Curry In A Hurry (From Scratch!)

You know sometimes when you get in from a long day and you just want to make something that doesn’t take forever and yet is special enough to make the effort worthwhile.    Out of store cupboard/freezer/leftovers so that is no special shopping involved.   That is adaptable.   Be you vegetarian, meat-eater, pescatarian, vegan or needing to use up fridge leftovers.   Made completely from scratch so you can pour yourself a glass of something and unwind, enjoying the cooking process without any great juggling acts.   Curry in a Hurry.   No pastes or packet mixes needed. All ready, including grinding the spices yourself, in about 30 mins.

This recipe is based on one of the most popular recipes I’ve ever put on the blog.   Sri Lankan Veg Curry.   It uses the flavour profile of that sauce, but simplified.   Using the sauce mean you can tailor it to  mood or dietary requirements or even just what you have in the fridge.    So you can add leftover meat or that ready roasted chicken you bought from the supermarket, chickpeas, roasted veg, frozen prawns or chunks of fish.  A friend of mine tested it out and used halves of boiled eggs!!??? She said it was nice though I can’t get my head around that one.

I’ve listed a few suggestions of the things you might want to try but really its up to you:

  • 250g packet of frozen prawns (put in sauce from frozen)
  • 400g tinned chickpeas and whatever roasted veg you have left over – I particularly like cauliflower or aubergine here
  • 400g frozen or fresh roasted butternut squash with fresh spinach
  • 400g cooked chicken (from roast or buy cooked from supermarket) and frozen peas
  •  2 frozen fish fillets (cook from frozen but allow a few more minutes cooking time)
  • 250g cooked tofu and a handful of fresh spinach
  • 6 hardboiled eggs, halved (apparently tastes nice)

Curry in a Hurry with chickpeas and roasted turmeric cauliflower


Of course you can adjust the heat according to taste because you are the one in charge of adding the chilli!    For ease I tend to use ready ground spices, though if I am in the mood for taking some pent-up aggression out on a pestle and mortar I have been known to grind them myself!!

if I feel energetic I put on some rice to cook when I am frying off the ginger, onion and chilli.  If I’m exhausted I just make couscous during the last few minutes.  It’s up to you.  Whichever you choose to go with this curry it can still all be done within that magic half an hour.

Ingredients (serves 2 but easily doubles or even triples up)

  • 2 tbsp vegetable or rapeseed oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cm fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped or grated
  • 1 chilli (or more if you like it spicier
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 160g tin coconut cream (or thick part of a tin of coconut milk)
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • Main ingredient from the list of suggestions above or of your own choosing
  • chopped coriander or parsley
  • 1 lemon
  • A pinch of salt


  • In a large pan add oil, onion, ginger and chilli and fry over a medium heat until soft – about 5 mins
  • Add chopped garlic and continue cooking for another 2 mins
  • Throw spices into the pan and stir for a further minute to bring out their flavours.
  • Mix in the tomatoes, coconut cream, sugar
  • Continue to cook for a further 5 mins before adding the main ingredient of your choice
  • Adjust seasoning, add lemon juice to taste and serve with rice or couscous garnishing with fresh coriander.


TIP:    I freeze fresh root ginger and fresh red chillies when I buy them and then grate them from frozen in recipes like this.                                    That way they don’t go off in my fridge as I don’t cook with them everyday.

Listening to: Tales of America by J.S.Ondara



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