Domini Kemp: The magic of making a curry

There are as many curries to make as there are spices to buy – and they taste even better the next day

This column has seen me make many curries, and I will keep on producing recipes as long as I keep finding combinations that I simply have to share

This column has seen me make many curries, and I will keep on producing recipes as long as I keep finding combinations that I simply have to share

 

C urry. There are a gazillion versions of it – Thai, Indian, Malaysian, Chinese – yet we never seem to tire of it. It even has its own culinary tribute: the curry night.

It’s no wonder really. Curries are very versatile. They can be creamy and rich or light as a feather; vegetarian or meaty enough to satisfy a wrestler in training; meek and mild or so thronged with chilli it will make your nose run and have you reaching for a towel to mop your brow.

In short, anything goes, as long as the essentials are there: always spice, sometimes herbs and, usually, chilli in one form or another. The combinations can be complex too, requiring many spices – some of which may or may not need grinding or toasting – which together build layers of flavour and intensity that are mouth-wateringly good and decidedly moreish.

I often make curry in large batches just to enjoy another of its chief attractions: the fact that it is always, always better the next day, or even the day after that.

This is because those hard-working spices keep on chipping away, infusing the meat and vegetables and making the whole dish even more delicious. So delicious that I’ve even been known to eat curry for breakfast. Yum.

This column has seen me make many curries, and I will keep on producing recipes as long as I keep finding combinations that I simply have to share.

Curries, if they are not too hot, are real crowd-pleasers and most children will happily scoff them down, which makes them popular in my house.

And all those spices have amazing health benefits, too, particularly the anti-cancer curcumin (turmeric), which actually becomes much more powerful when it is cooked with pepper and oil. So be liberal with that grinder!

This week’s curry is an easy-going one-pot affair using either beef or lamb. It’s laden with vegetables, which ratchets up the nutritional content very nicely. It’s more Malaysian in inspiration than anything else, with coconut milk but also cinnamon and star anise that give it a rich base note.

And to go with it is another low-carb alternative to rice. Made with parsnips rather than the usual cauliflower, it needs only the gentlest warming through – with a knob of butter and a drop of hot water – to ready it for the table. If you wanted to make it fancier, you could add a teaspoon of turmeric, some toasted almonds and some crispy fried onions.

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