The main ingredients that make Curry one of our favourite dishes are the spices. Once rare and expensive, spices are now some of the most useful ingredients available to everyone and work with any meat, fish or vegetable. Spices are the dried parts of aromatic plants and may come from the fruit, bark, seed, root or flower bud. Spices mostly come from hot countries and the most popular in Curries are cumin, fenugreek, tamarind and turmeric.  We start with the basic Curry Powder which is very easy to make and if you do it yourself, it can be adjusted to suit your palate. I have a big pot of Curry Powder made from the recipe below which I can make a quick meal from, or marinate the meat overnight for more flavour.

Buen Apetito 

Curry Powder

  • 30ml (2 level tbsp) cumin seeds
  • 30ml (2 level tbsp) whole fenugreek
  • 7.5ml (1½ level tsp) mustard seeds
  • 15ml (1 level tbsp) black peppercorn
  • 120ml (8 level tbsp) coriander seeds
  • 15ml (1 level tbsp) poppy seeds
  • 15ml (1 level tbsp) ground ginger
  • 5ml (1 level tsp) hot chili powder
  • 60ml (4 level tbsp) ground turmeric

Combine all the ingredients in a blender or coffee grinder and grind to a fine powder. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 months.

Chicken Tikka Masala

  • Chicken pieces for 4 people
  • 2 garlic cloves 
  • 2.5cm fresh ginger or ground ginger
  • 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • 4 tbsp natural yogurt
  • 1 onion
  • 2tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2tbsp Masala Curry Paste
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tbsp plain flour
  • 50ml water
  • 3tbsp chopped fresh coriander

Chop chicken into cubes and peel and chop garlic and ginger. Put tomatoes, garlic, ginger and yogurt into a blender until smooth. Peel and chop onions and heat oil in a pan and fry onions for 3-4 minutes until light brown. Stir in Curry Paste and fry for a further minute stirring once or twice. Add the tomato and chicken to pan and mix together. Mix the flour and water together and add to the pan while taking pan off the heat. Return to heat and boil stirring constantly. Simmer for 15 minutes and then add coriander and serve.

Curried Cauliflower 

  • ¼ cup red lentils
  • ½ green pepper
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • ½ small onion diced
  • ¼ head cauliflower cut into small pieces
  • ½ cup sultanas
  • 1 grated carrot
  • 1¼ cups of tomato purée
  • 1tsp Curry Powder

Microwave lentils and stock in a covered bowl for 5 minutes or cook the traditional way. Add the vegetables and sultanas. Stir in the Curry Powder and tomato purée and cook for 30 minutes. Allow to stand for a few minutes before serving. 

Sag Paneer

  • ½ cup of hot water
  • 1lb spinach coarsely chopped
  • 3 tsp butter
  • 1tsp ginger
  • ½ finely chopped onion
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • ¼tsp ground cumin
  • ¼tsp turmeric
  • ½tsp ground coriander
  • 1 cup of cheese (paneer) to suit, cut into cubes.

Blend ½ of the water and a handful of spinach. Keep adding spinach until half is blended, adding a little more water if needed until a nice purée is formed. Heat the butter in a frying pan, add ginger and fry for 1 minute. Add the onions and salt and continue cooking for a further 5 minutes. Stir in the spices and then add the purée and the remaining spinach cooking for 20-30 minutes. Fry the cheese separately and at the last minute add the cheese cubes and then serve.

Chicken Curry North Indian Style

  • 1lb chicken drumsticks and thigh pieces
  • 1 small carton of yogurt
  • 2 medium onions finely chopped
  • 4tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 cloves
  • ½tsp mustard powder
  • 2 pods of cardamom
  • ½tsp cumin
  • 1tsp chili powder
  • ½ chopped ginger root (1tbsp)
  • 4 cloves garlic (ground with pinch salt to form paste)
  • 1-3 coriander seeds
  • Salt to taste
  • ½tsp freshly ground pepper

Sprinkle chicken with chili powder. Add yogurt, make sure the chicken is covered and then set aside in fridge for 4 hours. Heat oil in pan and add mustard, cloves, cardamom and coriander seeds and cook for 30 seconds. Add the onions and fry for 2 minutes, or until the onion is brown.  Lower heat and add the ginger, garlic paste and cumin powder. Put chicken in a large pan and add the ingredients from the frying pan. Cook for 25 minutes or until the chicken is tender.