The combination of spices and flavours to the uninitiated, is nothing short of pure magic and alchemy.
Keep your gold, or eternal life though, creating a great curry has to be one of the most rewarding endevaours when its comes to spices. And gettting them to work together in any single recipe is mystifying.
To be honest though the only things that normally used to put me of from making one at home, is (a) the smell of curry lingering for days later, and (b) it never tasted as good as a shop purchased one.
Finally however, I concocted a recipe that is easy to make, and tastes pretty close to something from a take-away! The only difference is, is that with this meal, you control the fats and what meat goes in!
In addition I have found that because this is created with NO ready made packet mixes, or "curry powders", or my nemesis the sauce in a jar. (yukkk!!!) It is relatively healthy, and does not impart a strong artifical smell into the house. Really a few hours after making it, you can not smell a thing. What a great result.
My personal favourite amongst the numerous curry recipes out there is 'Chicken Tikka Masala', to create it faithfully would be a nightmare for me. However this is an abridged version which is totally fool-proof and gives a similar interpretation and approximation of flavours.
I need to mention that this is most definitely NOT authentic Indian cuisine, and I am NOT going to pretend to know the first thing about the blending of spices, however as a curry this works, and is as good as an Italian can make it.
If you wanted you could make your own Garam Masala, but I prefer to use a reliably made one, available in any asian/indian stores. And as is the case with all cooking, the most important ingredient, is the heart and enthusiasm which goes into creating it. Without doubt, once you taste this, and find how easy it is. You will adopt and adapt this recipe to your own taste.
2 chicken breasts diced, or
some diced lamb or
diced turkey thigh would also work.
fish could be used, something like cod, or haddock would be ideal.
(alternatively, this could be made vegetarian so use things like zucchini, aubergine, pumpkin instead)
1 tablespoon of sunflower or vegetable oil.
2 small red chilli (de-seeded and chopped)
1 teaspoon of Chilli powder
1 tsp of Cumin powder
200g of tinned tomato (approx half a can)
50-75 ml of water
1/2 tsp Turmeric
2 tsp Garam Masala
2 cloves of Garlic sliced up or crushed.
Pinch of Salt an Pepper to taste.
1 inch piece of fresh ginger, skinned and sliced up,
2 medium sized onion diced up,
50-100ml (1/3 cup) of Yoghurt.
Fresh Coriander leaves chopped up (about a handful)
-In a saucepan fry the onions, the garlic, ginger and fresh chilli, cook for about 2 minutes.
-Next add all the remaining ingredients listed in the spice mix, cook for a further 2 minutes, next add the tomatoes and water, and gently simmer for 5 minutes.
-Next carefully pour all of these ingredients into a food blender/liquidizer and whizz them up into a smooth thick curry "soup" put this to one side! It might look quite pale,but it will darken again during cooking.
-Next wipe the previously used saucepan, add a drop of oil, and fry the chicken (or whatver your using), and brown them, or even slightly burn, then pour the previously made curry "soup" over the top. Cook this onwards for about 20-25 minutes.
-Finally when your happy for the consistency, and everything has cooked through, add some yoghurt to your taste, and the chopped coriander leaves! Then serve garnished with some coriander on top.
Serve with Basmati rice, and/or with Chapatis! Yes, not very appetizing on my plate, but with some care and patience which I dont always have. Your efforts will look, and probably taste better. But you get the idea.
As I mentioned, don't forget that this can be made purely with vegetables if you wanted or with tofu for example! Enjoy!!