How to Fix Salty Curry | 9 Great Tips for Great Tasting Curry

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!

Mistakes

Listen.

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.

Incorrect Recipes

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.

‘Hidden’ Salt

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.

But…

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

Pros:

  • It’s guaranteed to work
  • It’s easy to do

Cons:

  • 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

Pros:

  • It’s an easy addition
  • It really works to fix salty curry

Cons:

  • 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: -

  • Milk
  • Cream
  • Butter (unsalted)
  • Coconut milk
  • Cream cheese
  • Sour cream or crème fraiche
  • Yoghurt

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

Pros:

  • 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

Cons:

  • 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: -

  • Vinegar
  • 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

Pros:

  • Starches are easy to source
  • You have rice with curry anyway
  • It’s a simple technique

Cons:

  • 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

Pros:

  • It’s really easy to do
  • It is guaranteed to work

Cons:

  • 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

Pros:

  • You get more curry
  • It will fix salty curry

Cons:

  • 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.

Simple, right?

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

Pros:

  • Adding baking soda reduces the likelihood of heartburn and indigestion
  • It’s a quick and very easy fix for salty curry

Cons:

  • 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.

8. Dumplings

Pros:

  • It works to thicken the curry
  • Dumplings are easy to make and highly absorbent
  • It’s great for padding out an Indian dish

Cons:

  • 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)

Pros:

  • Stock is full of salt and msg. It is better to leave it out
  • Generally, authentic curry doesn’t contain store-bought stock anyway

Cons:

  • None

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.

However.

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!


Enjoy Making Curry Yourself?

Hey folks, thanks for reading this article. I hope you found it useful, and that you learned something new allowing you to make your curry extra special. Here are a few things that can really elevate your curry game to the next level. 

These are affiliate links, so if you use them I receive a small commission, but this won't cost you any extra. In all honesty, I use very similar items myself, and wouldn't hesitate to recommend them to my friends.

A Complete Curry Kit: - Literally, everything you'll need to make curry all in one place. Cookware, storage, utensils, even the spices! This is my dedicated guide to getting you up and running all for the price of few takeaways.

Curry pans: - You need one, and one only. A frying pan exactly like this is really easy to use, and is exactly the type that authentic Indian chefs use to make the type of curry that you'll have in your local takeaway. You can see my full reviews of several pans right here...

Spice Storage: - Being organised is half the battle in making great curry. Spices can be notoriously hard to keep tidy. That's why I tend to use a spice rack like this. You can arrange your spices by size, heat, or any way you choose. I've got a detailed review of several Indian spice racks in this guide.


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  1. Please tell me if recipe calls for 2 people or 4, how do you ajust for 6. eg. Meat, spices liquid etc., Also can you put base gravy in any curry even if it isn't in the recipe?

    1. Hi Linda,

      Thanks for getting in touch. I’ll attempt to answer both of your questions with one reply.

      In answer to the latter part of your question, you can use base gravy in any curry recipe. It’s a great way to add richness and depth. Any time a curry recipe calls for the adding of any liquid, be that water or stock, you can give base gravy a go instead!

      To address the first part of your post, dealing with number of people… Here’s an easy way to do it (with an example).

      1) divide the ingredients in the recipe by the number of people the recipe is written for. This will give you a figure that will represent how much ingredients are needed per serving
      2) Multiply the results of step 1 by the number of people you are looking to cook for.

      Here’s an example with a simple curry recipe, to show you what I mean: –

        Standard chicken curry

      Serves 2

      400g chicken breast
      2 tbsp tomato puree
      1 cup base gravy
      2 tablespoons curry mix powder

      So, using the above recipe quantities as an example, and noting that the dish should serve 2.

      400g chicken breast, divided by 2 people = 200g chicken breast per person
      2 tbsp tomato puree, divided by 2 people = 1 tbsp tomato puree per person
      1 cup base gravy, divided by 2 people = half a cup of base gravy per person
      2 tablespoons curry mix powder, divided by 2 people = 1 tablespoon curry powder per person

      So… we know how much of each ingredients we need per person so all we do is multiply it by the number of people we are looking to cook for. Let’s say, in this example, we are cooking for 5 guests. All we do is multiply the above by 5 to get the quantities required

      So it would be 1000g chicken breast, 5 tbsp tomato puree, 2.5 cups base gravy and 5 tablespoons curry powder.

      Thanks so much for your comment and I hope it all makes sense!

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