Every month or so I make a big batch of paste, jar it up, and keep it in the cupboard so it’s on hand for quick and easy curries. We eat quite a lot of curry just because it’s quick but versatile…sometimes I serve it with a coconut and cardamon rice, sometimes with spelt flat breads, or my favourite is bombay potatoes with spinach! I use this paste as a base, which is I suppose closest in flavour to a Jalfrezi, but if I want a different take then I’ll add in things like coconut cream, ground almonds, fresh lime, roasted peanuts, coriander…every curry turns out different depending on what I have to hand!
Makes around a 500ml jar:
1 medium red onion
1 stick celery
4 lg cloves garlic
2 thumb size pieces fresh ginger
4 medium red chilli’s
2 red, yellow, or orange peppers
1 tbsp nigella seeds
1 tbsp mustard seeds
2 tbsp cumin seeds
1 tbsp ground tumeric
1 tbsp fennel seeds
4 tbsp tomato puree
4 tbsp olive oil
Dry toast the seeds in a pan until fragrant but not browned. Roughly chop the onion, celery and peppers and saute until just taking on some colour (the idea is to evaporate some of the water content so the flavours are more concentrated).
Slice the garlic, ginger and chilli’s and add to a blender along with the rest of the ingredients, blend to a paste consistency.
Transfer to a large jar and top up with extra oil so the surface is completely covered, this will stop air getting to it so preserving it. It will keep for about a month in a cool cupboard.
As a rough guide I’d use two tablespoons per curry for two. If you want it hotter add in some fresh chilli’s whilst cooking.