How To Make Curry: An Easy, Healthy Recipe
Curry is my go-to comfort meal. It’s full of flavour and heat and best of all, it hits all the notes on the health scale. You start with a base of onions, garlic and ginger—all super high in antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Add some green and red chilies, also high in antioxidants, in particular vitamin C. Then you throw in a mix of spices that usually include turmeric, cinnamon, cardamom, coriander, cumin, fennel, cayenne pepper—all which pack an impressive punch of phyto-nutrients, essential oils, minerals and vitamins. Add a tomato and slow cook your meat or veg in this delicious sauce and you’ll be licking the bowl while your brain and body get a warm hug and a friendly kick in the pants.
Yet, so many people I meet are intimidated by making curry at home: too hard, too time-consuming, too many ingredients. Sure, you can order take-out, but then you can’t control the quality of the ingredients, especially the oil, which in most places is hydrogenated soybean or corn oil (let’s face it, for that price they’d never make money using coconut oil or ghee). You on the other hand, can use the best oils, best spices, your favourite meat or veg, and most importantly, flavour it the way you like.
Here are the top three rebuttals we hear for not cooking curry and our tips for embracing the curry love:
The ingredient list is too long: This is usually in reference to the long list of spices, many of which your average household doesn’t stock in the pantry (but is slowly coming round to!). First of all, you can simplify this by buying garam masala or a good curry powder, which are mixes of different spices and are actually called for in a lot of recipes these days. This is a great place to start. Just be careful, as conventional curry powders can contain fillers like wheat/gluten, salt, preservatives, food colouring. We started My Spice Box with the idea of offering people high quality, organic spices at a good price and in the quantities people need, since spices can lose their flavour and health benefits within six months. We offer a mild curry powder and a Curry Lover’s Spice Box, which includes all the ground spices you’ll need, along with some whole seeds to fry at the beginning. Sure, there are a lot of ingredients but is a spoonful here, a spoonful there really that tricky?
The process is too long: The process of layering flavour to make a good sauce can be time consuming but is truly worth every minute. That being said, on rushed weeknights why not stock up your slow cooker the night before (and sure, throw in that curry powder) and come home to the delicious smell of curry filling your house! Another quicker fix is preparing a curry paste the night before. Just blend garlic, ginger, onion and a mix of spices. The next day, fry the paste for 10 minutes and then add your meat and veg and cook for another 20 minutes. This will cut your cooking time and you could even use half the paste to marinate your meat overnight, which will tenderize the meat and further enhance the flavour.
It’s too spicy: The best thing about making curry at home is that YOU control the level of heat. Cut back on the ginger, the chilis and/or the cayenne and you’ll still get the depth of flavour, but nothing that makes your tongue burn. If you feel like it’s still too spicy you can add some cream or coconut milk, or serve with a cooling cucumber raita.
Here’s a delicious and super healthy recipe to get you started. Enjoy!
Chickpea & Kale Curry
2 tablespoons coconut oil or ghee
1 red onion, finely sliced
1 thumb of grated ginger
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 teaspoon each of ground coriander, ground cumin, ground turmeric, garam masala
2 red chillies, finely chopped
2 tomatoes, finely chopped
1 cup vegetable broth
2 cups cooked chickpeas
1 bunch of kale, finely chopped
Heat oil in a saute pan and cook the onions on low until browned
Toss in the ginger, garlic and chillies and fry for a few minutes, then add all the ground spices and cook for a few more minutes to release flavours
Add the chopped tomatoes and fry for an additional 5 minutes
Add the chickpeas and vegetable broth and bring to a boil, then add the kale and turn down the heat
Simmer, uncovered for 5 minutes and serve!
Christy Varicat is a Certified Culinary Nutritionist & Co-Founder of My Spice Box. Visit myspicebox.ca for spice tips and recipes featuring real food PLUS get free shipping across Canada on Organic Spice Boxes and orders over $30.