A fabulous store-cupboard curry sauce

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This is an even simpler version of my Fish Curry (recipe here). Now that curry was hardly extravagant, but this version uses even fewer ingredients and still tastes, as my partner said the other day, “bloody good”. Praise indeed!

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This has still got to be my go-to curry sauce. Once made, you just add whatever you want to it. I blitzed up a red pepper that was lurking in the fridge to make the paste this time, which worked particularly well, adding a nice flavour and a gorgeous colour but I have made it before with a few tomatoes.

Video recipe

If you want to see my brief video of this dish, it can be found here.

Adding to the sauce for a gorgeous curry

Some of my favourite additions to the freshly-made sauce include:

  • chicken (fresh chicken or left-over roast chicken, for example)
  • fish
  • butternut squash chunks
  • cauliflower
  • chick peas
  • lentils

If using fresh chicken, I recommend thighs (with or without the bones): they have a better flavour than breast and they are less expensive. I just pop them into the curry sauce, put a lid on and simmer gently until cooked.

The onion, fish sauce and ginger are what really make this curry sing: any onions work well. They get blitzed in a food processor to a paste which forms the base of the curry, needing just water and then whaterver you want to bulk it out: chicken, prawns, vegetables, chick peas, lentils……

If you haven’t got any fresh ginger you can use powdered ginger or stem ginger from the jar  – I’ve given the adaptations in the recipe below.

Bulking it up further

If you have a few potatoes or carrots, add those to the curry sauce too. It can really take what you throw at it, to make what might seem a little go a long way.

If you want a richer, creamier curry then add half a can or so of coconut milk just before you add the chicken or veg. You can freeze the remainder of the coconut milk.

Recipe: a fabulous store-cupboard curry sauce- serves 4

  • 3 large onions – any type – peeled
  • 4 fat cloves of garlic, separated into cloves and peeled
  • 4″ piece fresh ginger, peeled (or 3 pieces stem ginger from a jar or 2 teaspoons powdered ginger)
  • 1 red pepper, de-seeded, if you have one
  • 2 teaspoons chilli powder or a fresh red chilli (go hotter if you prefer)
  • 4 tablespoons Thai fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons caster sugar
  • 600ml water
To finish:
  • 4 chicken thighs

(1) Put the paste ingredients into a food processor. Blitz for a few moments.

NB: you can omit the water first and cook this off in a pan first for about 10 minutes to release the flavours, and then add the water and proceed as below. Either way, you will get a great curry!

(2) Add to a pan and bring to a simmer. Put the lid on and cook for about 20 minutes before removing the lid and cooking for a further 15-20 minutes to reduce slightly. This is now a great curry sauce that is ready to be add what you want to it in order give a wonderful curry:

(3) Add the meat/fish/vegetables/pulses and simmer gently until they are fully cooked.

NB: if you prefer the curry sauce to be thicker, you can add some cornflour mixed with water and let it cook out for about a minute.

Author: Philip

Finalist on Britain’s Best Home Cook (BBC Television 2018). Published recipe writer with a love of growing fruit & veg, cooking, teaching and eating good food.

6 thoughts on “A fabulous store-cupboard curry sauce”

  1. Curry is such a nice sauce, goes well with everything, as you said. I really like it with a mild white fish, although sometimes I mention it to people and they turn their noses… their loss, right?

    Liked by 1 person

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