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Freezing Curry

Asked by Philli7. Answered on 29th January 2011

Full question

Hi, just want to say Kitchen is my favourite of Nigella's books all the tips on leftovers, freeze and make ahead. Its Perfect! Anyway I find myself making things in advance and freezing much more for thoose days when I want good food but too tired to make it. What I would like to know is how sucessfully can you freeze curry? Most that I make have cream or coconut cream in the sauce. That way a meal is as easy as defrosting the curry and a fresh pot of rice. Many Thanks

Our answer

Generally stew-type dishes such as curries freeze well as there is plenty of liquid to cover the meat and vegetables and this reduces the risk of freezer burn (where the food dries out at the edges). Tomato and stock based curries freeze particularly well.

For curries containing coconut milk the results can be slightly variable. Coconut milk frozen by itself can separate slightly when thawed, it is still fine to use but may look slightly grainy. If coconut milk is used in a curry sauce then generally it should freeze without any major problems as the other ingredients will help to stabilise the milk a bit but there is always a risk it will split slightly when thawed - the risk increases if the coconut milk is a high proportion of sauce ingredients and also the length of time in the freezer. Again it is fine to eat but may have a slightly grainy texture.

If double cream (heavy cream)is used in the curry then it will freeze well. However for lower fat single (light) cream or yogurt we would not recommend freezing as these ingredients are very likely to split when defrosted or on reheating - you should reheat thawed food until piping hot and lower fat dairy ingredients tend to split when heated to this level. Instead we would suggest you freeze the curry without the cream or yogurt and stir them in after the curry has been reheated.

Freeze the curries in appropriate portions in airtight boxes. It is a good idea to add a label to the box with contents and date and we would suggest not freezing for more than 3 months.

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