Curry paste – the homemade version

In 1989, just after we got married, I bought a book on Curries by Pat Chapman from Sainsbury’s.  Despite now owning several other curry recipe books, it’s still our ‘go to’ book for all things spicy!  We’ve been blending the spices into curry powder and cooking it out in to a curry paste ever since then.  It’s been tried and tested by many a guest to our house over the years, and as I used almost the last of my current batch making my chicken curry for dinner last night, I had to make some more today.  The benefit of making it today in the warm, dry weather, meant that I could cook it outdoors on my Cadac barbeque in the paella pan; sharing the amazing aroma with my neighbours and leaving my house smelling fragrant and not spicy for the next few days!

It’s incredibly simple to do, so here it is in it’s entirety.  All teaspoon measurements are ROUNDED.
 
12tsp Ground Coriander
6tsp Ground Cumin
5tsp Gram flour
5tsp Garlic powder
4tsp Fenugreek seeds
4tsp Paprika*
4tsp Turmeric
4tsp Garam Masala
1tsp Asafoetida
1tsp Ground Ginger
1tsp Chilli powder*
1tsp Mustard powder*
1tsp White ground Pepper
250ml Cider vinegar
250ml Vegetable oil

1. Measure all your ingredients into a large bowl.

2. Pour in your cider vinegar and enough cold water to make a paste that ‘dollops’ off the spoon without being too runny.
3. Heat the oil in a large frying pan or wok (I used my paella pan on my Cadac).
 
4. Add the curry paste (be careful as it’ll spit initially due to the water content).
 
5. Cook for about 15 minutes until the water has evaporated.  You’ll know it’s cooked as when you leave it for a short while, the oil will rise to the surface of the paste.
6. Allow to cool for a few minutes and then decant into sterilised jars.
 
7. Heat a little more oil and pour over the top of the curry paste to prevent air getting to it.
 
8. Seal the jars and store in a cool, dark place for a couple of weeks before using.
The recipe above is for a mild curry paste, however if you increase the quantities of Paprika, Chiili and Mustard you can increase the heat to your own preference. Similarly, if you don’t have all the ingredients listed above, it’s fine to leave one or two of the smaller quantities out.
This goes perfectly in my Chicken Curry Recipe.
 
The curry paste recipe is NOT originally my own, but it’s one we’ve been using for 25 years now. Thanks to Pat Chapman and to Sainsbury’s for a fabulous book – you should re-publish this!
 

Jerk Chicken with a Pineapple Salsa

Make this as hot or as mild as you like by adjusting the seasoning.  Enjoy with the hot pineapple salsa and a fresh, crisp salad.  Also great with some proper, crispy chips (sprinkled with sea salt) for an extra special treat!

For the Salsa
175g Fresh Pineapple (tinned and drained if you can’t get fresh)
4 Spring Onions, chopped
50g Red Pepper, chopped
5mm piece root Ginger, grated
15ml Cider vinegar
15ml Soft brown sugar
60ml Barbeque sauce
Jerk Chicken
4 Chicken breasts, boned and skinned
60ml Rapeseed oil
30ml Lemon juice
15ml Jamaican Jerk / Cajun seasoning (adjust to taste)

1. Preheat your grill to a medium/hot setting.
2. To make your salsa, into a saucepan place all of your ingredients and warm through over a gentle heat.
3. Make 2/3 incisions into the chicken breasts with a sharp knife and rub all over with 30ml of the oil.
4. Sprinkle over the Jamaican Jerk/Cajun seasoning.
5. Mix the remaining 30ml oil with the lemon juice to use as a baste for the chicken breasts.
6. Grill the chicken breasts, seasoning side up for 4-5 minutes.
7. Baste occasionally with the oil and lemon juice mixture.
8. Turn over the chicken and grill for 3-4 minutes on the other side.
9. Turn over the chicken breasts back over to the seasoning side up, baste with the remaining baste and turn up the grill to the highest setting.
10. Grill for 5 minutes until crisp and dark in colour.
11. Serve with some of the warm pineapple salsa.

For the chicken breasts, if you prefer, you can either
a) Fry strips of the seasoned chicken for 8-10 minutes, or
b) Baste, season and cook the whole chicken breasts for 15 minutes at 190°C

Apple & Sultana Chutney with a Chilli Kick

My basic apple & sultana chutney with a little bit of a ‘kick’.  This is great to cook if you need to clear your head.  Remember to put the extractor fan on high though!

1.5kg Cooking Apples, cored and finely diced; no need to peel
750g Light Muscovado sugar
500g Sultanas
1 Medium white onion, finely chopped
1 Medium red onion, finely chopped
10ml Mustard seeds
10ml Ground Ginger
10ml Ground coriander
10ml Garlic powder
10ml dried Chilli flakes
5ml Salt
300ml Cider vinegar
300ml Red Wine Vinegar
150ml Balsamic Vinegar

1. In a large, heavy based pan, combine all the ingredients.

2. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat to medium and simmer, uncovered, for 45-60 minutes, stirring frequently until thick & syrup-like.  Remember to keep it moving every minute or so as it gets thicker to prevent it sticking to the pan.

3. Remove from the heat and leave to cool for a while.
4. Decant into hot, clean, sterilised jars and seal.

5. Store in a cool, dark place for 2-3 weeks for the flavours to develop fully before enjoying.