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January 2009

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Hopefully something not so vomit inducing.

OK, as an antidote to all the sick making meat posts, and to try and put myself firmly back in the running as a potential food writer, I thought I'd post a couple of my curry recipes - vegetarian ones this time, and both very simple.

For the sake of completeness, here is the curry powder blend I've been making. Of course, using any generic curry powder, preferably a medium strength one, or a specialist Caribbean one would work just as well, but I love making my own. Another alternative is just using pre-ground equivalents, but then you miss out on the aroma you get when dry roasting the spices, and the taste won't be quite as fresh or intense. I keep the quantities small so I don't have curry powder languishing in the cupboard going stale. Also, the quantities in relation to one another may seem a bit arbitrary, but I've been playing around with this for ages, and it's what I've decided I like.

The Curry Powder

3cm piece of cinnamon stick/bark
2 tbsp coriander seed
1 tsp cumin seed
1 tsp black peppercorns
½ tsp mustard seed
Seeds from 6 cardamon pods
10 allspice berries
½ tsp fenugreek
a pinch of mace blades
1 tsp ground turmeric
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp cayenne
½ tsp onion salt
¼ tsp garlic powder

Place all the whole spices except the mustard seed in a dry frying pan and roast shaking gently from time to time. When the aroma starts to intensify, add the mustard seeds – when they start to pop the spices will be ready to grind. Allow to cool slightly then grind together and mix with the remaining pre-ground spices.

Vegetable Curry with Tamarind and Mango


At least 1.5 kg of root vegetables, including carrots, potato, sweet potato, squash, cut into fairly large chunks
1 large onion, sliced
1 large red onion, cut into chunks
1 large red pepper, cut into 2cm dice
1 clove of garlic, crushed
2cm knob of ginger, peeled and grated
1 tbsp curry powder
½ tsp turmeric
2 tbsp tamarind pulp (the Barts Spice Co jars are handy to use)
250ml coconut milk
½ a mango, not too ripe
Lime juce

In a heavy based casserole, heat a tbsp of vegetable oil. Add all the vegetables except any squashes, and fry briefly, then add the ginger and garlic, curry powder and turmeric, stirring constantly to cook the spices and coat the vegetables. Add the coconut milk and tamarind pulp, and simmer gently for about 20 minutes, then add any squashes you may be using (butternut squash in particular will break up very quickly if added earlier) and the mango, and continue to simmer until everything is cooked to your preferred texture. To finish, check seasoning and add a generous squeeze of lime juice.

NB: This curry also works very well with chicken or shrimp. If using shrimp, I fry the heads and shells first before removing from the pan when the oils have started to release (this is when you start getting deep orange drops of oil appearing), then I fry the shrimp themselves before removing them also - it ensures that the shrimp flavour permeates the whole curry from the start. I would then add whichever other vegetables I want to use (ususally just the onions and peppers), and before adding the coconut milk, I deglaze with a splash of dark rum.

Chicken - just start by frying the chicken then proceed as above, but also deglazing with rum.

Chick pea and Red Pepper Curry

This one has been a surprise hit when I've served it alongside all the other curries I do - although I consider it to be more of a side dish than a curry in its own right, as it's so quick and easy - it takes literally minutes. I originally added the tamarind to use up whatever was left over from the above curry, and it makes for quite a hot and sour flavour.


2 large red onions, thickly sliced
3 large red peppers, deseeded and thickly sliced lengthways
1/2 tsp dried ginger
1 clove of garlic, crushed
1 400g can of chickpeas, or dried equivalent, soaked and cooked
1 400g can of chopped tomatoes, or fresh equivalent
Hot pepper sauce
Tamarind pulp
Lime juice

Heat some oil in a pan and add the onions and peppers. Cook slowly, until they've softened slightly, but still have bite. Add the ginger and garlic, stirring briskly, then add the chickpeas, tomatoes, hot pepper sauce and tamarind pulp. Note that I haven't included amounts for the hot pepper sauce or tamarind pulp - this is because everyone's taste differs on this. I usually start with a tsp of hot pepper sauce (that gives quite a kick, believe me!) and a tbsp of tamarind pulp and go from there. When satisfied with the flavour, simmer for 20 mins and check again. Adjust the seasoning and add a squeeze of lime juice, and serve with a generous handful of chopped coriander leaf sprinkled on top.


These recipes look wonderful. Bah, if only I wasn't the only person in the house who eats Indian...can these be batch-cooked and frozen?

I'm sure Neil won't be turning green this time. :)
Green with envy, perhaps.
I like the idea of grinding my own curry powder, although I'm not sure I would bother to do it. I'm also intrigued by tamarinds - I saw some fresh ones in Tescos, but I wasn't sure what they were (I've just Googled and I think they might have been tamarind plums - they were small, squat and very dark purple with a fairly hard suede-like surface)

I often make curries that are quite similar to the second one, but I use ready-made powder or (don't hit me) ready-made sauce from a jar.