A brief lesson about curry and a versatile recipe

First, a little lesson about the word curry.  Curry is a western word taken from the word kari, which means sauce.  So by definition anything that contains any combination of liquid, vegetables, spices, meats, and herbs could be called curry.  Some people tend to think of curry being limited to Indian, Pakistani, Bengali and other southeast Asian foods.  You could fairly refer to spaghetti sauce as “italian curry.” Moving forward I want to share how to start any amazing kari.  This simple recipe is the bare minimum necessary to cook a lot of amazing dishes.  It’s also cheap to make, easily accessible, and versatile in any situation.  I prefer mine spicy, but it can be cooked with any spice level or absolutely none.

A recipe for bomb ass curry:

1T extra virgin olive oil 6 Full cloves of garlic (garlic adds great aroma, flavor, and health benefits) Near equal amounts of chopped ginger (does everything that garlic does) 4 thai chili peppers, or 1 jalapeno with seeds (reduce seeds for less spice), or no peppers at all. 1 medium sized onion (any kind will work fine) 3 roma or vine ripened tomatoes

Macro shot of garlic, ginger, and onions.

Jalapenos are relatively easy to find so, I use them often.

Put oil over medium heat and begin chopping the garlic, ginger, and peppers.  Add them to the oil and heat for about 5-7 minutes to allow the oil to take on those flavor.  Chop the onion and add it to the mix.  Coat the onions with the oil and add a pinch of seat salt to help sweat them.  Cook the onions until they’re soft and translucent.  Stir occasionally to prevent burning.  Add the tomatoes to the mix and slowly cook until they separate from the oil.  Cook them over low heat to avoid evaporating your liquid. The longer the better.

Macro shot of what it looks like to cook down tomatoes.

This is used as a basis for a lot of meals in my kitchen.

From here is where your curry becomes something unique. This is the time you want to add some dry spices to the mix, to give it a certain flavor. Garlic powder, chili powder, and black pepper are great things to start with. I make a lot of Indian food, so at this point I’d add some combo of cumin, coriander, turmeric, cloves, and cinnamon. You could go a different route and add some spices like oregano, basil, and bay leaves and turn it into a spaghetti style curry. There are lots of options.

You can also add other liquids to this to change the base a bit. This can adjust the consistency as well as the flavor by doing this. For example, some coconut milk to the Indian spices I listed above would make a delicious thai curry.  A bit of chipotle sauce can help make mexican style curry, or some spaghetti sauce for italian curry.  Simply adding vegetable stock could help turn it into a soup. Be as creative as you’d like!

I cook with a lot of fresh vegetables and any of them go just fine in nearly any style sauce.  Cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, bell peppers, peas, spinach,  potatoes, and any number of other things.   You can add any type of protein you prefer (i use legumes like lentils and beans) and consume it in a variety of ways.   For a lighter meal, I like to spoon mine over fresh baby spinach.  For a meal to go, I will make a burrito using the curry.  At home I tend to eat it over brown rice.  Rice is cheap and paired with the beans, gives a complete and healthy protein.

garbage can curry

Before I go grocery shopping, I cook whatever is left over from the week. I call it garbage can curry.

left-over curry

Curry is even better the next day.  If you store it in the fridge over night, the flavors have a longer time to mix and mingle.  It can be reheated, but I just eat mine cold.  Curry can be used to make new food as well by adding additional ingredients.  You could turn a mexican curry into a pasta by adding a can of pre made spaghetti sauce and make a new meal out of it.  My favorite thing to do is use my leftover curry in breakfast the next day.

I’ll save the breakfast curry recipe for another time though! Until then, let me know what you think of this article by leaving a comment below.  Think of something creative to do with your kari and share your experiences.  I’d love to know how they turn out!

  • Doc

    MMM Couple of eggs over easy on top and some cheese!! Now I’m hungry!!