I have cooked many a curry in my time but find these two are good quick weeknight recipes using mostly store-cupboard ingredients, here is the spice list for all three dishes,
- Bay leaves
- Ground coriander or coriander seeds (to grind)
- Ground cumin
- Ground turmeric
- Garam masala
- Saffron threads
As Winter drawers closer, I find this kind of food more and more appealing and these specific curries are so simple and quick – ultimate satisfaction. My family would often have the spiced chicken with pilau rice at Easter, not being ‘roasty’ kind of people. I remember playing on the computer with my brother and my mum screaming ‘dinner’s ready’ and us sliding down the bannisters on our stomachs (something I still do, but with less pizzazz) I regretfully say.
I’ll begin with the pilaf because when you have this down its pretty smooth sailing. In the past I would always make pilau rice in a saucepan with lots of spices and a cinnamon stick (which I love) but as these two curries both include turmeric I tried rice infused with saffron, which I think works best.
Saffron Rice Pilaf – Serves 2 normal people but I normally double this, as we like rice
- 1/2 tsp saffron threads (careful not to overdo this)
- 20g unsalted butter
- 2 tbsp finely diced onion
- 100g basmati rice, rinsed
- 1tbsp dry wine or vermouth (I like Noilly Prat)
- 250ml chicken stock, warmed
- 2 fresh bay leaves
Preheat oven to 100°C. Place a piece of baking paper on an oven tray and toast the saffron until fragrant (about 5 minutes). Take out and set aside and turn the oven up to 140°C. Melt butter in a small saucepan over a low heat and saute onion for about 4 minutes. Add the rice and toasted saffron, stir and warm through before adding the alcohol and letting it bubble. Add the stock, season and bring to a boil. Add the bay leaves and place rice mix in an oven proof dish with a lid and into the oven for about 20 minutes (same if mixture’s doubled) and the liquids absorbed. That’s it.
Creamy Spiced Chicken – Recipe for 2 – 3 people
- 1 Chicken breast per person
- 85g unsalted butter
- 2 onions thinly sliced
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp coarsely ground black pepper
- ½ tsp garamasala
- ½ tsp ground coriander (or grind seeds)
- 1 tsp ground turmeric
- 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 3 oz button mushrooms (leave out if you’re not a fan)
- 6 fl oz double, or cooking cream
In a heavy based saucepan melt the butter over a medium heat and add the onion. Fry this for about 10 minutes until soft and golden then add bayleaves and cook for another minute. Add the diced chicken, lower the heat and cook for about 5 minutes. Add all the spices, worcester sauce, season and cook for a further 5-10 minutes, ensuring all the chicken pieces are well coated. Add the mushrooms (if using) and gradually add the cream until everything is mixed together well. Add a lid and simmer gently for about 5 minutes until chicken is cooked. Enjoy.
This salmon curry is something I have been making more recently, but frequently. It’s tangy, rich and extremely luxurious as well as very quick to prepare.
Salmon and Tamarind Curry – can serve 4 or 2 (with a little extra sauce)
- 1 salmon fillet per person (2 – 4)
- 3 tbsp vegetable oil
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 onion, finely diced
- 2 cm piece of ginger, grated
- 1 tsp ground coriander (or grind the seeds even better)
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp ground turmeric
- 1 fresh red chilli (or more if you like it hot), finely sliced or ½ tsp cayenne if you don’t like it hot
- 1 tbsp tamarind paste or puree (or more to taste)
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 400ml (1 full size can) of coconut milk
- 1 tsp caster sugar
Cut the salmon into bite-sized pieces and rub with 1/2 tsp salt. Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed pan over a medium heat and fry onion for a few minutes until soft. Add the garlic and ginger and fry for a further minute, stirring. Add all the spices and chilli (if using), stirring until fragrant. Next add the tamarind, tomato paste, coconut milk and caster sugar with 200ml of water and 1tsp of salt and heat gently – stirring. Simmer uncovered for 10 minutes then add the salmon and simmer for a further 5 minutes. That’s it!