There’s nothing like a fragrant bowl of exotic curry when the weather turns chilly. Even better, make it memorable with a homemade curry paste – here’s how
Use your very own curry paste to create a powerhouse curry tailor-made to suit your preference. To do so, you’ll need to know which type of flavour profile you’d like to recreate. Well, Cape Malay and Durban-style curries are SA’s favourites – so let’s give them a try.
The Durban way
Durban curries are known for their distinct heat. Their key focus is mainly on the spices and the combinations thereof. Most Durban curries only use water or stock as a liquid for cooking along with the meat and vegetables. This is a simple cooking technique but make no mistake, these “simple” curries carry enough complexity and depth of flavour to hit home.
Try this Durban lamb curry recipe.
The Cape Malay way
Cape Malay curry hails from the Bo-Kaap in Cape Town, influenced by faraway countries from the likes of East Africa to Malaysia. These curries are generally milder in comparison to the Durban version, as the heat is more subdued. They are also richer and creamier, thanks to addition of coconut milk, cream and yoghurt along with a tomato base that lends a slight sweetness to it.
Try this Malay chicken curry recipe.
Once you’ve established the “curry route” you’d like to take, creating your spice mix should be quite easy. A general all-purpose kind of curry paste needs to include the following ingredients: whole cumin, coriander seeds, peppercorns, ground cumin, garam masala, curry powder, ground turmeric, paprika, garlic and ginger. These are the most common household pantry spices and feature in most, if not all curry pastes.
For a very basic curry paste, toast the whole spices until fragrant, then blitz or crush together with ground spices. Combine with garlic, ginger and oil and store in an airtight, sterilised jar and refrigerate. Once you’ve mastered the basic ratios of paste ingredients have fun in developing your signature curry paste.
For a spicier Durban-style curry, up the paprika quantity, use hot curry powder and include some fresh or dried chillies. If you’re opting for a more subtle Malay-style curry, use milder curry powder and up the garam masala and turmeric quantities.
Curry pastes are easy to make, long-lasting and are an inexpensive way to revive any dull cooking repertoire. Now go raid the spice rack and get cooking!