Yes, it’s time to get your curry on!
It doesn’t matter if you’re having ever-so-mild, creamy, coconutty Chicken Marsala, or the “let’s strip the lining of our mouths” burning sensation of a Madras, there is nothing quite like an Indian curry, am I right?
That intricate mix of spices all brought together in a silky sauce with vegetables, meat, beans and lentils – or whatever you want – it is Comfort Food Level: Extraordinary ???
And, I don’t know about you, I can’t get enough of the stuff.
So, luckily enough (or unluckily, I’m not quite sure which way to look at it) our build up to summer that I’ve been talking about for a few weeks has come to a very sudden, temperature plummeting, rain pouring, lightning striking halt.
This time last week I was bragging about the sun, the heat, the BBQ food, and the constant state of walking around in shorts and sipping on Ice cold beers I had to endure. I think karma (that bitch) has come and bitten me hard because, right now, I’m sitting in jeans and the Paramedic’s sweater and I’m still cold. ☔️❄️
But there is always a silver lining and making warm, soul-lifting comfort food is what is on order for today. You may not think that making your own Indian curry could be comfort food – surely it’s easier to call the local take-out joint? – but before you hit speed dial, hear me out for a while and, by the time you’ve read this post, gawked at the photos and found out just how amazing this recipe is, you’ll be off to make it too.
So, a few things you need to know about this recipe:
1. IT’S QUICK AND EASY
That’s why it has “quick and easy” written it the recipe title, who knew? And it is.
There are no strange ingredients, no need to roast and grind spices and certainly no long simmering, slow cooking, or slow roasting involved.
In fact you’ll have this made and on the table – or on you’re lap because you’re curled up on the couch watching Netflix – in about 30 minutes.
And this isn’t like one of those recipes that makes empty promises; It doesn’t say “can be made in 30 minutes” whilst failing to inform you that, unless you have a degree in pastry origami, it will take four hours to make those rose-petal-shaped ravioli/ pasta things (true story ?).
Even for the most kitchen-phobic, chopping board newbies out there this recipe is child’s play
2. IT’S NOT SCARY AT ALL
I remember when I first starting making spice pastes and other such recipes. It could be daunting and a little scary especially with, say, Thai spice blends which called for food items I had never heard of before.
This is not like that at all. All the ingredients can be bought at your local supermarket and, even though I do think roasting and grinding your own spices is better, all the spices are ready ground and ready to go.
It’s pretty much a spoon from the jar into the pan kinda deal. Can you cope with that? ?
3. IT’S JUST A BASE
I told you there were no empty promises here so I feel I should warn you this is just the base for a curry: onions and spices. It is not a complete curry recipe
What you do or add to it is completely up to you.
But, before you run away from me screaming “you said it wouldn’t be scary!” I have included two, equally quick and easy, curry recipes you can make with the base:
- A Red Lentil Dhal
- A Coconut Chicken Curry
Both of these variations can be found in the recipe section below
4. IT’S VERSATILE
If you are new to cooking cuisines with lots of spices, such as Indian, then this may be one of the best recipes you could begin with. Why?
First of all see points 1 and 2 and 3 above
Secondly, it is the perfect blank canvas for you to build and create amazing curries as and when you feel comfortable to do so. This recipe is a very simple, back-to-basics curry base just waiting to be spiced up (pun intended ?) and pimped out.
Once you’re comfortable with making the simple version, and perhaps the two variations I’ve added on here too, you can begin to experiment.
For example, to give you some inspiration, extra spices you could add are:
- Mustard Seeds
- Fenugreek (seeds or powder)
- Sesame Seeds
- Amchoor (the dried powder of green, unripe mangoes)
- Garam Marsala
If adding an additional ingredient, start off with 1/2 teaspoon and, after taste testing, add more if you feel it needs it.
And other ingredients you could add:
- Blend spinach together with coconut cream in a blender and then add as the sauce to create a Saag Paneer like dish
- Add mangoes, never fails in a coconut cream based curry
- Add extra liquid (coconut milk, water, stock, tomatoes) and make a Curry soup
- Reduce the liquid down until almost gone and use the curry as filling for samosas
It’s like mixing your own cocktails. It takes a little experimentation and a whole lot of trial and error but,that shining silver lining, you’ll have loads of great comfort food to tuck away whilst you’re at it.
So go on, get experimenting and, seeing as its just started raining again,I may go and eat some more Dhal.
I love silver linings
- FOR THE BASE
- 1 Tbsp Ghee*
- 1 Medium Onion, diced
- 1tsp Ground Coriander
- 1tsp GrounD Cumin
- 3/4 tsp ground Turmeric
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 – 2tsp of chilli powder – depending on your chilli preference
- 2 – 4 Garlic cloves, crushed or minced
- 2cm piece of ginger, minced
- FOR THE DHAL:
- 300g dried lentils (I used red)
- 400g diced tomatoes*
- 3 cups water
- FOR THE CHICKEN & COCONUT CURRY:
- 4 Chicken Thighs, cut into bitesize pieces
- 1/2 head cauliflower, cut up into florets*
- 2 carrots, diced*
- 300ml coconut cream
- Fresh Cilantro
- TO MAKE THE BASE: In a heavy bottomed pan, fry the onions with the ghee on medium/ high heat for about 5 min until they begin to char around the edges. Lower the heat and add the spices, garlic and ginger. Cook for a minute or so until the spices become fragrant. Add a few tablespoons of water to the pan to release anything that has become stuck to the bottom. The curry base is now ready.
- FOR THE DHAL: Rinse the lentils well under water. Once the curry base has been made, add the lentils to the pan and coat in the curry base. Add the diced tomatoes, the water, and cover with a lid. Bring to the boil then lower to a gentle simmer for about fifteen minutes until the water has been absorbed.
- FOR THE CHICKEN CURRY: Once the curry base has been made, add the chicken thighs to the pan. Coast in the curry base and cook for a few minutes until sealed. Add the vegetables and the coconut cream. Bring to the boil and then simmer for about ten minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and the vegetables are cooked to your liking.