How to Make Curry

Maple and Marigold
Watch: CHCH Morning Live – How to Make Curry – October Comfort Cooking

Making curry and busting myths. I take what is normally a complex combination of spices and flavours and simplify it using 7 ingredients so it can be replicated in your kitchen even on a busy weeknight. Watch the segment and take your cooking up a notch with my kitchen hacks and planet-friendly twists.

How to Make (North-Indian Style) Curry; Sharing Tips and Busting Myths

Curry has been making all the food headlines recently so I wanted to come on here and tackle this amazing, aromatic, sometimes-misunderstood dish that people love to try and invariably fall in love with.

This dish is a great building block that can be tweaked into a ton of plant-based and non-vegetarian options. Every community and region in India has their own recipe so people often customize the dish to suit their own family’s preferences.

Busting Myths

First the name — it used to make me cringe because this dish is named after curry leaves aka kadi patta….an aromatic  spice leaf that is often NOT FOUND in this dish. The story goes that when the British invaders landed in India, this was one of the dishes that caught their fancy and so off they went replicating it in jolly ol’ England. Of course misunderstandings ensued and generations ago the name stuck. This is also how curry powder came to be – it’s a spice blend that is omnipresent in England and Canada but very, very hard to find in India.

Watch the TV segment for tips and hacks for making curry at home. Here are the highlights:

  • Add in wilted greens – they make a great foil to the spices and bring big flavour
  • Use yoghurt at the end for its mood-boosting properties. Not chicken stock!
  • Use this basic spice palette to start your Indian spice box – coriander seed powder, cumin seeds, cinnamon, turmeric, garam masala (the first spice blend)

 Basic Curry Recipe – Method

Here is my fool-proof formula. You will need a heavy-bottomed pan and 7 ingredients, added to the pan in this order:

  •  Oil/ Ghee
  • Whole spices (cumin seeds, cinnamon)
  • Ginger
  • Garlic
  • Onions

Cook for 7-8 min on medium heat.

Add in the powdered spices (coriander powder, turmeric powder, optional – garam masala). Then come the tomatoes if you’re using them.

Cook for another 7-8 minutes till the oil leaves a sheen on the side of the pan. Scrape it all in.

Add in veggies that you’re not sure what to do with, wilting greens, chicken, tofu, paneer whatever else you have on hand to make it a meal. Serve with rice or roti. Naan is served if it’s a special occasion.

Bonus Tips

If you’re making a big batch, double batch and freeze what you’re not going to use during the week.

Add whisked yoghurt at the end for a creamy taste. Water and a splash of cream works too.

Myth Busters!

There are a ton of misconceptions about curry that I would love to address:

  • Curry is just one dish from the rainbow of Indian cuisine but over the years its popularity on menus around the world has made it the dish that people are most familiar with.
  • The word is derived from the anglicized pronunciation of a traditional spice leaf- kadi patta.
  • Curry powder is not a thing in India, use garam masala for flavour instead 🙂
  • Whole and powdered spices are both essential and help build deep flavour. Example: spices like black cardamom, bay leaves and peppercorns along with cumin, coriander and cinnamon work so well in this dish.
  • Don’t add chicken broth unless you’re making a stew. The last step in making the masala where you separate the onions and oil is critical and brings ALL THE FLAVOUR. Adding chicken broth here would turn it all to mush – so don’t.

One More Myth Buster!

This morning I was on @chch_morninglive where I was showing people my fool-proof formula for making a simple homemade curry at home. @annette.hamm and I also tackled some of the misconceptions that people have about this humble yet omnipresent bowl of deliciousness. I ran out of time at the end but there is one more faux pas that I wanted to highlight.

And it’s also featured in the latest @canadianliving world cuisines magazine. Shocking, right?!

See my video on Instagram!

Puneeta Chhitwal-Varma<br/><small>Photo by Tanvi Madkaiker</small>
Puneeta Chhitwal-Varma
Photo by Tanvi Madkaiker

About Puneeta

Author, Educator, Speaker

Puneeta is a writer, food advocate and guide for those who seek earth-friendly, delicious solutions that work for real life.

4 Comments

  • My sister in law is Indian, and i was always intrigued with Indian method of making curry using mortar and pestle. The taste of crushing is way different that blending in a mixer.
    I always love to try new cuisine using traditional method of cooking. Will definitely try this making this curry tonight with couscous

    Reply
    • That sounds like a great plan! And mortar and pestle work so well! Let me know how it turns out! Thanks, Puneeta

      Reply

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