I was deciding what to write about next, after ploughing through a few emails and comments, I found a request to "make a good curry sauce that can be easily adapted to different curries". So, Jon, this post is dedicated to you. Pay attention now.
I'm making a good ol' fashioned Ruby Murray Chicken curry.
This recipe is for one baby chicken and should feed about 4- or 2 fatties (sorry hubbie, you know it's true!)
1. 1 tsp cumin seeds
2. 1 tsp fennel seeds
3. 1/2 tsp dill seeds
4. 1 bark of cinnamon
5. 1 Star anise
6. 1 pod of cardamon
7. 1 clove
8. 3 red dry chills*
9. Handful of curry leaves*
1. 1/2 tsp chilli powder
2. 1 tsp curry powder
3. 1/3 tsp turmeric powder
4. 1 tsp coriander powder*
1. 2 small onions- finely chopped
2. 1 tsp ginger- crushed
3. 1 tsp garlic- crushed
4. 2 tomatoes
5. 1 tbsp tomato puree
6. 1 cup of water
7. Zest of 1 lemon*
8. 3 tbsp beetroot juice*
Now by all means, this is not a definitive way of cooking curry, but merely how I have come to cook my curry over the years.
Thought it best to add a bit of disclaimer there as there are literally hundreds of ways to cook a curry, but they all include a good range of aromatics, toasted onions, garlic and ginger and a mixture of well seasoned powders. All of the starred ingredients illustrate non-essential products, but will certainly elevate the flavour of your curry. I know this list seems quite massive, but in reality these are really key to making a full bodied curry.
1. Heat your pan with a bit of oil, then add all of your dry ingredients.
2. Then add your onions and zest of half of your lemon. Toast until they are golden.
3. Add your powders, and quickly after the tomatoes, tomato puree and a half a cup of water. Give this a stir and wait for the sauce to reduce.
This is your very basic curry sauce.
4. You now add your chicken (You can add any meat/ seafood at this point), then your crushed ginger, garlic and the rest of your lemon zest. Stir well and leave covered. Add the remaining 1/2 cup water should the mixture get too dry.
FYI: If you are making lamb or any other red meat, the cooking time will be about 20-25mins, for Seafood- your cooking time will be considerably less, so keep an eye on it. You will probably only need about 8mins max. You also need to eliminate dill seeds, cinnamon, star anise, clove and cardamon as these flavours will be a tad too strong for the seafood.
5. Now here's the best bit. Once your meat is 85%, add 3bsp of beetroot juice. This is seriously not essential, but my word, does it make the colour of your curry come alive.
I've served my Beetroot Chicken curry with coriander lentils, beetroot and cucumber salad and a bit of plain rice.
Heaven, table for 1 please.