Beat away the encroaching winter nip with these beautifully spiced curries: the ultimate in comfort suppers.

It is well-documented that Brits have adopted curry as a national dish. In 2016, a Financial Times report found that there are some 12,000 curry houses in the UK, while the Express reported that, on average, we’ll spend £30,331 on the dish over a lifetime. It’s safe to say, then, that collectively we need very little convincing on the appeal of Indian cuisine.

There are many, many schools of thought about what constitutes an ‘authentic’ curry as you might eat it in India and, these days, many more curry houses are cleaving closer to that idea as standard. And meanwhile, back in our own kitchens, we love being guided by the happy proliferation of writers on Indian cookery, whether to recreate a butter chicken as you might find it in Delhi, or to try our hands at some recipes that marry Indian and British cuisine beautifully. To us, a home-cooked curry is comfort food at its best – here, then, are a few of our favourite recipes to warm the cockles on the cold winter nights ahead, from the legendary likes of Madhur Jaffrey to the new guard, such as the wonderful Meera Sodha.


Madhur Jaffrey’s Chicken Korma


BBC Food/ Madhur Jaffrey


There are many exciting emerging chefs cooking and writing about Indian cuisine, but Madhur Jaffrey remains the reigning queen. Her recipes are reliably delicious, as well as easy to follow. As in all things, it is good to start with mastering the basics, and a really good chicken korma will always be a great staple in your culinary arsenal. As with many curries, the ingredients list looks long, but once you have the spices in, they’ll last and last. Being Madhur Jaffrey, we can safely pronounce this the ultimate chicken korma – and it’s a world away from the sugary renditions sometimes served up in less authentic restaurants.


Keralan Chicken Curry


Olive Magazine


We love a good curry at any time of the year, but one of the most winning aspects of a more autumnal take on the cuisine is how comforting and full of goodness it can be. This dish is not only warming and delicious, but it balances the sweetness of the soothing coconut milk with earthy potatoes, green beans and peas beautifully. One to make far too much of and keeping eating over a couple of days, as it gets tastier and tastier.


Southern Indian Mixed Vegetable Curry


BBC Food/ Anjam Anand


As we all become more cognisant of the amount of meat we consume and rightly so, it is well to remember that many curries lend themselves perfectly to ditching the carnivorous elements altogether. The writer Anjam Anand, author of I Love India, has cooked in glitzy hotels all over the world and, since crossing over to food writing, has made it her mission to underline how healthy Indian food can be. Indeed, there’s no arguing with the health credentials of this veg-packed curry, and nor with its sheer deliciousness, either. One we’ll be rustling up on repeat.


Lincolnshire Sausage and Potato Curry


Meera Sodha


Meera Sodha is one of the finest cookery writers specialising in Indian cookery to have emerged in recent years. Lincolnshire-born to Ugandan Indian parents, she is brilliant at bringing together all the worlds that have shaped her palate, as she does so here with aplomb in this curried take on the classic sausage and potatoes. We’re always in the market for new twists on suppers we love, and can think of few repasts more comforting that this as winter beds in. As Meera writes, ‘Not only a Sodha family classic but a cheap and (mostly) store cupboard-based recipe and one-pot dish, which makes for the perfect dinner on a cold winter’s night.’ Cosy wintry night in, anyone?


Shubhra Ramineni Stewed Split Red Lentils


Cookstr


Sometimes simplicity is what you crave and need most. This dish takes five minutes to prepare, twenty-five minutes to cook and is good for you, inexpensive to make, warming and nourishing. In short, it’s one we vow to stick right at the top of our weeknight dinner list. Serve with basmati rice to make it a meal or, at weekends when you have more time, make it as a side dish for more elaborate feast.


Beef Massaman Curry


Delicious Magazine


This recipe comes courtesy of Terry Blake and Yohini Nandakumar, owners of Sparrow restaurant. It is a complete treat for the taste buds, featuring curry paste, roasted peanuts and a crispy onion as worthy accoutrements for the showstopper itself: beef slow cooked in coconut milk for three and a half hours. It isn’t, then, one to rustle up for a quick dinner, but it does lend itself well to cooking ahead of time. Gorgeous.


Sri Lankan Cashew Chicken Curry


Olive Magazine


This gluten-free recipe is one to make again and again, such is the flavour punch it packs. Beautifully reviving on a cold night, we love the addition of cherry tomatoes, alongside the textural crunch of the cashew. Do as the recipe says and serve it with roti – then pour yourself a light beer and enjoy. It looks gorgeous too, so an impressive dish to serve to guests, should we be allowed to have any.


Aubergine And Tomato Rogan Josh


Jamie Oliver


This vegetarian beauty of a dish not only looks and tastes gorgeous; it is ultra-simple to make, too. Aubergine can be a divisive vegetable, but if you like it, it doesn’t come tastier than this – and with the crunch of the pistachios, it is truly sublime. As Jamie says, ‘Just a handful of ingredients is all it takes to rustle up the most beautiful vegetable curry. All you need is a good, firm aubergine, super-ripe tomatoes, crunchy pistachios, curry paste and some fresh coriander. It’s delicious on its own with rice or poppadoms, but I also love to serve it with a bit of roast chicken or fish. Happy days – what a dish.’


Butternut Squash And Sweet Potato Curry


BBC Food/ Nigella Lawson


This quick-to-make and beautifully earthy supper is spot on for the season. It is also vegan and takes just thirty minutes to makes. As Nigella advises, ‘This is a rambunctiously vibrant vegan curry, both to look at and eat. It is rich, sweet and hearty, with tomatoes providing a balancing acidity and the curry paste bringing uncompromising fire. Of course chillies do vary in heat, so if you’re after something a little less passage-clearing, use two rather than three, and if you want to go milder still, simply de-seed the chillies. Having said that, cooking with chillies always has a touch of roulette about it.’ Seasonal heaven.

By Nancy Alsop
November 2020

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