from one generation to the next
Inspiration for menu testing and development comes to me from various sources. Beside my well stocked library of cookbooks I have a plastic sleeve of magazine clippings and an overstuffed electronic file of recipes saved from blogs, websites and online publications. The recipes in the electronic file are a random bunch but if I were to categorise the contents, the largest group by far would be those that are quick in execution and only need fuss free accompaniments to turn them into a yummy week night dinner.
I admit it’s rare for me to make a new recipe verbatim. Food intolerances have a lot to answer for, but so does personal choice. For me flavour and pleasure are always the number one priority, closely followed by the use of natural ingredients and economy. What I cook is my own unique style.
This was once a full blown fish curry recipe, but having recognised the versatility of the sauce I’ve adapted it to become a reliable and quick meal base that is fabulous in many guises.
I’ve added sautéed chicken thighs to the sauce, chick peas, steamed vegetables and boiled eggs, fish alone and once in an impulse to spontaneously and gloriously feed eight friends, I emptied my freezer of seafood and threw in a mixture of white fleshed fish, salmon, prawns and prawn head stock. It’s a delicious curry that’s roundly spiced, rich, complex and satisfying.
Cooking chunks of fresh fish in the prepared sauce means I can have dinner on the table in 20 minutes, that’s 10 minutes prep time for the sauce, 10 minutes cooking time for the fish. Serve the curry spooned onto a bed of steamed basmati rice and accompany them with simply cooked vegetables.
Don’t be limit yourself to my ingredients list, apply your own personal touch.
This sauce freezes well for a month.
Quick Cook-In Curry Sauce to serve 4
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon garlic infused oil
12-15 fresh curry leaves
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon crushed dried red chilli or to taste
2 tablespoons grated root ginger
3 roma tomatoes, diced
2 teaspoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon sea salt or to taste
1 teaspoon castor sugar
1 cup of well flavoured stock
165g can coconut milk
Juice of a lime
600g white fleshed fish
OR 8 boneless chicken thighs, diced and browned
OR 4 cups steamed vegetables, a mix of potato, sweet potato, peas, beans, pumpkin, broccoli plus 1 can chick peas, drained and rinsed
AND/OR 6 boiled eggs, peeled and halved
In a large saute pan gently warm the oils. Add the fennel seeds and curry leaves and saute until toasty and fragrant.
Add the ground spices and stir them over the heat for a few seconds.
Add the ginger, chilli, tomatoes, tomatoes paste and stock.
Bring the pan to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer until the tomatoes collapse.
Add the coconut milk and reheat the pan.
At this point add chunks of fish OR sautéed chicken thigh, OR steamed vegetables
Return the sauce to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
Stir through the lime juice then taste the sauce.
Adjust the salt, chilli and lime balance to taste.
Garnish with chopped coriander leaves.
Serve with steamed rice.