Sunday, 14 April 2013

How to Thicken Gray


I am starting a new section in this blog, called "How to". This is to share very basic kitchen tips and techniques that I have picked up from elders at home and from fellow bloggers. This is intended to be a very useful learning experience for those who have just stepped into the culinary world.

There is often a necessity to thicken gravy, else it gets too runny. Especially when used as a side dish for rice varieties, the gravy should not be too runny. There are various ways to thicken gravy. We will discuss a few here: Please feel free to let me know any other methods you use.

a) Using ingredients from the gravy itself:
1. If the gravy has potatoes, mash the cooked potatoes into a fine paste and add it back. Heat the dish one more time to get the right consistency with mashed potatoes.
2. For Channa (chick-pea), take some cooked channa and grind it into a fine paste. Add it to the channa masala and bring to a boil.
3. Before making the gravy vegetable, chop one or two onions and a tomato and fry them using a tsp of oil. Allow the onion and tomato mix to cool down and then grind into a fine paste. Add this paste to the gravy just before actual cooking begins (after the fry stage).
b) Using external thickening agents after the gravy is cooked:
1. If you do not mind the smooth texture of chinese gravy, make a tsp of corn-flour with 1 tbsp of water. Add this to the gravy and bring to a boil until the gravy thickens to desired consistency.
2. For a more desi taste, add either a tsp of besan or rice-flour to 1 tbsp of water, make a paste and add to the cooked gravy. Bring the mix to a boil until the gravy thickens to desired consistency.
3. Make a paste of 2-3 tbsp of dessicated coconut and water. Grind in the blender until the coconut shreds cannot be felt. Add this coconut mix to the gravy and bring to a boil until the gravy thickens.
4. Soak 5-6 cashews in 1/4 cup of hot water. Once the water has cooled down to room temperature, grind the cashews in the water to a smooth paste. Add the cashew mix back to gravy and bring to a boil until the gravy thickens.

For the methods 3-4 in "b", remove the gravy from heat just before the desired consistency. The gravy continues to thicken as it cools down.

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