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Using ready-made curry pastes

Easiest way to add flavor and color to your curries

Curries owe their deep flavour to curry paste, made from a blend of pounded herbs, spices and seasonings, there are endless types of curry pastes, often with a long list of ingredients. The good news is there are many ready-made, good quality curry pastes available. Making use of them is a clever cook’s answer to a flavoursome, yet quickly made beef curry.

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Curry pastes

Vibrant in colour and flavour, beef and lamb curries are satisfying and delicious. Using store bought curry paste makes them a cinch to make! You can buy Thai (red, green and masaman), Indian (rogan josh, korma) or even Indonesian (rendang) curry pastes in all supermarkets.

  • Go for a curry paste rather than a curry sauce, to give you depth of flavour and colour without the thickness or starchiness of a bottled sauce.
  • Many curry pastes are hot, so it’s a good idea to start out with a little, you can always add more to taste. 2 tbsp of paste to 1kg of beef, lamb or goat is a good general guide.
  • The secret is to cook the curry paste over a medium heat for a few minutes before you add the other ingredients, this allows the flavours of the paste to fully develop.

Curry paste partners

  • Indian style pastes team with diced tomatoes and stock and enriched with a dollop of plain thick yoghurt. They can also be cooked with coconut milk.
  • Team Indonesian style rendang curry paste with coconut milk.
  • Combine Thai red or green curry pastes with coconut milk and stock.

Release the flavour from a curry paste

Cook the curry paste in a little oil over a medium to low heat, to allow its flavours to fully develop. Add the ginger, garlic and onions at this stage as well, so they too can gently cook.

Take the heat down a notch

To tone down the heat of a cooked curry add a dollop of yoghurt and serve cooling sides like chopped cucumber, banana chutney and sweet mango chutney.

Interesting fact

There is a theory that the word ‘curry’ was an adopted and anglicised version of the Tamil word kari meaning 'sauce', which is usually understood to mean vegetables and/or meat cooked with spices with or without a gravy.