Curry regularly tops the charts in terms of Brits’ favourite dishes and has done for many years. But diners have moved on from the comfort of Chicken Tikka Masala and are becoming much more adventurous. They’re turning up the heat and demanding new flavours and ideas, so how can chefs adapt to these evolving trends in the various sectors of the foodservice industry? Here, six chefs get hot under the collar and share their thoughts and ideas…

Cyrus Todiwala OBE, TV chef and chef proprietor of Café Spice Namasté Remember that powders are delicate and easy to destroy when cooking so take care not to singe or burn them, or to over use any one. Best is to make a thin cream consistency paste and then pour in to avoid immediate singeing. This also helps to alleviate the flavours and bring the composition closer and better, and helps in cohering the sauce in a richer and more classy finish. If you do not use too much spice store your tubs in the cold room if you have one. Spices work with anything so long as you do not over do it nor think that everything goes into everything. Try and spice up your own cooking to start with, small changes like adding roasted cumin seeds partially crushed to roasts and sauces for. With lamb try using star anise and cassia bark when grilling or roasting in whole or crushed form and see which one works. Besides crushed peppercorns, beef likes to work with red chilli flakes, tamarind pulp, coriander seeds crushed and star anise too. Vegetables like to be treated differently. Fennel seeds, aniseed, black mustard seeds, coriander and cumin are all good. Aubergine works very well with most spices and if handled well will give you amazing taste pleasures.

Eimer Owens, country sales manager for Santa Maria Foodservice Santa Maria Foodservice recently surveyed 500 UK school children, aged 8 to 16 (years 4 to 11), to see what they want to eat at school. When asked what they want to see in their school meals, 61% want spicier curries, 56% want new, different flavours and over 40% want more interesting food, and more spicy food generally. Dry spice mixes offer a healthy, costeffective alternative to ready-to-use sauces. Not only do they provide a host of authentic flavours, they help schools to meet their scratch cooking requirements. Make a quick and easy Kerala curry by combining Santa Maria’s Kerala spice mix with chicken, vegetables and a dash of coconut milk to stock to keep it lighter. Appeal to older students looking for added spice with a red Thai curry.

Mridula Baljekar, best-selling author of 27 Indian cookery books Cumin and coriander in whole form or ground are the two spices which can be used together in most dishes, but the quantity of each spice is also important. As a general guide, the Indian cook will always use more coriander for its mild, mellow flavour, but cumin on the other hand is added in a smaller measure as it is more pungent, but essential in enhancing the overall taste and flavour. The everyday spice turmeric, now declared a superfood, lies in the heart of Indian cuisine, but knowing when and how to add it to your curry is crucial. Excessive heat will ruin the colour and taste of turmeric; it should be added along with other ground spices on medium-low heat and cook for a minute or two so that the raw taste of the spices can be eliminated. No thickening agents are used in Indian cooking; the thickness of the sauce comes from slow cooking the onion until it the original quantity is reduced to about a quarter, tomatoes, tomato puree and nut pastes.

Ben Bartlett, chef and Lion brand ambassador Indian food and curry can be a healthy option, as long as operators stay away from creamy, buttery recipes like Korma, Tikka Masala, Pasanda and Butter Chicken. Swap the ghee for oil, and you can make delicious, exciting tomato-based curries like Rogan Josh and Jalfrezi at less than 500 calories a portion. Curried fish dishes are a staple across India, but they’re only just starting to take off in the UK. They’re delicious, and a great way of adding value to cheaper white fish. Keralan fish curry is a great place to start – creamy, rich and packed with spice, it’s a guaranteed winner. Alternatively, marinate cubes of salmon in yoghurt and mint dressing and some tikka spices, then team with slices of pepper to create a delicious Indian-inspired fish kebab that’s great with rice, or served on its own as a starter.

Jude Krit Sangsida, executive chef, Busaba If you love the curry flavour but want more bite, curry pastes are also a great way to spice up noodles for example. We have done this with our new Patpong chicken noodles which uses red curry paste and a little coconut milk. Or just add a spoon of curry paste to the wok and stir-fry your favourite vegetables, and you’ll get the full flavour with the crunch.

Roy Shortland, development chef for Uncle Ben’s ready-to-use sauce and rice foodservice products A themed menu or day in schools will provide children with variation and inspire them to learn about different tastes and cultures – whilst providing the opportunity to try something new. Serve Madras meatball skewers served with fresh salad, for example. Whisk Korma sauce with mayonnaise before adding to long grain rice to make a Kedgeree base, or make chicken tikka pittas, with chicken and fresh salad leaves.

Tilda has come up with some top tips for those caterers looking to develop their curry offering:

• Look after your rice: Add a few tablespoons of oil and a teaspoon of salt before boiling to ensure each grain separates.
• Don’t be afraid of the fat: Lean meats tend to dry the curry so don’t be averse to mixed cuts.
• Prepare your meat: Marinate your cuts in spices for around 30 minutes before cooking.
 Break bread not fish: Season and cook your fish separately before adding it to your curry to ensure it won’t fragment. • Keep you herbs fresh: Wrapping them in a wet muslin cloth bag will help to maintain them.
 Remember your cream: Always keep coconut milk or cream handy and add when needed to ensure the sauce is rich and thick.
 Get deep: Choose a large, deep pan that will let you fry quickly while also giving you room to mix and splash your sauces.
 Don’t lose your juices: Cook your meats on a high heat initially to seal in liquids before reducing the temperature until they are tender.
• Watch the salt: It can force out juices and impede the browning of meat so don’t use salt until midway through cooking.