Curries have to be the best warming winter food, and they are easy to prepare and cook.
They use less expensive cuts of meat which become meltingly tender as they slow-cook, filling your home with a wonderful spicy aroma.
They can be bulked up with vegetables, helping to feed a hungry horde. Best of all, many curries improve on standing, so are ideal for preparing in advance.
You can grind and blend your own spice mixture or buy pastes and ready-mixed spices.
LAMB ROGAN JOSH
1kg lamb knuckles
1 large onion, chopped
10ml chopped garlic
10ml chopped ginger
3-5ml chilli powder
10ml ground coriander
5ml ground cumin
a pinch of cayenne pepper
1 cinnamon stick
400g tin of chopped tomatoes
400g tin of coconut milk
2 potatoes, peeled and cubed
fresh coriander for serving
Heat the oil and fry the lamb in batches until browned. Remove and set aside.
Add the onion, garlic and ginger to the pot and fry for a few minutes.
Add the salt, chilli powder, coriander, cumin, paprika, cayenne pepper and cinnamon stick and fry until fragrant.
Return the meat to the pot and coat with the spice mixture.
Add the tomatoes and coconut milk and bring to a simmer.
Add the potatoes. Cover and simmer for 2-3 hours until the meat is soft.
Adjust seasoning and serve sprinkled with coriander.
CHICKEN MASSAMAN CURRY
1 cinnamon quill
1 star anise
45ml sunflower oil
1 sachet of massaman curry paste
1 onion, roughly chopped
1kg skinless chicken thigh fillets, sliced
400g can of coconut milk
3 sweet potatoes, peeled, cubed
60ml roasted unsalted peanuts
30ml fish sauce
60ml tamarind puree
30ml brown sugar
2 lime leaves
2cm piece of ginger, grated
125ml chopped fresh coriander, plus extra for garnish
Heat a wok or saucepan over medium-high heat, add the cinnamon and star anise and heat until fragrant.
Add the oil and the massaman curry paste and fry for 2 minutes, until fragrant.
Add onion and cook, stirring for 1-2 minutes until softened.
Add chicken and cook for a few minutes.
Add the rest of the ingredients, bring to a simmer and cook, covered, for 15-20 minutes until the sweet potatoes are tender and the chicken is cooked through.
Adjust seasoning to taste and serve with basmati rice and extra coriander.
NOTE: Massaman spice paste is available from Woolworths or a good spice shop.
BATTERED FISH IN CURRY SAUCE
2 onions, peeled
60ml cooking oil
10ml mustard seeds
5ml fenugreek seeds
1 fresh chilli, seeds removed and thinly sliced
a handful of curry leaves, ripped into small pieces
2.5cm ginger root, grated
5ml chilli powder
1 can of coconut milk
15ml tamarind paste
1kg white fish fillets, cut into 3cm chunks
oil for deep frying.
Use a food processor to chop the onions. Use the same food processor to chop the tomatoes. Set both aside.
Heat the oil in a large pot and add the mustard seeds. Cook them until they start to pop.
Add the fenugreek, chilli, curry leaves and ginger. Cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add the onions and cook until they are golden brown.
Add the turmeric and the chilli powder. Cook for 5 minutes, then add the coconut milk and the tomatoes.
Bring to the boil and simmer until the sauce is thick. Season lightly.
Add the tamarind paste and simmer until time to serve.
Dip the fish cubes into flour, then into egg and then again into the flour. Place a few pieces at a time into the cooking oil, cook until golden brown and drain on kitchen paper.
To serve, place the fish on a platter and pour over the sauce. Serve with Jasmine rice.
CREAMY PANEER CURRY
1 onion, chopped
3 ripe tomatoes, chopped and blended
15ml chopped ginger
15ml chopped garlic
2 strands of mace
45ml cardamom pods, bruised and skins removed
60ml cashew nuts, chopped
30m tomato paste
1 bay leaf
red chilli powder to taste
1 whole green chilli
500g paneer, cubed
5-10ml garam masala
fresh coriander to serve
Put the onion, tomatoes, ginger, garlic, mace, cardamom, cashew nuts and tomato paste in a pot and simmer over a medium heat for 15-20 minutes or until the mixture reduces and forms a thick paste.
Put the paste into a blender with the water and puree until smooth.
Heat the butter and fry the bay leaf for 1-2 minutes.
Add the pureed paste with the chilli powder, whole green chilli, honey, cream and butter and simmer for 5-10 minutes.
Add the paneer, salt to taste and garam masala and heat through.
Serve sprinkled with coriander.
BEEF AND VEGETABLE CURRY
2 garlic cloves, crushed
15ml grated fresh ginger
15ml ground cumin
10ml curry powder
3ml ground cardamom
2ml cayenne pepper
1.5kg beef shin, cut into cubes
1 red chilli, deseeded and sliced
375ml beef stock
2 carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
180g green beans, topped and halved
200g cauliflower, cut into florets
200g butternut, cut into cubes
10ml garam masala
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 red onion, finely diced
30ml chopped coriander
30ml olive oil
15ml lime juice
salt and pepper
Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium high heat.
Fry the onion until soft. Add the garlic, ginger, spices and salt and fry until fragrant. Add the beef and cook, stirring, for 5-10 minutes, until browned. Add the chilli, tomatoes and beef stock.
Bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 1-2 hours, until the meat is tender. If using a pressure cooker, cook for 30 minutes.
Remove the lid and add the vegetables. Cook for 20 minutes, until they are soft.
Stir in the chutney and garam masala. Check seasoning.
Serve with salsa and basmati rice.
SALSA: Combine all the ingredients and mix.
Angela Day. The Star