I’ve made this curry a total of 3 times, in 3 different ways and here is what I’ve gathered in the process:
1. Assembling these spices, pan roasting them, bashing them, and oven roasting them was very, very satisfying. It was the smells and the details. (Going clockwise: clove, cardamom seed, cinnamon stick, pepper, fennel, cumin, coriander, and fenugreek in the middle.) Scratch and sniff here:
2. Skipping everything I just said and using a special bottle of Penzeys Spices was also very, very satisfying. In this case it was the smells and the ease. Scratch and sniff here:
3. Penzys or not, making this with garam masala is the way I will make curry most of the time. Not to make points within a point, but here I go anyways, if they both smell equally delicious and one is easier? I’m not a crazy person.
I mean it when I say in point #1 that it was very, very satisfying to search, find, and bash those spices. However, my food processor left a little crunch-crunch when I made it for the first time with whole spices. That was distracting (and not so yum-yum) while I gave it to my girlfriends for dinner. I always do experiments when I entertain. Why oh why? I guess it’s forced humility. For any wins I’ve had, there are always a few fails. And until I find a spice grinder that works wonders, grinding up the spices on that plate up above will have to wait. Multiple points within a point taken I hope.
4. Eating this curry in cold, dark winter is exactly what you would expect me to say. Very, very satisfying.
5. Changing this recipe is both possible and inevitable. Depending on your mood and cold weather cravings, you can make it vegetable curry, lamb curry, curry with rice, curry with naan, curry on it’s own and if you don’t mind heat with heat, curry in the summer. You will love it so much that options will come to you with every bite.
All you are going to do is grab a few pantry items and a handful of fresh ingredients to make a scratch curry paste.
Cilantro, red onions, chilies, ginger, garam masala toasted and lots of garlic – in they go.
This paste, sautéed and deglazed with tomatoes and broth, will sit in your oven for an hour and a half while heavenly smells pervade your home.
We last made this curry with riced cauliflower on the side. If you don’t already have cauliflower rice in your arsenal of low carb side dishes, you must give it a try. Just puree your raw cauliflower pieces in a food processor or blender. Brush a cookie sheet with melted clarified butter or coconut oil. Toss riced cauliflower with more melted clarified butter or oil, 1-3 cloves of crushed garlic or spices of your choice, 1/2 teaspoon salt and a few cracks of pepper, and spread in a 1/4 inch layer on your cookie sheet. Roast cauli-rice for about 20-30 minutes at 425°. About 15 minutes into cooking, stir and check. Add a little more oil or butter if it seems dry. Cauli-rice is done when it is tender and lightly brown.
Bake as much as a you like and save the rest to sautè or roast throughout your week.
Season to taste with more salt or pepper. This curry is flavor packed so we kept ours pretty simple and plain.
My next curry? This recipe with potatoes instead of chicken. I can’t get it out of my head.
- 3 - 4 tablespoons of garam masala
- 1 red onion peeled and cut into quarters
- 2 inches of peeled ginger
- 8 garlic cloves peeled and halved
- 1 small chili scoop out seeds or leave in for more heat
- 1 fresh bunch of cilantro leaves mostly picked from stems and divided in half
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons of butter or oil
- 42 ounces 28 oz can plus 14 oz can of fire roasted diced tomatoes
- 1-2 cups of chicken stock depending on desired consistency
- salt & pepper
- 3 cups of shredded or diced cooked chicken
- 1 1/2 cups plain yogurt
- 1 lime cut into wedges
- Preheat oven to 325°.
- Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and spread out your 4 tablespoons of garam masala. Lightly toast until spices are warm and fragrant - 10 minutes or so.
- In the bowl of a food processor add your garam masala, onions, ginger, garlic, stemmed chillies, half of the cilantro leaves, and 1 teaspoon of salt. Puree until finely chopped into a paste and full combined.
- In a large roasting pan, melt butter or oil and fry the curry paste until golden and cooked, 8 minutes or so, stirring frequently and adjusting heat to keep it cooking but not burning.
- Add the tomatoes and chicken stock, bring to a boil. Cover tightly with foil, or lid, and place in the oven to roast for 1 1/2 hours.
- When the sauce has been slowly roasting for 1 1/2 hours or so, move to stove top, uncover and set on medium heat. Add cooked chicken or vegetables of your choice and let simmer for up to an hour, stirring regularly. If the sauce is too thick, thin with small spoons of broth. If you like it thicker, let it cook down as much as you like.
- When ready to eat, remove from heat and let set for 5-10 minutes to cool down. Stir in yogurt, season to taste with salt and pepper after yogurt is added. The yogurt tones it down in just the perfect way. Pass limes wedges to squeeze (don't forget this added flavor!) and cilantro leaves to garnish. Serve with cauliflower rice, basmati rice, naan or roasted vegetables.
If meal prepping ahead of time, leave out yogurt until serving time if you wish. Also, if you won't be eating it right away, I'd opt for less garam masala as the spices are enhanced the longer it sits.)
This post contains affiliate links to products I know and love. I recommend any of them for this recipe!
Note on spice: I made this with the 2 little orange chilies up above in picture 6. My 3 year old loved it as well. While she affectionately called it spicy, she ate it right up. It has a flavorful kick but with yogurt you can adjust the bite of heat as needed for the little and the big. If you are tentative about spice, adjust it up front and add fewer chilies the first time you make it and go from there.
[Pictures and recipe adjusted and updated March 2016!]
Last Updated on June 15, 2022 by Heather Bursch