Here are some simple and innovative ways to create a variety of tastes and styles to experiment with your cooking. they are definitely going to that change your mundane cooking and help you recreating a fresh menu.
These recipes are based on limited kitchen supply when you run short of a very particular thing and still you have to cook something nice for dinner.
Based on my experiments, I have created various curry paste options. You can use one of following curry paste to create your curry. I use 2 teaspoons (tsp) of one of the options mentioned for cooking a small bowl of curry for one person. you can reduce or increase the quantity of the curry base option based on your preference of thickness or richness for your curry. This simply can be used along with your five basic spices i.e. turmeric powder, chili powder, cumin power, coriander powder and homemade garam masala (mixes spices). I prefer to roast cumin seeds, coriander seeds or whole garam masala separately on low flame and grind it into powder that I store in glass jar and use it on daily basis.
- Onion paste:
Chop onion and grind it into a paste.
Fry it in oil along with 1/4 tsp of ginger and 1/4 tsp of garlic paste before you add spices while frying. It will improve the taste.
Later you can add your veggies and water and cook.
- Onion + tomato Paste:
Chop and grind onion and tomatoes separately.
Fry onion paste along with 1/4 tsp of ginger and 1/4 tsp of garlic paste, add other spices.
Later, add tomato paste and cook for 2-3 minutes
Once the tomatoes are cooked, add vegetables and water, and cook it until veggies are done and you get your desired consistency.
- Poppy Seed Paste:
Poppy seed paste is very popular in Bengali and Bihari delicacies.
Grind poppy seeds into fine powder.
Add couple of spoons of water (or more if needed) and grind it into a fine paste.
You can add half a cup of water to dilute the paste and strain it and use the strained poppy seed paste for curry.
Add this poppy seed paste towards the end of cooking when the vegetables are almost cooked.
After adding the poppy seed paste, you may cook it for two to three minutes to thicken the curry before turning off the flame.
Pic: Poppy Seeds
- Mustard Paste:
Select yellow mustard seeds for making mustard paste.
Simply grind it into fine powder and add little water and again grind it into fine paste. You can add half cup of water to dilute the paste and strain it and use the strained mustard paste for cooking.
Add mustard paste to the half-cooked vegetables and cook it for 4-6 minutes before turning off the flame.
Please remember that mustard has sharp taste, so avoid adding additional spices. only 1 green chili and turmeric powder would complement the mustard curry.
- Cashew Paste:
Soak 4-5 cashew nuts for 30 min and grind into fine paste and use it for cooking.
Add the paste towards the end of cooking.
For richer and creamer taste, you can add one to two tsp of whipped cream just one minute before turning off the gas.
Pic: Whipped cream tetra pack
- Whipped Cream based curry
You can create a quick party recipe using whipped cream. You will get it in any supermarket as most of the dairy manufacturing companies sell it. I prefer to use Anchor brand.
You can cook your mixed vegetable with chili powder, turmeric powder, Garam masala and salt.
When the vegetables are cooked (after 7-8 minutes), add 5- 6 spoons of whipped cream and half a tsp of sugar.
Just stir it, and cook it for another 30 sec and turn off flame.
This creamy, spicy mixed vegetable can be served with plain Basmati rice or fried rice.
- Coconut Milk:
You can use the mixed vegetables like cauliflower, small green eggplant, potatoes, pumpkin and peas carrot with coconut milk.
Can optionally add 2 tsp of grated fresh coconut to your curry too. This is the South Indian or Thai style curry.
Please tamper mustard seeds and curry leaves as it will bring additional flavor to your curry.
Pic: Rice and Chickpea Powder for Curry
- Peanut powder:
Roast the peanuts and make coarsely ground powder.
Use 2-3 tsp of powder along with spices and cook the vegetables.
You can create another exotic variation by adding dry coconut powder. This curry tastes good with basic spices.
This is popular Maharashtrian style and used in stuffed eggplant.
- Chickpea powder:
Use 2 tsp of roasted chickpea powder (besan) while adding spices and fry them together with vegetable and add water and cook together.
To give a little tanginess, add a tomato once all the spices are fried and cook before adding vegetable.
This is a healthy and tasty curry option.
Please ensure that you roast the besan on low flame until besan turns light golden color or else you will end up with either raw or burnt and bitter tasting besan.
- Roasted rice powder:
Wash and roast rice. once it cools down, grind it into powder.
This powder tastes good with coconut milk and can be used as a curry base.
This is popular in Sri Lankan style.
- Hot and Sour curry:
Add chopped tomatoes and tamarind paste (as per your choice and taste) or half tsp of raw mango powder. Cook until done.
You can add sugar if you like.
Pic: Black Masala or Black Spice
- Black Masala (Black Spice):
Cut the dry coconut into small pieces and chop onion.
Take little oil and fry 1 clove, 2 black pepper and 1 dry red chili together. Later fry dry coconut pieces and chopped onion. Fry them separately. Once all the ingredients are cool down, grind them together into a paste. This is ready-to-use spice that can be fried in two spoonful of hot oil and fry it further for a minute on low flame.
Add turmeric powder, chili powder and salt as per your liking and cook the vegetables.
This is black masala popular in Kolhapur region in Maharashtra.
Feel free to add other species as you prefer.
- Plain Yogurt:
Plain yogurt is simply great in taste as it adds richness to curry and reduces sharpness of spices.
You can mix it with any of the above curry base (except whipped cream and coconut milk) towards the end of the cooking.
Please remember to beat the yogurt in bowl with egg beater to bring the uniform consistency before adding it to the curry.
Remember not to cook more than 2 min.
- Green Curry:
Take fresh coriander leaves, ginger, green chilli and fresh coconut to make green curry.
Grind all these ingredients into a green paste.
You can use this paste along with 1/4 spoon of turmeric powder to create green curry.
Try not to add any other spices as it ruins taste of the fresh herbs.
This is better curry base is best if you are steaming vegetables or fish in banana leaf.
This is Parsi style curry, similar to Patranu Macchi.
These are the different curry styles that will save you from cooking repetitive dishes. You can use these curries with as many type of vegetables, soya chunks, cottage cheese, tofu, eggs and even with chicken or mutton.
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