If you browse around here at The Yummy Kind, it’ll quickly become obvious I am a child of the world…or, at least, my mouth is. I love all types of ethnic cuisines, and am elated each time I taste (and/or cook) something new.
Considering how much I have loved Indian food for years, it surprised me to realize I’d never made my own curry paste. Upon realizing this, I delved into reading about various types of curries (North Indian, South Indian, etc.) and how widely the components may vary.
A few side notes before we get into this paste-making business:
- Curry, as a noun, is simply a spiced meat or vegetable dish. It’s components vary widely the world over.
- Curry powders are spice blends that, while they do contain curry leaves, are a mix of all types of spices. And, again, what’s included varies widely depending on where you are in the world.
- For the curry paste in my recipe, I focused on making my own Garam Masala (which simply means warm or hot spices) and then mixing that with wet ingredients (tomato, onion, ginger, garlic) to make a paste.
- 2 whole bay leaves
- 1 t black peppercorns
- 3 black cardamom pods
- 8 green cardamom pods
- ½ t cinnamon
- 2 T coriander seeds (yes, tablespoons)
- 1 t geera (or roasted cumin)
- ½ t tumeric
- 6 cloves
- ½ red onion, diced
- 2 T fresh ginger
- 6 cloves garlic
- 1 dried hot chili (or more, to taste)
- 2-3 T water (to get the blades running in your food processor)
- 2 T oil or Earth Balance (to cook the paste in)
- 1 whole tomato, diced
- Throw all of the spices in the garam masala list into a coffee grinder, or high-speed blender (like a Magic Bullet) and blend until you’ve got a fine powder.
- Put onion, ginger, garlic, chili, and water in a food processor and blend until it is a watery paste.
- Heat the oil or vegan butter in a heavy-bottomed pot over medium high heat.
- Add the wet ingredients from your food processor (only! don’t add the spices yet).
- Cook, stirring often, until moisture has evaporated, mixture has thickened and is starting to turn brown (about 15 minutes – yes, it takes patience for good curry!)
- Add in the tomatoes and cook another 5-8 minutes until they are totally broken down and blended into the paste and it is thick again.
- Add spices and cook 2-3 minutes more until mixture is very, very dark red/brown and very thick.
- Store in a tight-lidded jar until you’re ready to make a curry in a hurry!