These expert tips will help you achieve the perfect balance of flavours.
16 May 2013 - 11:38 AM  UPDATED 6 Sep 2013 - 9:31 AM

Coconut milk/cream

It doesn't take that much effort to get the beautiful sweet mellow taste of fresh coconut. Try and source a coconut grater from an Indian shop or grate it yourself. Crack open a coconut, prize the meat from the shell and peel the brown skin away. Pop small chunks into the food processor or grate on a sharp grater.

Cooking with coconut milk or cream

It's better not to bring coconut milk or cream back to the boil after adding it to a dish as it will curdle.

Clarified butter (ghee)

To make clarified butter gently melt unsalted butter over low heat. After time the butter will form three distinct layers - the foam on top (which is skimmed off and discarded), the milk solids (which will sink to the bottom) and the clarified butter will be left in the middle.

Roasting/toasting spices

Whole or ground spices can be toasted. While the toasting process is the same for both, ground spices may toast slightly faster than whole. Simply place a dry skillet over medium heat. When the pan gets hot, pour in the desired amount of spice.

How to store spices

Spices will generally be at their best for up to a month, if stored correctly. Store spices in an airtight container in a cool, dark place. Humidity, light and heat will cause herbs and spices to lose their flavor more quickly.