There’s nothing worse than preparing a fresh batch of curry, only to find it is incorrectly seasoned. A strong salty taste can ruin your dish. Don’t worry. If you wonder how to fix salty curry, here’s the solution. Today I go through 9 great techniques to make your curry taste less salty. Let’s jump right in.
Fixing Salty Curry | The Quick Answer
The best way to fix overly salty curry is to dilute it until the ratios are correct. Adding liquid will reduce the salty taste to a tolerable level. Another great trick is to add a starch element to your curry. This could be potato, but a small cup of rice often soaks up the excess salt too!
Too much salt is never a good thing, and aside from making curry unpalatable, it can also be bad for your health.
If you don’t want to add potato or rice and don’t want to create a huge portion of curry, there are other ways to fix salty curry.
Below, you’ll find reasons for your curry being too salty, along with my top 9 salty curry ‘hacks’ for better-tasting curry…
Why Is My Curry Too Salty?
Curry overwhelmingly salty? Take a quick peek at my checklist below to see if you can identify any of the possible causes. Once you know why your curry is salty, you’ll know how to fix it!
We’ve all been there.
The recipe calls for a pinch, and you add a teaspoon. It’s easily done!
When making BIR curry, the list of spices is often extensive, and it is easy to lose track of what you have added and what you have not.
The key is to be organized. I normally have a bit of a system.
I put ingredients to be added on the left when cooking, and once they have been added, I move the pots over to the right. That way, I can keep an eye on what is in my curry sauce and what is still to come.
Poor Measurement and Guesswork
If you are in a rush, it can be quite easy to add excessive quantities of ingredients.
There is often a temptation to ignore accurate measurements and ‘tip’ spices ‘freestyle’ into your curry.
This can be a huge error and lead to a curry disaster with salt.
When adding salt to curry, here’s my advice…
Go a little at a time. Remember, you can always add more, but once it is in, you can’t easily take it out…
But that said, with my tips below, fixing salty curry is actually pretty easy.
If you are browsing online curry recipes, you’ll occasionally stumble across homemade dishes and blogs.
And here’s the thing…
Often these recipes are incorrect and haven’t actually been made by whoever has written them.
We are looking at you, Allrecipes…
Sure, you might be able to fix a salty curry recipe when you make the dish again, but that’s no good if you’ve got dinner guests arriving in 10 minutes.
By that point, it’s already too late.
It pays to read the recipe well and see if the salt level suggested looks sensible.
If the salt seems excessive, it probably is.
This is a big one, and I’ve saved the best until last.
Individual items in a curry recipe often have a small amount of salt or seasoning.
These little additions of salt soon add up!
So, we’ve identified why there is too much salt. But you are really here to find out how to fix salty curry. Here are 9 great ways to get that salt down to a manageable level.
How to Fix Salty Curry | 9 Techniques for Success
Below you’ll find ways to fix salty curry, some are more effective than others, and they all have their own particular pros and cons. Here’s how to do it.
1. Calculate Your Ratios to Deintensify Salty Tastes
- It’s guaranteed to work
- It’s easy to do
- It only works before you cook your curry
Often, recipes will have 2 or even 4 servings. But you don’t want to cook a curry for that many people. The mistake people often make is failing to correctly proportion the ingredients of their dish to allow for reduced portion size.
Here’s the answer.
It involves ratios.
Whatever you divide the portions by, divide the recipe by.
So, if you are making half as many portions, divide all the ingredients by two. This, of course, includes any salt.
2. Add Dairy to Fix Salty Curry
- It’s an easy addition
- It really works to fix salty curry
- You might want dairy-free curry
- It does affect the flavour
- Dairy can ‘split’ and curdle in a hot pan
Adding dairy is a really effective way to fix salty curry. The type of dairy you use is entirely up to you. Here are some suggestions of things I have added to reduce the salt level in curry: -
- Butter (unsalted)
- Coconut milk
- Cream cheese
- Sour cream or crème fraiche
Cream or coconut milk are perhaps my favourites. Coconut milk also adds a subtle sweetness and works well in recipes like Ceylon curry.
3. Add an Acid to Distract Your Taste Buds
- It’s easy to find acids in kitchen ingredients
- Lemon is often used anyway in curry recipes
- It has a strong effect on fixing salty curry
- Curry can taste quite strong and tangy afterwards
- Adding acid can lead to indigestion and tummy trouble
Most dishes will already have an acidic element, and they are easy to source around the kitchen. If you use yoghurt to reduce the salt in your curry, you get a double whammy as it is both an acid and dairy.
Other acids you might want to consider could include: -
- Sour cream
- Lemon juice
- Lime juice
- Fruit juice (pineapple is great)
Chemically speaking, adding acid doesn’t actually change the dish. It isn’t that it neutralizes salt. It simply adds another strong flavour that distracts your brain from the saltiness. Here’s the science behind why acid works to reduce salt in curry.
4. Add Starch to Soak up the Salt
- Starches are easy to source
- You have rice with curry anyway
- It’s a simple technique
- Not particularly quick
- It bulks up the recipe
- Not always effective
This is a method of fixing salty curry that is a little scientific. By adding starch, you create microscopic ‘sponges’ that will help soak up salty elements.
I mean, think about it…
Potato soup is normally pretty bland, right? That’s because the potatoes soak up nearly all flavour elements.
Using potato in curry is pretty simple, and I’ve got a full guide on it here. However, suppose you don’t have potatoes. In that case, rice, lentils, or even a spoonful of diluted cornflour can all work to fix salty curry. Just add a cupful, allow it to simmer and let the starch do its work!
5. Dilute Your Curry to Reduce Saltiness
- It’s really easy to do
- It is guaranteed to work
- It makes sauce less thick, not good for curries like a bhuna
- It also dilutes the other flavour elements as well as saltiness
Adding extra liquid to curry is a fantastic way to reduce salt levels. Remember above how I talked about ratios?
This is simply the reverse of halving the ingredients.
By adding more water, you aren’t reducing the amount of salt. Still, you are reducing its proportion for a given volume of liquid.
You can use water. However, I find the best way to fix salty curry using this method is to go in with an extra cup or two of curry base gravy. This way, the curry taste isn’t too ‘watered down’, but I still manage to avoid it tasting overly salty.
Oh, and before I forget, be careful if you are diluting your curry using stock. Many stocks, and knorr stock cubes, in particular, are heavily laden with salt and msg.
6. Double Up To Fix Salty Curry
- You get more curry
- It will fix salty curry
- You might not want more curry (what’s wrong with you?)
- Other cooking times might have to be adjusted
If you keep the salt level the same and simply increase all of the other ingredients, you have effectively halved the salt within your dish.
Half the salt, half the effect.
The downside is that you are making excessive curry just to fix salty curry. The good news is that I’ve got a great guide here on how to freeze curry, meaning you can make it and store it without too much fuss!
7. Try Baking Soda to Neutralize the Taste
- Adding baking soda reduces the likelihood of heartburn and indigestion
- It’s a quick and very easy fix for salty curry
- It can make vegetables really soft
- It kinda affects the taste if you use too much
- You might not have it available.
Baking soda is actually an alkaline, not an acid. When we add it to food, it alters the PH level slightly.
Why is that a good thing?
Acid normally intensifies flavours, and this includes salty flavours. Many people make the mistake of thinking their food tastes too salty when it tastes too acidic.
If your curry tastes too salty, a small pinch of baking soda might just be enough to bring it down to a manageable level. This is particularly true in the case of highly acidic ingredients like tomato puree for a curry.
- It works to thicken the curry
- Dumplings are easy to make and highly absorbent
- It’s great for padding out an Indian dish
- Some believe dumplings are for stews, not curries
- It increases the calories in your curry significantly
I’ve borrowed a little trick here that is often used when making stews.
But now that I think of it…
A curry is similar to a stew. It has meat, sauce, and a vegetable element, so I’m just going to go with it.
Dumplings are little more than flour and water. You’ll want a ratio of about 1/3 flour, 1/3 fat, such as butter or lard, and a few spoonfuls of water. Once you have a dough, make a few potato-sized balls and drop them into your salty curry.
Let the dumplings stew and swell for around 15 minutes. The starch in the dumplings will work well to soak up those salty liquid elements. If you reduce the liquid, you can significantly reduce the salty tasting elements.
9. Be Careful with Store-Bought Stock (It’s Really Salty)
- Stock is full of salt and msg. It is better to leave it out
- Generally, authentic curry doesn’t contain store-bought stock anyway
I’ll be honest.
I’m not a huge fan of using stock in my curry recipes. It definitely isn’t what the Indian chefs do.
A little cup of stock here and there isn’t always a bad thing. The downside comes when these stock cubes are loaded with salt, which is often the case.
When making a recipe that calls for stock and salt, here’s what I do to stop my curry from being overly salty.
Make the recipe without salt first, taste it and then a little at a time if it needs it. You’ll tend to find that you won’t need to use much salt if any at all.
How to Fix Salty Curry | Final Thoughts
When discussing how to fix salty curry, the easiest way is to not add too much in the first place. However, if you have, all is not lost. There are plenty of techniques that you can use to negate too much salt. Some are more effective than others, but they all work well.
If you like cooking curry, and want to make it as good as possible, swing by my other curry cooking guides and learn to cook like an authentic Indian takeaway chef!