Looking for simple tips to improve my curries made from paste. I know of a few answers I've learned, but looking for others... Thanks!

Original curry recipe:

  1. Fry tofu in oil in a non-stick pan.
  2. Bring coconut milk to a boil, add curry paste.
  3. Add tofu and any other veggies.
  4. Simmer for >= 15 minutes.
  • Is anything in particular wrong with it? – Cascabel Jan 10 '15 at 23:06
  • Not wrong per se; just looking to learn improvements. – cellepo Jan 10 '15 at 23:10
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    Hello Cellepo! We are a Q&A site, and we follow some specific rules. One of them is that questions should be always based on a concrete problem. We know that cooks love a list of random tips, but such lists just don't work with our format. So I have to close this question with the "too broad" close reason. This just means that this one question is not a good fit for us; you are still welcome to post other questions and answers as described in the help center, cooking.stackexchange.com/help. – rumtscho Jan 11 '15 at 19:36
  • In particular, feel free to post specific questions on problems you've encountered making curry and then self-answer with the solutions you found. That way, someone searching for, say, "how do I avoid drowning out the coconut flavor in my curry?" can find your tip on using thicker coconut milk. – Shog9 Jan 11 '15 at 20:20

If available, add Kaffir Lime leaves to the coconut milk. They go a surprisingly long way in adding a more authentic Thai taste. It adds more sweet & savory flavor; not like something like Bay leaves at all.

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Use a thicker coconut milk (like 'Chef's Choice' brand). Cheaper brands are less thick, and do so by just having more water.

Thicker coconut milk also is more intensely flavored (including sweeter).

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Add a tiny bit of fish sauce (depending on how strictly vegetarian you are). It really adds a little something to a curry.

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  • Good idea, I'll experiment with that, thanks. I'll keep a tongue out to make sure it doesn't add too much saltiness. – cellepo Jan 11 '15 at 17:01
  • @cellepo Often it'll be too fishy before it's too salty. – Cascabel Jan 11 '15 at 19:28
  • @cellepo In my experience, very little is needed. Just 5-10 drops will give you the enough flavour for a curry for 4. – Johanna Jan 11 '15 at 22:39

Toast the curry paste in oil before adding to coconut milk. Toasting brings out the flavor of the spices in the paste, just like the classic technique of toasting spices themselves.

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Fry the tofu ideally in a cast iron pan. Otherwise anything but non-stick is also more preferable (i.e: steel). That helps caramelize the surface more, which non-sticks don't really do at all (they just singe).

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  • You can brown the surface plenty in a non stick pan. If by singe you mean it's burning... maybe you're not using enough oil? Also, your question asks how to make the curry taste better, there's not really any indication the tofu texture is an issue. – Cascabel Jan 10 '15 at 23:07
  • Tofu caramelizing versus not caramelizing adds flavor. – cellepo Jan 10 '15 at 23:11
  • Okay, sure, the question doesn't rely suggest the tofu flavor is a problem either, since as I said you can do just fine in a nonstick pan. – Cascabel Jan 10 '15 at 23:14
  • Browning is different in a non-stick versus not pan. For instance, see cooking.stackexchange.com/a/3124/32654 – cellepo Jan 10 '15 at 23:14
  • I've made very well caramelized fried tofu in a nearly new nonstick pan. It doesn't have to stick to work. (And you don't want it to stick enough to make a fond or anything, you're trying to leave the nice brown bits on the tofu, not stuck to the pan.) – Cascabel Jan 10 '15 at 23:16

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