I've just made a tasteless chicken and veg curry. I have put various spices in, but it's still bland. It's cooled down now and I was going to freeze it tonight as I've made it to take camping next weekend, so will be heated up again then.

My question is - can I save it now? Can I add more spices to cold curry now, mix it and then freeze it? If so, what spices will give it more flavour?

4 Answers 4


I have no idea how you're going to reheat your curry, but if we assume it's in a pot over the campfire, you have a few options:

  1. Bring spices with you, bloom them in oil, then add your pre-made curry to reheat.

  2. Make and cook a spice paste ahead of time (or buy one), as it won't have the 'raw' spice qualities that using a curry powder will. You can then stir it into the curry to taste as you heat it up. If you're using a curry roux, you may need to add a little extra liquid, as it'll act as a thickener.

  3. Bring along chutneys, Indian relish, or similar things that people can mix-in to add flavor. (I like the 'hot' chutneys for adding flavor. Sweet chutneys are better for mellowing out a chutney than adding flavor on its own)

  4. Serve it over heavily seasoned rice. Dice up some carrots and onions, cook them in oil with a (possibly heavy) pinch of salt, add any spice powders or seeds (tumeric, mustard seeds, whatever else you like in your curry), add the rice, let it toast a little bit like for risotto, then add your liquid and steam as you normally would. I'll sometimes also throw in a cinnamon stick or a few cloves in just before I add the liquid. But count the cloves and warn people, as eating under poor lighting conditions can result in surprises.

I wouldn't suggest reheating your curry in advance; camping typically suggests food storage without refrigeration, and you often have hungry people not waiting for food to fully heat back through. Because of this, it's best not to keep reheating / cooling off food unless you're going to bring it to a full boil each time, and that could start turning the meat and vegetables into mush.

  • 2
    Upvoted for point 3. Sealed jars of chutney will keep as long as you like at any temperature, and a proper preserved chutney (acidic) will keep at least a few days open in a cool place (how long is a matter for personal judgement taking into account ambient temperatures).
    – Chris H
    Commented Sep 17, 2018 at 13:53
  • 2
    +1 for counting the cloves (speak from experience).
    – RedSonja
    Commented Sep 18, 2018 at 11:03
  • @RedSonja : and related, always count bay leaves and don't use ones that are really torn up, as it sucks to that half a leaf in a pot of tomato sauce
    – Joe
    Commented Sep 19, 2018 at 14:39

Adding spiced to a cold curry isn't going to do much for you, you need heat to activate them and draw out the flavors. I would take the spices with you and add them once the curry is heated up. Try some Garam Masala and don't forget salt.

  • Thanks. I'm not sure how easy it'll be to take some etc I was hoping I could add them before freezing, then they'd activate once defrosted and reheat :/
    – Buttoon
    Commented Sep 17, 2018 at 6:35
  • That might work, they could stick together and get claggy though. I don't like adding curry spices to cold curry because they often end up with an uncooked taste to them.
    – GdD
    Commented Sep 17, 2018 at 7:51
  • @GdD : for that reason, I'd recommend heating up the spices before adding the cold curry.
    – Joe
    Commented Sep 17, 2018 at 12:09
  • garam masala doesn't add heat only aroma.
    – Abdussamad
    Commented Mar 16, 2019 at 20:01

Reheat your curry. Add the desired spices until it gives you a satisfactory taste then freeze it for your upcoming camiping trip.

  • 2
    Depending on the style of curry, that can go wrong - some depend much on the spices being cooked in oil or at least in the rich, undiluted sauce. A thin, lean curry could easily turn cardboardy, harsh or bitter if you just cook powdered spices in it. Whole spices are YET another matter - some (bay leaves, cinnamon sticks, star anise) will work cooked in a broth, others (whole cumin or coriander) will need heat above the boiling point of water to release the flavor. Commented Sep 17, 2018 at 19:25

As someone suggested, bloom some spices in oil - you could do this now, in advance, and store the spiced oil (in the fridge or freezer), to mix it in later when reheating. You could also mix the spiced oil in now, before freezing the whole.

Also, you might want to season it with more sugar, salt, and acid (vinegar or lime juice). If this is a vietnamese/thai/chinese/japanese... (as opposed to indian) style curry, also consider adding soy or fish sauce or even MSG.

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