National Curry Week I hear you all cry! But what to cook to keep it lean, clean but still exceptionally mean? Do not fear, I have here for you a fail-safe curry base along with some tweaks and a whole host of meat, veg and fish ideas. Those of you who are already reading the MCL recipe eBooks will know that a few store cupboard ingredients and understanding a basic curry paste will give you the confidence to tweak and change according to taste, occasion and main ingredient. We’d love to see how you adapt this curry paste recipe to make it your own. There is no right or wrong curry, just endless possibilities!
Basic Curry Paste
1 large onion chopped
1 clove garlic minced
1-2 chillies (more/less depending on taste) deseeded if preferred and chopped finely
1 thumb ginger grated or minced
½ tin chopped tomatoes
1 tsp tomato puree
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp coriander seeds crushed
1 tsp cumin crushed
1 tbsp coconut oil
fresh coriander stalks chopped finely (keep leaves to garnish curry at end)
salt to taste
- Heat coconut oil in large frying pan or wok
- Add cumin and coriander seeds and fry until they pop
- Add onion and garlic and fry on medium heat until onion is evenly golden all over
- Add salt, turmeric and garam masala and stir through
- Add ginger, chilli and tomatoes
- Add coriander stalks
- Stir and allow to cook on a gentle heat for approx. 3-4 minutes until oil separates from paste in pan
- Your paste is ready!
- For a fresh dry vegetable curry, replace tinned tomatoes with fresh tomatoes and omit tomato puree
- For a creamy curry without the guilt, add almond milk or a dollop of soy/coconut/greek yogurt to the paste. You can omit the tomatoes if you don’t want any tanginess or just add ½ a fresh tomato
- For a decadent tasting curry (but still clean!) add a tablespoon of ground almonds to the paste when cooked as well as a dollop of yoghurt
- For an ‘achari’ dish (tangy pickle dish) great for lamb or chicken dishes, add a teaspoon of mango pickle
- A bay leaf added with the onions is delicious for meat dishes as is one cardamom pod, split open or one clove (remember to remove the clove at the end – not pleasant if eaten!)
- A large handful of spinach thrown into the paste adds a nutritious punch to your curry
- Adding a handful of roast almonds or sesame seeds to the top of a dish adds a lovely crunchy dimension to a dry curry
- Skinned chicken on the bone with added water for a broth consistency is warming, nutritious and a good alternative to a chicken soup when feeling a little under the weather
- Chicken breast and red peppers make a fabulous dry curry
- Chickpeas, kidney beans or lentils in a tin make a protein packed curry for two for less than a quid – what’s not to like?
- Make the paste the night before and put in your slow cooker in the morning with some diced lamb. You will be overwhelmed by the richness of the curry when you return. A great alternative to a Friday night takeaway
- Dry veg curries are often used as sides in restaurants but are normally the main event in most Indian households mid week. Try okra, cauliflower and peas or frozen mixed garden veg (honestly amazing)
- If you want a special brunch, use the paste above with fresh tomatoes and add 6-8 whisked eggs for a scrambled egg dish that will both confuse and delight your senses!
- Kale and roast almonds make an amazing side dish
- Seafood is quick, easy and a great dinner party pleaser. I prefer a lighter curry paste with fresh tomatoes or just yoghurt instead and love using prawns or a good meaty or white fish like cod, sea bass or monkfish.
- Mince makes a very quick curry. Minced lamb and peas is the traditional Indian way to have a curry but you can use pork, beef or turkey. Add peas, potatoes or kidney beans to make it go further.
I could keep writing but you get the gist - see what you come up with! Let’s see you get creative in the kitchen…Tweet, Instagram and post your photos!
Until next time,