Curry 3 ways
A delicious richly flavoured curry base suggested by my colleague Parmi. Her mother would cook this paste daily, but as a working mother, Parmi prefers to cook it in batches and freeze some. Far tastier and lower in sugar than shop bought curry pastes. Serve with a cooling cucumber raitha and cauli-rice for a filling meal and one that will help re-set your metabolism and bolster your immunity.
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Makes 3 batches
- 4 tbsp coconut, olive or rapeseed oil
- 3 medium onions, peeled and finely chopped
- 5 tsp curry powder (hot, medium or mild, to taste)
- 25g fresh root ginger, peeled and finely chopped
- 3 large garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped (about 10g)
- 20g bunch fresh coriander, roughly chopped
- Heat the oil in a large non-stick saucepan over a moderate heat with the onions. Cover with a lid and cook gently for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add the curry powder and continue to cook for a few seconds, then stir in the ginger and garlic and cook for a further 10 minutes, stirring regularly. Add a tablespoon of water halfway through, and again if the spices begin to stick.
- Stir in the coriander and a further 3 tablespoons of water and cook for 1-2 minutes more, or until softened, stirring constantly. Remove the pan from the heat.
- Use a stick blender, or a food processor. Blitz into a paste. Skip this stage if you prefer to keep the texture. Season well with salt and ground black pepper.
- Divide into roughly 3 portions (each for 2 people) and use immediately to make your curry, or cool and place in the fridge or freezer to use later.
Serving suggestions for the curries below – Serve with cauliflower-rice and scatter over coriander leaves if you like. Include cooked green veg or a salad.
Non-FAST DAYS: Increase portion size and serve with a drizzle of full-fat yoghurt or raitha. You might also include 2-3 tablespoons of brown or wild rice.
Chicken & chickpea curry:
Calories per serving: 386
- 1 tbsp coconut, rapeseed or olive oil 4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 450g), trimmed and quartered
- 1 batch basic curry paste
- 1 × 210g can chickpeas in water
- 1× 400g can chopped tomatoes
- Heat the oil in a large non-stick saucepan over a medium heat. Add the chicken and fry for 5 minutes, or until lightly coloured, turning occasionally.
- Stir in the curry paste and cook for 2–3 minutes more, stirring regularly.
- Add the tomatoes, half ll the can with water and pour this into the pan as well. Add the chickpeas without draining them and bring to a gentle simmer.
- Cover loosely with a lid and cook for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is tender and the sauce has thickened. Add a little extra water if needed and season well with salt and pepper.
Spinach and paneer curry:
Calories per serving: 325 calories
- 1 batch basic curry paste, thawed if frozen
- 400g can chopped tomatoes
- 100g paneer cheese, cut into roughly 1.5cm cubes
- 2 generous handfuls of fresh spinach leaves (around 75g) or frozen, defrosted.
- Put the curry paste and the tomatoes in a large, non-stick frying pan and bring to a gentle simmer. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring regularly.
- Add 200ml of water, then the spinach, a handful at a time and simmer gently for 2-3 minutes more, stirring.
- Then drop the cheese on top and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until the cheese is hot.
Red Lentil Dhal:
Calories per serving: 302
- 80g dried red split lentils
- 1 batch basic curry paste
- 1 tbsp coconut, rapeseed or olive oil
- 1 small onion, peeled and sliced into rings fresh coriander leaves, to serve (optional)
- Place the lentils, curry paste and 400ml water in a medium non-stick saucepan. Bring to a simmer and cook for 15–20 minutes, or until the lentils are very soft, stirring occasionally. Add a splash more water, if needed. The dhal should be very soft and not too thick.
- Meanwhile, heat the oil in a small frying pan and gently fry the onion until pale golden, turning frequently. Set aside.
- When you are ready to serve, spoon the onion rings on top of the dhal and scatter with coriander leaves, if using.