OK, I haven’t taken leave of my senses and actually opened a restaurant. However, my schedule has been changing quite a bit recently and I need to be able to make some meals pretty quickly. Among other things I’ve been trying is the idea of a quick curry. I started thinking what would I do if I really did want to open a curry shop. The idea of a fast causal kind of place, sort of like a UK takeaway curry shop, really appealed to me. Now I need to state up front that I’ve only had one curry in the UK and it wasn’t takeaway so I may be way off base here.
But from what I’ve read and talking to people, I believe the way to make a curry without taking the time to actually start from scratch is to make a curry base. That’s basically a puree of onions and tomatoes with some seasoning. You then add the other ingredients to that to make whatever kind of curry you’re after. I’ve already got a Vita-Mix blender so why not use it to give me a head start?
So I took an onion, peeled and quartered it, threw in some seasoning and pureed that. You can adjust the seasoning to what you have and what you’re looking for but I usually use some garlic cloves, some ginger and some dried cumin, coriander, chili and turmeric. It’s easier to make sure the onion is completely ground up if you minimize the amount of liquid in the blender. Then go ahead and add a can of diced tomatoes and puree the whole thing.
Now I think a real curry shop would cook this down before beginning service but I’m assuming no advance preparations. The onion in the base is currently raw and will overwhelm the dish. So put some oil in a pan over medium-high heat and cook the base for about ten minutes. The nice thing is the base is soupy enough to not have a big risk of burning so you can just stir it occasionally while you get on with prepping the rest of the ingredients.
I’ll post some of the ones I’ve put together but really the sky’s the limit for what to do with your base. Add some coconut milk and go for a Thai feel? What about some mustard for a Caribbean dish? If you come up with something good, leave a comment!