Currying favour


By Jan Bilton

Chilly days equal warming curries. There are some good curry pastes readily available from supermarkets and Asian food stores — ideal for quick family meals. However, there is nothing quite like the tingling taste of a genuine aromatic curry created from scratch. But they do include more than a sprinkling of spices.

Because there can be up to 20 ingredients in any one recipe, it’s important to have everything measured out before you start cooking. 

Indian curries can be served with rice, and/or naan to mop up the juices, as well as refreshing raitas — a cooling mix of vegetables, herbs or fruits sometimes combined with yoghurt. A tomato and mint salad or diced fresh pineapple or a crisp red onion salad are also simple but delicious accompaniments.


Pan-frying the spices enhances the flavour. Prepare all the ingredients before you start cooking.

Malabar Prawn Curry

2 tablespoons canola oil

1/4 teaspoon mustard seeds

8 curry leaves

1 large onion, thinly sliced

1 tablespoon grated root ginger

3 cloves garlic, crushed

1/2 teaspoon each: chilli powder, ground turmeric, coriander, cumin

2 tomatoes, chopped

1 tablespoon tamarind paste

400g can coconut milk

400g raw shelled prawns

Heat the oil in a non-stick pan. Add the mustard seeds and cook until beginning to pop. Add the curry leaves and cook on medium for 1 minute. Stir in the onion and sauté until softened. Add the ginger, garlic, dried spices and tomatoes. Stir-fry for 1 minute.

Gradually stir in the tamarind paste then the coconut milk. Add the shelled prawns and cook on low until pink, about 2-3 minutes.

Great served topped with coriander leaves. Serves 3-4.

  • Jan Bilton is a Cambridge-based, professional food writer. For more of her recipes visit her website here.

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