I absolutely love South Indian food, their creamy coconut curries are delicious. In this recipe I’ll show you how to make your own curry paste from scratch. It’s a little bit time consuming and you’ll need to get a couple specialist ingredients (all can be found in large supermarkets though, or local Indian shops), but the effort is worth it as you’ll end up with a fragrant, authentic curry paste. You can also batch prep your paste and freeze it into portions to be used later.
Overall time required: 1 hour
- Olive oil
- 2 red onions, roughly chopped
- 2 tomatoes or 8-10 cherry tomatoes, roughly chopped
- 400ml coconut milk
- 12–14 peeled raw king or tiger prawns (if you don’t eat seafood, use 2 boneless and skinless chicken thighs, or 1 aubergine)
- 1 tablespoon plain yoghurt
- flaked almonds, to garnish
- Handful of fresh coriander, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
- 1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon chilli powder (or to taste)
- 2 teaspoons black mustard seeds
- 6 cloves of garlic
- 8cm piece of ginger
- 1 red chilli
- 1 heaped tablespoon tomato purée
- 1 tablespoon tamarind paste
- First make your curry paste. The paste seems really time consuming to prepare, but you can batch prep the paste and freeze portions to use at a later date. You can either use a pestle and mortar or a small food processor. Add the coriander seeds, fenugreek seeds, ground turmeric and a pinch each of sea salt and chilli powder to a pestle and mortar or food processor.
- Heat 1 teaspoon of oil in a small pan on a low heat and add the mustard seeds and fry until they start to pop. Transfer to your pestle and mortar/food processor and pound/blend. Roughly chop your garlic, ginger and chillies and add to the paste until smooth. Mix in the tomato purée and tamarind.
- Start prepping your curry. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a pan on a medium heat. Add your red onion to the pan and cook for 2-3 minutes.
- Turn the heat down to low, add the curry paste and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally to avoid it sticking to the bottom of the pan. Add the fresh tomatoes and cook on a low heat for 1 to 2 minutes.
- Add the coconut milk and gently simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Turn up the heat and add the prawns (or your chicken or aubergine). Cook for 3 to 4 minutes until the prawns are lovely and pink and just cooked through. If using chicken you will have to cook it for a bit longer (5-10 minutes)
- Turn off the heat and add the yoghurt.
- Garnish with the flaked almonds, coriander leaves and extra yoghurt. Serve with rice or naan.