5 of my Favourite Curry Recipes
This week is national curry week. So to celebrate, I’m compiling 5 of my favourite curry recipes. However, first off, let’s answer a simple question, what is a curry?
The term curry encompasses a vast array of dishes originating from the Indian subcontinent, including countries such as India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. It consists of a combination of many herbs and spices, cooked in to gravy or stock to form a sauce. It is typically used to flavour meat, cheese or vegetables and served with rice or bread. Nowadays curry is cooked all over the world and every country has put its own twist on it. The most common spices used in curry are chilli, cumin, ginger, turmeric and coriander.
Not all curries are spicy, some are mild and sweet, while others can make your lips and tongue tingle. This is not indicative of how much spice is used, but more an indication of how hot the chilli is. I once tried a curry from an Indian restaurant in London which used 23 different spices. It was delicious! But surprisingly not overly spicy. However the layering and depth of flavour was incredible.
My favourite curry restaurants include Indian Tiffin Room in Manchester, Phanthong Thai in Altrincham and the ever expanding chain across the country of Mowgley. However, I not only enjoy eating curries out but love to cook them too. I love the smell of the different spices combining while you cook them and the intricacies of how they change and develop as they cook. It really is a full sensory experience. It‘s probably my favourite dish to prepare at home.
The beauty of cooking a curry for yourself, is that you have free reign to add as much or little spice as you like. It is very personal and I love the ability to change it up whenever I feel like it. You can never get bored as no two curries are exactly the same. I love the challenge of balancing out the spices. Here are five of my favourite curry recipes in no particular order:
1. Lentil, Spinach & Sweet Potato Dahl
A dahl is a lentil curry originating from India. I like to simmer chunks of fish in to mine, however it is typically served vegetarian and is more of a soup like consistency.
2. Turkey, Beetroot & Chickpea Keema
A keema is a mince based curry, similar to bolognese. The mince and onions are fried with the spices and then tomatoes and stock are added to form the sauce. Traditionally lamb mince is used, however I prefer turkey as it is leaner.
3. Green Thai Chicken Curry
If pushed, I would probably say Thai is my favourite type of curry. I’m not particularly fussed whether its green, red or even yellow. They are all delicious. The colour purely identifies what colour chilli has been used. Red supposedly being the hottest. Common flavours in Thai curries include ginger, lemongrass and coconut milk. This means Thai curries are often very creamy, while still remaining fresh and not heavy. I alternate between chicken or fish, salmon and monkfish being particularly good, and change up the vegetables used as well. Whatever I use, I follow a similar principle to this recipe. If I‘m using fish, I add it with the vegetables towards the end of the cooking rather than at the start, as fish doesn’t need as long to cook as chicken.
4. Chicken, Pear & Butternut Korma
Curry doesn’t have to be hot. Korma is very mildly spiced and the creamy coconut and sweetness of the pear, really help to mellow this one out as well. In this recipe I use chicken for my protein source but it would also work really well with prawn, especially if you were also to swap the pear with pineapple.
5. Jamaican Chicken & Mango Curry
This is another coconut based curry. The mango works really well to contrast against the heat of the scotch bonnet chillies found in jerk seasoning. Its a prime example of how curry can not just be confined to the Indian subcontinent and has spread all across the world.
All five of these curries are very different and help to emphasise the vast spectrum the term curry covers. There are some similarities to them all though, which is what makes them a curry. Heat is definitely something that you build a tolerance to the more you eat chilli. I can now tolerate quite spicy food because I cook with chilli so much. If you aren’t so used to it then start out mild and be kind to your taste buds. Curry is not meant to set your mouth on fire, you want to be able to appreciate all the different layers and complexities of each of the different spices in harmony with each other. I once watched a demonstration from Nisha Katona, the owner of Mowgli, where she said making a curry was really simple. Just start out with 3 different spices and build on it from there. I now try to follow this principle whenever I’m starting one from scratch. My three favourite spices are ginger, cumin and cinnamon, purely for their smells, But I also like to cook with chilli, coriander and turmeric a lot.
I would love to hear what your favourite spices are and why, so please get involved and leave your comments in the box below. Also feel free to share any of your favourite curry recipes. Lets all get involved and celebrate national curry week together.
Thank you for reading and speak soon.