I know that making your own curry paste might sound like a ginormous pain in the arse, and there will be a part of you that keeps whispering ‘Why the hell are we bothering with this?’ but trust me, it’s really good. And the big benefit of making your own curry paste is that you can tweak it to suit your taste, and it will be much more aromatic than commercially-produced curry paste without having to be a visit to chilli-town. If there’s a particular spice you don’t like, just substitute for something you do. I pretty much used a bit of everything, and invented this mix by combining and tweaking three or four different recipes. This will be a spiritual adventure, a commitment to experimentation and discovering what you like most in this world (or at least in the world of spices and aromatics).
Also, all measurements are really approximate, but don’t worry, this is really really really hard to screw up. Just zen it, baby.
- 10 cloves
- 2 tsp peppercorns
- 3 tbsp cumin
- 3 tbsp cardamom
- 1 tbsp paprika
- 2 tsp chilli powder
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 2 tsp turmeric
- 1 onion
- 3 large garlic cloves
- 2 inch square of ginger
- 6 tbsp fresh coriander leaves (approx. half a bunch)
- juice of half a lemon
- 2 tbsp white vinegar
Put cloves and peppercorns in mortar and pestle or spice grinder and grind.
Optional: drop unsealed packet of whole peppercorns all over your kitchen floor and discover what a minefield that can be.
Add the rest of the dry spices and stir together.
Transfer spice mixture to
spice harvester food processor.
Optional: make Dune jokes in your head because you live alone with no pets and this is the most entertaining thing you’ve done today.
Roughly chop onion, garlic and ginger. Add to food processor.
Add coriander, lemon juice and vinegar.
Mix on high speed until thoroughly chopped and combined.
Optional: open food processor, discover just how much sulfenic acid* comes out when you blend a whole onion, cry like a baby.
At this stage, you can either slather the paste all over meat as a marinade, or scoop it into a jar and store in the refrigerator for, like, probably a while. This recipe makes about a jarful, which should be enough for two strong batches of curry or 3 weaker ones. So I guess it’s 8-12 servings of curry paste. It’s hard to say.
I like to cook this up with chicken, sweet potato, carrot and capsicum. When cooking, add a small tin of coconut cream or yoghurt, and as much water as you need to achieve appropriate curry texture. Serve with rice and extra coriander, if that’s your thing.
*actually onion tears are caused by a particular reaction with 1-propenesulfenic acid which creates syn-Propanethial-S-oxide, but that’s not nearly as catchy.