The curry I tend to make frequently at the moment is best described as a chilli balti. It can be vegetarian with the aid of cauliflower, and sometimes I’ll add prawns or chicken too.
- Sunflower oil – enough to generously cover the bottom of a big pot
- Fennel seeds – a big spoonful from a bag
- Cumin seeds – a handful from a bag
- Fresh coriander – bunched so you can access stalks and leaves
- Onions – 2 average sized
- Garlic – a whole bulb, don’t muck around. Bigger the better
- Ginger – having peeled it, should be about the size of your thumb
- Fresh green chillis – just get loads of these
- Garam Masala powder – just have loads available
- Green peppers – 1 or 2
- Balti paste (crucial to get paste, not sauce)
- Fresh tomatoes – 12
- Lemon – 1
- Tomato purée – just in case
- Naan Bread
- Big pot
- Chopping board
- Big knife
- Food blender. Preferably at least 1kW. Don’t muck about.
Quantities are vague below because it is all a case of suiting your taste.
- Big pot. Generously cover the base with sunflower oil or similar. Put on a low heat.
- Add fennel and coriander seeds in a 1:2 ratio. Perhaps use a large dessert spoon and do 1 spoonful of fennel seeds and 2 of coriander.
- Chop the coriander from the stalk end. Stop when it gets leafy. Add the stalk choppings to the pot.
- Chop the head off any chillies you want to add whole, and then add them to the pot.
- Leave all that on a low heat.
- Peel the onions, garlic and ginger. Put these in a blender with any chillies you wish to add to the base.
- Blend. Add to pot. Don’t fuss about the cleaning out the blender.
- Turn up the heat on a pot a bit – get things sizzling.
- Add Garam Masala. Perhaps another large spoonful. Stir.
- Chop the green pepper(s). Add to pot.
- Chop the cauliflower. Steam or boil this until softened a bit. Then add to pan. Keep the water.
- Fry off any chicken or prawns in a separate pan with oil and some balti paste. Add to main pot when sealed.
- Add cauliflower water as needed to stop things sticking to the base of the pan.
- Add a big spoonful of balti paste.
- Put the tomatoes in the blender. Add some coriander. Blend.
- Add to pot. Stir. Add more cauliflower water as needed to obtain your desired sauciness.
- Taste. Add more balti paste until you are completely sure no one could legitimately describe it as bland. If it isn’t tomato-ee enough, add tomato purée.
- Add the juice of half a lemon. Taste again. Should be lively now.
- Chop the rest of the coriander. Sprinkle it on the top before serving.