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Working on the basis that fat is flavour, I generally don't skim any excess fat/oil from my dishes. Sometimes though, it separates out when the dish is served ruining the presentation.

It happens over a wide range of dishes, but the most common are curries and casseroles.

How can I prevent this?

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  • I think you need to be more specific to get any useful answers. Which recipe have that problem of fat separating from sauce during presentation? (In my experience this separation often happens when putting leftovers in the fridge but it usually remixes on its own when heated)
    – quarague
    Mar 24 at 9:53
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    Fat is flavor up to a point, but you'll reach a point where it makes it greasy. If there's tons of extra oil you're probably there.
    – GdD
    Mar 24 at 19:49
  • @quarague, it happens over a wide range of dishes, but the most common are curries and casseroles.
    – Greybeard
    Mar 24 at 22:34

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For a curry, I'd say it's 'by design'. You can stir it last minute, but the glossy sheen of ghee on the top is a part of the experience, imo.

For casseroles, stews, etc You could add a little thickener - flour or cornflower. Flour can either go in at the start, during the frying stage if there is one, or added later as a slurry. It will benefit from 30 mins cooking in time, at least, though bear in mind it will lose some of its thickness over time unless there is a concurrent reduction of overall liquid levels.
Cornflour slurry can be added just a couple of minutes before the end. It suffers much more from thinning if cooked for a long time.
With both of these, if you add just a little, you can get some emulsifying before noticeable thickening occurs.

Both of these methods will reduce the glossiness of your dish as it emulsifies the fats. My personal preference for something that needs the glossiness as part of the finished appearance - such as a ragu/bolognese sauce - is to use reduction rather than thickening/emulsifier.

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  • For the American reader, "cornflour" is "corn starch". Maybe everyone else already knows this, but it confused the heck out of me the first time I read a recipe with "cornflour" in it. (In the US "corn flour" (two words) is something more like masa harina, which is not something I would think to use when thickening a stew or sauce). Mar 26 at 14:32

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