I first started getting into curry in the beginning of my food journey and soon learned that curry can be somewhat of a daunting dish to make. There are tons of different types of curries and styles that picking just one to make can be an very overwhelming process. Even picking and prepping the ingredients and aromatics can be a bit too much sometimes.
However, it's such a delicious dish that opens you up to a whole new variety of cuisines and flavors that it's worth taking the time to learn how to make it. So, to help kick start your love for curry and to help you learn more about it, I created a delicious master curry paste out of ingredients like lemongrass, Thai chilies, and the fresh turmeric. You can use this paste in a variety of dishes because it has a wide spectrum of flavor but still manages to be extremely versatile. I used this one master curry paste and turned it into three different curries, from three different countries, each with totally different flavor profiles, and techniques. Beef Rendang, vegetarian indian curry, and Thai coconut curry with crispy chicken! Click here to see how they came out.
Aromatic Master Curry:
Large handful of cilantro, stems only (save the leaves for garnishing)
4 knobs of fresh turmeric, skin peeled
7 cloves of Garlic, skin peeled
1 large piece of ginger, skin peeled and cut into large knobs
3 Shallots, skin peeled & sliced in half
2 stalks of Lemongrass, skin peeled and cut into short pieces
5 Thai green chilies
4 Serrano chilies, deseeded & split lengthwise
In a food processor, add in the cilantro, turmeric, garlic, ginger, shallots, lemongrass, and serrano chilies. Blend into a fine paste.
Next, give it a taste to see if you like the spicy flavor. Then add in as many or as little green thai chilies that you’d like. I choose 5 for a nice balance spicy curry paste.
** Note that the total blend time was about 7 minutes to get it to the consistency of a well blended curry paste**
2 tablespoons of coconut oil
¼ cup of your master curry
2 pounds of beef chuck, cut into 2 inch cubes
1 ½ cans of full fat coconut milk
1 cardamom pod
Sprinkle of Cumin
1 star anise
1 cinnamon stick
Salt & pepper to taste
¼ cup of toasted coconut flakes
In a large pot on low heat, add in 2 tablespoons of coconut oil and your master curry. Cook until the moisture from the curry is gone and you begin to fry and caramelize your curry paste.
Next, add in your beef chunks and fry until the moisture of the beef also dissipates. Once that happens you will begin to fry your beef and the curry paste will begin to seperate. The more patience you have with the first two steps is where your flavors really begin to amplify so be patient!
At this point, pour in enough full fat coconut milk to cover your beef chunks. I used 1 ½ cups. Along with the milk add in the cardamom, cumin, star anise, cinnamon stick, and little pinch of salt. Cover the pot and cook for about 1.5 hours.
Check on your beef rendang, give it a stir, and put the lid back on but keep it cracked open to reduce some of the liquid. Approx 30 more minutes.
Give it another stir and continue to cook for 15 - 30 more minutes. At this point, most of the liquid should be gone and the oil is basically deep frying the beef.
Add in toasted coconut flakes and serve over some fluffy white rice. Finish off with some fresh cilantro leaves and dig in!
Vegetarian Indian Curry
1 tablespoon of crushed garlic
1 teaspoon of ghee
1 teaspoon of neutral oil
1 teaspoon of cumin
3 - 4 cardamom pods
1 teaspoon of coriander
1 teaspoon of mustard seeds
¼ cup of curry paste
3 fresh tomatoes, cut into small cubes
1 cup of dried chickpeas, soaked in water overnight
1 tablespoons of masala powder
1 teaspoon of salt
½ cup of asparagus
½ cup of chopped cilantro
In a large heavy enamel pot on medium low heat, add in 1 tablespoon of crushed garlic, 1 teaspoon of ghee, 1 teaspoon of neutral oil, 1 teaspoon of cumin, 3 -4 Cardamom pods, and 1 teaspoon of coriander. Let this mixture cook and temper your whole spices.
Once they are all toasted, sprinkle in the mustard seeds and let everything toast once more. This step will take approximately 3 minutes.
Next, add in your curry paste and fry for 5 minutes on medium to low heat. Add in your fresh tomatoes along with 1 ½ cups of water.
Add in your soaked dried chickpeas and cook until it comes to a simmer, cover with a lid, and cook for 15 minutes. You can also use canned chickpeas too.
Next, take the lid off and add in 1 tablespoons of masala powder and 1 teaspoon of salt. Everything will come to a boil so keep an eye on it and stop cooking when it comes to the consistency that you like and the chickpeas are fully cooked through.
Finally, add in your asparagus and cilantro. Cook just until the veggies are just tender. Serve over warm fluffy rice and enjoy while hot!
Thai Coconut Curry
3 boneless chicken thighs
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon of neutral oil
¼ cup of curry paste
1 cup of broccoli tops
½ cup cup of sugar snap peas
Handful of basil
Squeeze of lime juice
The night before, salt and pepper your chicken thighs and leave it in the fridge overnight. This dries out the chicken skin and will help create a delicious crispy chicken skin.
In a large skillet, cook the thighs skin side down on medium heat. Don't worry about cooking it all the way through. You really just want some nice golden brown color.
Next, add in your curry paste and fry until super fragrant and the moisture has been fried off as well!
Add in a pinch of salt and pour in 1/2 cup of coconut milk and cook until the oil separates from the curry paste. Next, add in about 2 tablespoons of water just to thin it out and cook for just a couple of minutes.
Add in your broccoli tops, sugar snap peas, and diced crispy chicken. Cook for 5 minutes or until you veggies are tender NOT mushy and the chicken has been cooked through.
Lastly, add in your basil and a squeeze of lime. Serve over rice and enjoy!