Can You Freeze Indian Food?

Can you freeze Indian food? You got some leftover curry that you got from the takeaway or maybe you made a large portion of curry and now you are wondering if you can freeze it.

Can you freeze Indian food? Yes! in most circumstances you can freeze Indian food.  However, you should never freeze any type of food where the meat used in the dish has previously been frozen, as this can lead to food poisoning.  For this reason, I would never freeze any meat dishes from a takeaway.

Food storage containers in the freezer

When it comes to vegetarian Indian food, homemade or takeaway, most of it can be frozen without it losing its texture and flavor, however, there are a few known ingredients that don’t do too well in the freezer such as: 

  • Potatoes
  • Chickpeas
  • Fish

Even though these ingredients can be frozen, they are known to lose their texture once thawed.

With so many of us nowadays juggling family life with work.  Sometimes it is hard to find time to cook a warm hearty meal every day.

In times like this, we just want to take something out of the freezer, thaw it, and eat.

We live in an age where everyone is busy with being busy.

So, it is a good idea to pre-make some meals and freeze.

Should You Freeze Your Leftover Food

We are told that one-third of all food is wasted worldwide every year.   This is a shocking fact, especially with so many people around the world dying of starvation.

We all can do our tiny part to prevent any food wastage. 

I think one step we can take is to freeze our leftover food, so it is not wasted.

Why you should consider freezing your leftover food.

  • Less food wastage.
  • A ready-made meal that just needs to be thawed out.
  • Great for quick meals when time is limited.
  • Save money on food shopping.

How To Freeze Your Leftover Food?

To be honest, in the beginning, I did not freeze much of my cooking mainly because of all the unanswered questions I had about freezing food.

  • what can and cannot be frozen?
  • what is safe to freeze?
  • how long can it last in the freezer?
  • what Indian dishes freeze well?

After trial and error over the years, I now freeze as much food as I can.  Sometimes I cook a double portion, so I can freeze half of it for later.

You will be surprised how much of the food you cook can be frozen.

When it comes to food in general, not just Indian food, you must take the correct steps before you put any type of food in the freezer.

  • Always allow your food to completely cool down at room temperature.
  • Use a suitable storage container or zip bag that is airtight and has a good seal.
  • Label your storage container/zip bag.
    • Name of the dish,
    • Date placed in the freezer.

A general rule to remember when it comes to freezing food.

if in doubt don’t put it in the freezer.

Does Indian food freeze well?

Yes, most Indian food freezes well, however, there are a few ingredients like I mention earlier that don’t freeze too well, but there are ways around that, which I will cover in this section.

Here is a shortlist of homemade Indian dishes that freeze well, from personal experience.

  • Lentil Curry (Dal)   
    • Red Lentils.
    • Green Lentils.
    • Brown Lentils.
    • Split Peas.
    • Chickpeas (Chana) etc.
  • Vegetable Curry
    • Cauliflower & Potatoes (Aloo Gobi).
    • Cheese & Potatoes (Aloo Paneer)..
    • Spinach & Potatoes (Saag Aloo)
    • Eggplant and Potatoes etc.
  • Meat Curry
    • Chicken Curry.
    • Lamb Mince Curry.
    • Lamb Curry.
    • Butter Chicken Curry etc.

*** if you have used meat that has previously been frozen then you can’t freeze your meat curry or for that matter, any other meat dish as this can lead to food poisoning. ***

Ingredients that don’t freeze well

  • Fish – Cooked fish does not freeze well.  Fish flesh breaks up very easily when thawed and reheated.  To overcome this, I normally reheat my fish dishes in the oven, this way I don’t need to stir or flip the fish.
  • Potatoes – Potatoes lose their texture after being thawed out.  If I plan to freeze a dish that contains potatoes, I will cut the potatoes into larger pieces.
  • Chickpeas – If you use canned chickpeas, they become very soft after being thawed out. If you plan to freeze a curry that contains chickpeas, then use dried chickpeas, they keep their texture much better after being thawed compared to tinned chickpeas.

How Long Can You Keep Indian Curry In The Freezer?

Most curries freeze well and can be kept in the freezer for up to 3 months.   I usually keep my curries in the freezer for no more than 2 months.  Always make sure that you use an airtight container that has a good seal.

If you are uncertain if you should freeze a curry then I recommend that you don’t freeze it, food poisoning is something you don’t want to take a chance on.  Better to be safe than sorry.

Can You Freeze Masala For Curries On Its Own?

Yes, you sure can! This is a popular method.  This method is mostly used in restaurants but can also be adapted for home cooking.  

Making the masala (gravy for the curry) probably takes the longest when it comes to making a curry.  So, having the masala pre-made can easily save you up to 25 minutes for each curry.

So, if you have pre-made masala in the freezer, then all you need to do is:

  • Thaw your frozen masala at room temperature.
  • Bring it to a boil on the stove.
  • Add in your key ingredients such as Chicken, Cauliflower, etc.

NOTE: this method doesn’t work for your traditional lamb curry or mince curry unless you precook the lamb (this is what restaurants do).

What Can I Use To Freeze Curry?

Like anything else you put in the freezer, Use good quality airtight storage containers for your curries.

NOTE: Storage containers become yellow in color because of the turmeric in the curry but this is normal.  Just give them a good wash with some soapy warm water and it should be fine.

Don’t forget to label every container you put in the freezer.  When curry freezes it’s very hard to figure out what’s in the container especially when you have multiple containers in the freezer.

I have a label printer which I use.  You can pick them up for cheap and you can use them for many projects around the house such as labeling jars and other DIY projects etc.

I always put the name of the dish on the label and when I placed it in the freezer.

If you don’t have a container, you can also use a zip bag however, keep in mind that some zip bags are not reusable plus they can puncture easily.

One lesson I have learned the hard way is, avoid using cheap storage containers as they do not last long and are known to crack when the curry expands as it freezes.

Final Thoughts

If you love your Indian food then you will be happy to know that most of it is freezer friendly.

By freezing your food, not only are you helping to reduce food waste, but it will save you so much time and money.

Can you freeze Indian food? I hope this article has helped answer your question.

Please share in the comments if you have any tips or advice when it comes to freezing Indian food.

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