Just a little bit of advice today. In Wembley and Brick Lane in London and other Asian areas across Britain you can find really useful stainless steel spice tins with small little cups – usually 8. Indian cookery is much easier, much faster, much better and ‘proper’ as my mum would want it to be. You fill each cup with different powdered or whole spices and seeds that are used to make various dishes. Then as you cook you have them all in front of you, you can adjust the quantities and feel like an artist with her/his palate.
I made one up and took it with me on Saturday night as a present to the fantastic journalist and even more fantastic cook, Zoe Williams who had invited us to dinner. I put in the following:
Turmeric, crushed chillies, cumin, mustard and fenugreek seeds, a mix of ground coriander and cumin powder- half and half- and in a separate cup, garam masala, and finally, some whole cloves, cardamom and cinnamon sticks. It looked beautiful. The boxes can be bought for under a tenner. I also have a second one for rarer spices like mango powder, fennel, powdered pomegranate, citrus acid and other strange and mysterious stuff. But really, for most curries you only really need the basics. You can make your own with a biscuit tin and little pots if you like. Having all you need in one container will transform the way you cook Indian. And it will make you feel like a pro.