The ability to cook a really good curry will elevate you above the plebs – unfortunately all too many homemade curries are either bland and watery or just one-dimensionally hot and lacking in finesse.
Fortunately yours don’t have to be like this.
In the privacy of your own kitchen it can be hard to come up with something exactly like a curry you'd eat in a restaurant (largely due to the lack of proper tandoor ovens and other specialised equipment in most homes), but you can make a curry at home that's both excellent in it's own right and also significantly healthier than the old tandoori restaurant standards - which is a particular concern of mine at the moment, obviously.
Chicken Tikka Bhuna
For best results, preparation the day before is required. The recipe works equally well with king prawns.
Ingredients - serves four
Onions, 2 large or 3 small, quartered
Tomatoes, 4-5, quartered
Mixed vegetable Balti
Heat the oil in a big, lidded pan, and fry the garlic, ginger and chilli, adding the onion and dried spices after a couple of minutes. These spices are just a guide – you can achieve different flavours with other combinations.
Keep the heat on high and add all your vegetables, with a little water and lemon juice if it’s too dry. Ensure everything is mixed up and your spices are nicely coating everything.
After a few minutes, turn the heat down to somewhere in the middle and stick the lid on. Leave to cook for about an hour, stirring occasionally.
You’ll find the liquid level increases somewhat, so you might need to add a little flour to thicken things up. Stir in plenty of natural yoghurt and cook on high again for five minutes or so before serving.
Garlic Saag Bhaji
Melt the butter in a large frying pan, and fry the onion on high for a couple of minutes, before adding the garlic, asafoetida and black onion seeds.
Continue to fry the onion and spices and ensure the surface of the pan is coated with flavoursome goodness, then start adding your spinach leaves.
You should have enough spinach to fill the pan and still have some left over – don’t worry, it will reduce exponentially in volume.
Keep the spinach moving so that the onion and garlic are all mixed in, and keep going until you’ve added all the leaves.
This dish can be kept in the pan and reheated later, or indeed microwaved.