Make Your Own Basic Curry Paste
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Make Your Own Basic Curry Paste

They say you can never expect something for nothing — and that’s definitely the case when cooking Indian food. It’s a pretty long process, with most curries taking at least a couple of hours from start to finish.

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Make Your Own Basic Curry Paste

Cooking curry takes a lot of effort.

I find cooking wonderfully therapeutic... when I have time. But too often I’ve invited guests round, not planned properly and got into a right tizz, caught between dolling myself up and stirring the pot. Accidentally getting cumin seeds stuck in your foundation is not a good look, trust me!

Thankfully curry is one of those things you can prep for way in advance. Spices are a natural preservative and most curries require the same ingredients as a base, so you can save heaps of time by making batches of basic curry paste. I’ve got recipes for a few base sauces you can try, too, but pastes are easier to store as they take up much less room.

Although I love Patak’s curry pastes and I think they make genuinely authentic tasting dishes, it’s cheaper to make your own, and you get a lot more flexibility with flavours. Plus no one can ever accuse you of cheating!

Here’s an absolutely basic recipe, which you can build on to make almost any of my curries.

Basic curry paste recipe

  • 6 medium cloves of garlic (or 3 big ones)
  • 8cm of fresh ginger
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon Kashmiri chilli
  • 1 teaspoon crushed black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons melted ghee
  • 2 tablespoons tomato purée
  • 2 fresh green chillies
  • 60g coriander (leaves + stems)

Making the basic curry paste is really simple as everything goes in raw — you’ll fry the paste on the day you cook the curry. All you need to do is peel the garlic and ginger, and toast the coriander and cumin seeds over a medium heat for about a minute or until fragrant.

Then simply toss everything in a blender, blitz it up and you’re done. If you don’t have a blender, simply chop the garlic and ginger as fine as you can and use a pestle and mortar to crush the toasted spices.

This recipe will make enough paste for eight portions of curry — the equivalent to half a jar of Patak’s curry paste.

Store in a sealable glass jar and refrigerate. You can freeze the paste, but it will lose some flavour. To extend the life of the paste in the fridge, make sure the jar you use is spotless clean and try layering a tablespoon of oil on top of the paste once in the jar. This creates a seal between the paste and the air.

On the day you use the paste, add the required amount right after cooking the onions and before cooking the meat, frying for about five minutes.

Different flavoured curry pastes

You can alter this basic recipe to makes pastes for any basic curry.

Personally, I like to vibe a bit when cooking curry, so I’ll usually use this paste as a base and then see how I feel on the day about other flavours. But I can see how some people might prefer to be a bit more prepared, so here are a couple of alternative paste recipes. Just follow the same method as the basic curry paste recipe, making sure to fry the whole spices before blending.

Korma

chicken korma blog

  • 6 medium cloves of garlic (or 3 big ones)
  • 8cm of ginger
  • 6cm cassia bark
  • 6 cloves
  • 6 cardamom pods
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 2 teaspoons white ground poppy seeds
  • 1 teaspoon crushed black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons ground almonds
  • 2 tablespoon desiccated coconut
  • 2 tablespoons melted ghee
  • 1 tablespoon tomato purée
  • 2 fresh red chillies
  • Small pack of coriander (leaves + stems)

Use cream or coconut milk to make the sauce. Best with chicken.

Vindaloo

pork vindaloo

  • 12 medium cloves of garlic (or 3 big ones)
  • 6cm of fresh ginger
  • 8 whole cloves
  • 4 teaspoons coriander seeds
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons mustard seeds
  • 2 teaspoons Kashmiri chilli
  • 2 teaspoons crushed black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons melted ghee
  • 2 tablespoons tomato purée
  • 6 fresh red chillies
  • 60g coriander (leaves + stems)
  • 60ml vinegar

Use water to make the sauce. Best with pork.

Rogan Josh

lamb rogan josh

  • 6 medium cloves of garlic (or 3 big ones)
  • 8cm of fresh ginger
  • 6 cloves
  • 4 cardamom pods
  • 2 sticks cassia bark
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 2 teaspoons fennel powder
  • 2 teaspoons Kashmiri chilli
  • 1 teaspoon crushed black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons mustard oil
  • 1 tablespoon tomato purée
  • 3 fresh red chillies
  • 60g coriander (leaves + stems)

Use yoghurt to make the sauce. Best with lamb.

Image via kattebelletje

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Comments

Comments (6)

  • Geraldine in Spain

    Geraldine in Spain

    17 December 2015 at 09:50 |
    Your blog is a delight. The photos are stunning, the recipes just fantastic. THANKS.

    reply

    • Hari Ghotra

      Hari Ghotra

      22 December 2015 at 10:25 |
      Hi Geraldine - Thank you so much all the way over there in Spain! It's great to know you are enjoying the website. make sure you let me know how you get on with the recipes. Thanks Hari

      reply

  • PETIT

    PETIT

    30 July 2016 at 18:07 |
    In the Vindaloo recipe where is the vinegar? Vindaloo does contain vinegar, it's name come from it.

    reply

    • Hari Ghotra

      Hari Ghotra

      31 July 2016 at 10:08 |
      Hi I have just checked the post and you are right - something seems to have gone wrong. Some images and copy are missing - I will correct it now. Thank you so much for flagging this with me I really appreciate it. Hari

      reply

  • Tara

    Tara

    21 October 2016 at 19:31 |
    Hi.
    I would love to try all the pastes to get a head start on my cooking, but... Can you help me feel more sure of what I'm doing here?
    I need lots more information. For instance, in the Basic curry paste. Do I toast the coriander and cumin dry, or in oil? Do I grind them before mixing with the other ingredients?
    Do the spices (such as cassia) in the other recipes get toasted? Ground? Do I pop the mustard seeds?
    None of this is intuitive to me, I have only followed step-by step recipes before. Also, I guess you're in the U.K. (metric measurements). I am in the U.S. How accurate do I need to be measuring: should I try to convert everything, or guess.
    One last question. The amount of chili powder and the number of chilies looks like a lot to me. Okay to reduce?
    Thank you for your site. All looks yummy. Tara

    reply

    • Hari Ghotra

      Hari Ghotra

      27 October 2016 at 09:51 |
      Hi Tara with this one its a raw paste so toast the cumin and coriander in a dry pan - blitz in a spice grinder then add everything else and blend. The point of this is when you want to use it you can add oil to a pan and fry the paste then add your ingredients. Yes reduce the chillies to suit your tastes. I hope this helps? Thanks so much for your comments and for using the website. Hari

      reply

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