I love to cook. Partly because I absolutely love to eat and so it is a means to an end. More than this though, I actually enjoy cooking, whether an old familiar number or creating something new – will it work, will it be a winner, will it be a disaster? The process and execution, the chopping and stirring, all good stuff in my book. Despite all this Pollyanna like gladness however, I do find one element sometimes exhausting, even a little dispiriting. That is the deciding what to cook – the what shall we eat every day this week dilemma. Shall I feed the children the same safe favourites or risk possible mutiny or delight with new tastes? Is this the week to cook my husband exciting new suppers or will I be exhausted and only wanting to recreate recipes I know by heart. Have I asked friends for supper, if so, what am I going to cook?
This is where the perfect Friday night curry comes in. It is properly quick and easy, immensely casual, absolutely delicious, served with a myriad of bought stuff and always manages to create a fun, end of the week celebratory feeling.
All you have to do is make the sauce which can even be done the night before. Then it is a case of defrosting the prawns if frozen, warming naan and poppadoms. Decant chutney and pickle into little bowls, make a cucumber, yogurt and mint raita and cook rice. Really not hard. I tend to serve the poppadoms first with chutneys and raita (just like you would in an Indian restaurant really) while the rice is cooking. Then, all I have to do is warm up the curry and add the prawns, chop some coriander and serve once the poppadoms have been eaten.
I know it looks like a long list of ingredients but you have probably got most of it in the cupboard anyway and it is simplicity itself to make.
2 onions finely chopped
Large thumb ginger, peeled and chopped or grated
4 large cloves garlic crushed
1 tablespoon oil
6 cardamom pods, seeds removed and crushed
1 heaped teaspoon ground coriander
1 level teaspoon ground cumin
1 level teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 red chilli chopped (leave the seeds in if you like your curry hot)
500ml carton passata
600g large prawns (raw ideally but cooked are fine)
2 tablespoons natural yogurt
Juice of half a lime
Small bunch of coriander chopped.
Cook the onions gently in the oil for 10 minutes until soft and only just beginning to brown. Add ginger, garlic, cardamom seeds, coriander, cumin, turmeric, mustard seeds and chilli and cook for 5 minutes. Add passata, water and salt and simmer gently for 15 minutes. Add the prawns to either cook if raw or warm through if already cooked, then the yogurt and lime juice. Sprinkle with the coriander and serve with rice. Serves 4.