A simple curry recipe that can be used as a base for any meat or vegetable curry, and added to lentils to make tarka dhal. Preparation takes a while mostly because you make your own curry powder. But relax, it’s not difficult.
2 tbsp cumin seeds
1½ tbsp coriander seeds
2 tsp chilli powder or dried chillies, or fresh chillies (add/subtract to taste)
2-3 inches ginger (Hint: you can peel and freeze fresh ginger)
1 medium head garlic
1 medium onion
1 kg chicken or beef, cut into bigger than bite-size pieces
1 tin tomatoes (or 5 fresh and peeled)
1 tbsp turmeric
6-8 cardamom pods
Salt & pepper
Fresh coriander to garnish
Dhal is an excellent accompaniment to curry either with the curry mix added for tarka dhal, or left simply seasoned with salt for plain dhal – which is a good antidote to super hot curry!
If you don’t know the hotness of your chillies, hold you head over the frying spices and breathe. If your eyes water, it’s probably hot enough. Remember that adding water kicks the chillies into action. This is why you should never drink water to quell a fiery mouth – lassi, yoghurt or milk is your only solution.
Keep your spices in the freezer, they stay fresher longer.
Curry and tarka dhal taste even better the next day and better still if they've been frozen. Water galvanizes the chilli and ice crystals forming within the curry boosts the whole taste sensation.
Poppadums can be made in seconds and fat free in a microwave.
For perfect basmati rice, measure then rinse the rice. Add double the amount of boiling water, a pat of butter and a pinch of salt then simmer with the lid on. Check in 10-20 minutes, depending on the amount of rice cooking.