The other night I featured the cooking of this curry on my Instastory (you can follow me here) and a guy slid in my DM’s and asked me if I would make it for him.
I said making it FOR him would defeat the object of me having a website full of simple, cost effective recipes. I said there’s no need for me to cook this for him when it’s so easy he could cook it for himself.
He said he would get himself in a right pickle if he “tried” to make this.
I told him it’s just grinding chopping and stirring. Everybody can do it.
Far be it for me to ever take the romance out of a dish with strong cultural roots, but there is no mystique to making a curry.
Like I said, once the spices and ground, the ingredients are chopped and everything is stirred together, we’re basically there. Yes, there are many other complexities with curry dishes but if you were to look at the bare basic essence of what it takes to get from A to B with a Madras, then this is the blueprint.
I always like to make my own curry mixes because I can make to order. There’s nothing worse than making a curry for two and having to rely on a claggy jar of sauce that’s designed for four.
You’re left with soggy ingredients begging for life in a rapid pool of sauce.
Whereas if you make your own spice blend, you’re able to make enough for as much as you need which give you the versatility to have a different curry whenever you need it.
This Madras was my curry of choice this week.
It was enough for 2 people with leftovers for work the next day (for both of us) soooo make of these measures what you will.
I’m catering for someone who’s palette I’m trying to build. They’re ‘okay’ with spice and a dab of Frank Hot Sauce on the finger is as far as it will go for them. I intend on changing this.
Beings as a Madras is rooted in fiery chillies, this seems like the most logical curry choice… right? Don’t worry, my dinner guest is still alive and his palette is still intact.
Here I suggest chopping everything up first so that you don’t have to worry about tackling too many things at once.
Throw back a glass of wine while you chop up your ingredients and prepare your spice blend.
From there it’s literally just stirring.
Preheat the oven to 200C.
Start with your spice blend. Throw ½ tsp of turmeric, 1 tsp of ground cumin, 1 tsp chilli powder and 1 tsp of coriander seeds into a pestle and mortar. Grind to a fine blend – the coriander seeds will be crushed and detached but not ground to a fine powder. Don’t worry. It’ll be fine,.
Now chop up your ingredients. Finely sice 4/5 spring onions (white bit and green bit) and finely chop up one red chilli (throw out the seeds if you don’t want it FIERY – do this by halving the chilli and scrape out the insides with a teaspoon). Now crush and chop up two garlic cloves and a thumb size piece of ginger.
Now chop up a courgette. I do this by cutting it three times lengthways and then diagonally for the length of courgette so that each cut leaves you with 3 slices of courgette. Finally, tackle the squash. You can totally leave it unpeeled but what we need for this recipe is the shaft of the phallic shaped vegetable.
Similarly to the courgette, once I’ve cut the shaft off, I chop off the stalk. I then stand it up on a chopping board and cut down three times so I have 3 large slices. I then slice down these for the length of the squash so I have a big handful of half-moons.
That’s all your ingredients chopped and I promise it’ll probably take you less time to chop the ingredients than it did for me to write this part of the recipe.
Let’s do this now. Here is where it’s a breeze.
Place your squash moons on a baking tray, drizzle over some olive oil and then take a big pinch of the curry mix and sprinkle over. Chuck the squash in the oven.
Fry the spring onions, garlic, chilli and ginger in a big ass frying pan (the biggest you have) and let them sizzle up for a few minutes. Now add the chopped courgette and fry until they soften.
Now add the rest of the curry mix and stir so that it coats all of the courgette. You want the courgette to start caramelising a little and soaking up the rich, spicy blend.
Once everything is coated and sizzling, tip in a can of chopped tomatoes. I always do as Nigella taught me and that is fill the can half way with water, give it a swirl and pour the water in too. No waste!
Stir everything together, turn the heat up and once the pan starts bubbling on a boil, drop it to a simmer. Allow it to simmer for roughly 20 minutes and by this time your squash will be burnished and bronzed in the oven.
Take the squash from the oven, tip them carefully into the pan of curry and stir together.
The reason we’ve baked the squash is because I want some smoke in this dish and I don’t necessarily want to add paprika. When I add paprika to a curry, I find the mix loses in combat and I can taste the woody spice, but not the smoke. Charring it in the oven in the same spice mix that’s in the pan ensures it’s coated in the same sexy spicy flavours but the charring and burn from the oven gives it the smoky depth. It works!
Stir everything together, throw over a generous leafy dusting of fresh coriander and you’re ready to serve.
I serve this up along with some rice, a naan bread and a sexy dribble of chutney. I obviously recommend my Quick Apricot & Mustard Chutney and one day soon I may publish my recipe for rice… but trust, no one will judge you for using a microwaveable pack of rice and a jarred mango chutney!