice, Lidl are selling the classic saffron for less than £1. (I've just bought 4, first time ever as usually just too expensive).

PigletJohn Tue 02-Dec-14 23:14:00

good tip about the chicken. That should prevent it making the pan watery too.

Can I tart up ordinary Basmati? I have a fair amount of spices but no saffron. I will be making a lot, and it comes out of the group's funds..

PigletJohn Tue 02-Dec-14 23:31:32

I just had a look at Pilau rice, I see that has a pinch of Saffron. Is that what you had in mind? And no need for Turmeric? Or have you a recipe for a Special Rice?

I remember now I used to work with an ex Seafarer who was always slicing bananas into his curry on the works canteen director's dining room.

EmNetta Tue 02-Dec-14 23:54:12

Pinch of saffron in pilau rice is not noticeable, the real threads soaked in warm water and added to rice pan will not only alter the taste, but turn it bright golden colour, which I think is why the more economical turmeric is used. Haven't checked quantities, but would guess at two packs for £1.18p (today's Lidl price) so not extravagent.

Bananas in catering quantities are likely to turn brown, as well as delaying food service, but probably good at home, and I think a simple chutney or raita would be better.

I think it's Mary Berry (BBC Food) who has a recipe for
Jewelled Rice, which did sound special but I've not tried it.

PigletJohn Wed 03-Dec-14 00:02:57

I have a trade supplier who sells 2.6 jars of mango chutney for a few pounds, they have KTC and KIZ, no idea if they're any good.
Also Sharwoods at four times the price.

All about 50% sugar 46% mangoes, except that Sharwoods has 41% mango yet costs more.

At home I use the Aldi one.

PigletJohn Wed 03-Dec-14 00:03:14


EmNetta Wed 03-Dec-14 00:24:09

Sounds like too much chutney, unless really cheap, so I'd ask manager at Aldi if they can give a reduction for charity, possibly in return for free advertising.

LucidCamel Wed 03-Dec-14 01:26:47

Do you have to use chicken? If you're cooking for 30 people odds are at least one will be vegetarian, and curries are a goldmine for vegetarian food and I can talk you through it and it's cheaper and less likely to poison anyone.

If you have to use chicken I recommend not browning it, cooling it then poaching it a day or so later if I'm honest.

antimatter Wed 03-Dec-14 06:52:24

How about making chicken this way and then just chopping it and adding to the sauce? I've done my curry this way in the past.
TBH - use some sauce for making chickpeas curry - just make sure it has 24 hours or overnight in the fridge to develop more flavour. I always use canned chickpeas for that.

bigbluestars Wed 03-Dec-14 06:58:24

If you are concerned about it being too much work I would stick to just one curry. Bulk it out with chickpeas potatoes or mushroom. Serve with rice, either chapatis or some pickles a big jar of lime pickle goes a long way and can heat things up for those that like it spicy.

PigletJohn Wed 03-Dec-14 08:19:35

thanks for all the ideas!

I am calculating as 100g chicken per person, so about 3kg and other ingredients in proportion. I can't visualise how big the pan would be if it was all one curry. There are some catering-size vessels in the hall kitchen, but I was planning to prepare, cook and chill at home.

Will look for a lime pickle as well as the mango chutney, and maybe a bowl of finely chopped onions

lucid, what do you mean by "cooling it then poaching it a day or so later?"

bigblue. you mean Bombay potatoes or something like that?

there will also be a cauldron of beef chilli, and I think a veggie though not sure what it is, and some baked potatoes..

PigletJohn Wed 03-Dec-14 08:21:13

(we are catering for 60 so my 30 portions of curry are meant to be about half)

EmNetta Wed 03-Dec-14 10:17:21

Antimatter's chickpeas mean a good vegetarian option, and have you thought about having an assistant to arrange side-dishes etc? Much easier with two people.

Elysianfields Wed 03-Dec-14 10:25:35

I would be concerned about partially cooking the chicken, cooling then reheating - a recipe for food poisoning. If you cook it the day before you need to make sure it is cooked thoroughly, cooled fast then reheated thoroughly the next day.

Would roasted chicken work? if you roast in a pot then the meat stays very moist, shred off the meat when cool and add to the sauce. That way you can use whole chickens rather then expensive breast.

antimatter Wed 03-Dec-14 10:26:16

In fact I am being so hands off - most of the time now I use this mumsnet recipe for tomato sauce, just separately fry some onions, add some mild or madras curry powder to it (but you can add individual spices if you prefer), let it get to the point where I smell its fragrance (important as powder spices aren't roasted), add some tomato sauce and salt
then chickpeas and cook for at least 20 min, preferably leaving it overnight to develop better flavour.

This method allows you to break the whole process into manageable chunks and even freeze sauce in advance if necessary and then assemble the dish.

Mrsbaconandbeans Wed 03-Dec-14 11:12:26

To make the rice more interesting you can stir through zest of limes and black pepper once cooked/drained . It's amazing grin and so simple

canny1234 Thu 04-Dec-14 09:58:30

Do a coconut Thai curry with chicken.Just make it mild and leave extra chilli sauce out.Curries are always best made the day before and then left in the fridge overnight.We do a big pot of curry for boxing day normally for 20+ ( usually Malaysian Beef Rendang or chicken curry).A big crock pot of curry would be fine ( enough for lots of small portions).Potato and pea curry is also easy to make.We never make curry with fruit in!
Rice is also best served plain.Keep it simple!

LucidCamel Fri 05-Dec-14 02:35:40

am hunkered under a duvet with a teething cold ridden 2yo, so quoting is an issue, but cooking diced chicken in oil, cooling and reheating in a sauce later is a bad idea, sorry. You either should do all the cooking on the day or come up with a new plan.

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