The Science Behind Why Leftover Curry Tastes Better.

Photo by charlesdeluvio on Unsplash Butter chicken can be make from a leftover rotisserie chicken.
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When chef Almay Jordaan remembers the delicious leftover curries she used to get stuck into as a kid growing up in South Africa, she feels nostalgic. Even when her mum’s turmeric-heavy, Cape Malay-style curries were days-old, they always tasted terrific, or so it seemed.
“My mum always cooked curries that were kept in the fridge and then served in two-days time,” Jordaan,
tells SBS. “The curry would just get better with time, so my mum would make enough to feed us for a week and we’d eat leftover curry for days.”
 Achuta  says his Indian family lived by similar leftover curry guidelines.  So leftovers were always either eaten or reinvented to become a different dish.
Achuta demonstrates the skill of cooking once and eating twice on the show by using a rotisserie chicken to make a dry Indian pepper chicken fry with pickled onions. “It’s a way to use up leftover chicken.”
The young chef then uses pepper chicken fry leftovers to make kothu parotta by adding chopped up parotta. “[You can use] anything you have leftover around your fridge, so it could be eggs or it could be a chicken curry.”
One of the most famous ways to use leftovers in a curry, Liaw says, is to make Butter chicken.
This dish originated in Northern India as a way to use up tandoori chicken,” Liaw says. The host adds that you can also repurpose butter chicken leftovers to create a butter chicken biryani.

The scientific truth behind the leftover curry
All three cooks clearly swear by the same culinary mantra. “Cooking once and eating twice is economical,” says Jordaan. “Plus curry leftovers are always tastier.”
It turns out that the household belief about curry leftovers tasting better is actually a fact.
Food science commentators cite a number of reasons to explain why.
According to BBC Science Focus, the collagen contained in a fresh meat curry will continue to break down for half an hour after the curry stops cooking.
Once the dish cools down, gelatinous collagen material forms a jelly-like substance around chunks of meat. Various flavour compounds get trapped in the jelly so when the dish is reheated, the gelatine melts to create a smooth mouth-feel.
It’s a similar thing for starches, which also gelatinise. Once cool, molecules in the starch rearrange themselves and trap flavour compounds from the surrounding sauce.
In addition, when a curry cools down its flavour and aroma compounds continue to mingle together to produce new flavour molecules.
So if you want to improve the taste of your homemade curry, adopt the ‘leftover’ wisdom of Jordaan, Achuta and Liaw. Let your cooked curry marinate in the fridge overnight and re-purpose the leftovers.
Cook once and eat twice.
A day-old curry will have a better taste and boast subtle new flavours. Just don’t leave the curry in the fridge too long and be aware of food safety practices and expiration dates.
“Ultimately everyone complains that they are time-poor and groceries are so expensive now,” says Jordaan. “So this tip is the ultimate hack to solve both of those problems.
“By eating a curry the next day and using leftovers, you’re going to get the most flavour and value from your dish. Hopefully, it’ll also feel like you’re doing less work for the same amount of effort too.”
Source: SBS
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