Saving You Money During National Curry Week
Did you know that we’re currently midway through National Curry Week in the UK? Whether you’re a fan of a gnarly lamb vindaloo or a much milder dish such as the ever-popular chicken tikka masala, there’s no denying that we love a good curry.
As a leading energy comparison website, we at Love Energy Savings are in the business of saving you money. We could mark National Curry Week by giving you a rundown of the best value Balti houses in our native North West (trust me, we’ve tried a lot of them), but instead we thought it would be more useful to offer tips to those frugal people who are planning to create their own spicy dishes at home.
Is Your Kitchen Set Up For Energy-Efficient Curry Cooking?
While I have been known to rustle up a mean chicken madras on occasion, I’m no Jamie Oliver. As such, it would be remiss of me to offer culinary advice when my real expertise lies in finding new energy-saving measures around the home.
Something that has intrigued me in recent years is the growing popularity of slow cookers. These are ideal for busy people who want to leave a tasty casserole or curry to steadily cook throughout the day, so that it’s ready for them when they get home from work.
But are slow cookers more efficient to use than the trusty old oven? One of the unique selling points of slow cookers - aside from the low price - is the fact that they use little more energy than a traditional light bulb. This sounds good on the face of it, but you need to remember that this particular appliance needs to be left running for anything between eight to ten hours. Would you leave your kitchen light on all day while you were at work? Didn’t think so.
The Oven Gets a Bad Reputation
If you’re looking for ways to curb your energy consumption in the kitchen, the oven is a good place to start.
According to official government statistics, published as part of a major report into domestic energy usage in 2011, cooking accounts for around three per cent of all energy use in the average home. While this has fallen from six per cent in the 1980s, it’s still an area that requires improvement.
Ovens are generally becoming more efficient, with many models using new technology to conserve their energy. One easy tip for people with electric ovens to follow is to keep an eye on the temperature as it heats up. There will usually be an alarm to inform you when the optimum temperature has been reached, but a lot of people still leave it far too long before putting their food in - wasting lots of energy in the process.
If you are planning to make a curry this week, try to use ceramic pots. These tend to hold the heat in, which means your dish will continue to cook when your oven has been switched off. The same advice applies to those who use their hobs to cook rice. If you have decent saucepans, you can turn the gas/electricity off a few minutes before your rice is finished, as the pans will hold in enough heat to complete the job.
Don’t Forget the Microwave
It’s easy to underestimate the convenience and energy efficiency of microwaves.
These usually use much less energy than a standard oven and are really handy for warming your plates before you pile your curry on to them. It should be against the law to serve curry on to a cold plate!
You don’t need me to tell you that microwaved food doesn’t always taste as nice as meals that have been cooked for a longer period in a slow cooker or standard oven, but that doesn’t mean you should dismiss this appliance out of hand.
In a nutshell, the method you choose to cook your curry will depend on your personal preference and circumstances. Those who have gone to the trouble of buying a beautiful shin of beef from their butcher should definitely be using a slow cooker, as it will produce better results, with the tender meat falling off the bone. Alternatively, workers who fancy a curry, but are on a late shift, might pick up a cheap pre-made meal from the supermarket, which can be done in less than ten minutes in the microwave.
Whatever you choose to do, always make sure you are as efficient as possible in the kitchen. If you need more advice on how to cut your energy bills or improve your energy efficiency, the experts at Love Energy Savings are more than willing to help.