Recipe: A Versatile Curry Paste to Help You Love Your Leftovers

versatile curry paste recipe

Here in the UK, millions of us are already doing our bit to use more of the food we buy each week. Love Food Hate Waste report that we’re saving just under £5 billion a year compared with 2007, not to mention saving 5.0 million tonnes of CO2. Which is great news, because keeping good food out of the bin really does make a difference.

But after a busy week, it’s easy fall into the habit of wasting some of the food that we already have in our homes.

To help combat this, I wanted to share one of my favourite ways to use up leftover bits and bobs – by making a curry. This curry paste recipe could help you stop chucking out those odds and ends from the back of the fridge, and can be easily adapted to include anything that needs using up – turning leftovers and loose ends into a delicious meal.

This is a sponsored post, in collaboration with the Love Food Hate Waste #FlungTogetherFood campaign.

Versatile Curry Paste

To make the basic curry paste I use*:

  • 1 large diced onion
  • 4 diced fresh tomatoes
  • 1.5 tsp ginger paste
  • 1.5 tsp garlic paste
  • 0.5 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp each of ground turmeric, ground coriander and ground cumin.

Then, depending on the flavour profile I want, I use 2 tsps of a curry spice mix – usually roasted curry powder, garam masala or ras el hanout.

*To make a bigger batch, just double all of the quantities.

To cook the paste:

  • Heat a pan, add vegetable oil, the onion, and the ginger & garlic pastes.
  • Allow the onion paste to cook thoroughly and brown really well. (This may take 8-10 minutes on low heat)
  • At this point, add the diced tomatoes and cook the mixture well until the tomatoes break down.
  • Once the mixture thickens, add all the spices and salt.
  • Mix well, and cook for another five minutes.

And that’s it! This basic curry paste can be portioned up and popped in the freezer for a later date, and you can try experimenting with different ingredient and spice combinations as your confidence grows.

When you’re ready to cook with the paste, here are a few ways to use it to create some #FlungTogetherFood:

Creamy Squash & Coconut Curry

Not sure what to do with that butternut squash you bought? Try this:

  • Chop the butternut squash into 1cm cubes, drizzle with oil, sprinkle with 1tsp of chilli powder, and chuck into the oven at 180 degrees for 20 minutes or until soft.
  • While the squash is cooking, fry up the curry paste and once sizzling, add 1/2 can of reduced fat coconut milk.
  • Tip the cooked squash into the coconut curry mixture, mix well, and serve.

Spicy Chicken Curry

Perfect for using up cooked chicken / turkey from the Sunday Roast.

  • Fry up the curry paste and once sizzling, add 8 cubes of frozen spinach and a can of chopped tomatoes.
  • Add 1 tsp dried chilli flakes and 1 tsp chilli powder to the mixture and simmer to reduce.
  • Add whatever shredded, cooked chicken you have and make sure it’s heated through.
  • Add a swirl of creme fraiche or double cream at the end of cooking as desired.

Chickpea & Sweet Potato Curry

Great for using up sweet potatoes, fresh spinach and 1/2 tub of yoghurt.

  • Chop some sweet potatoes into 1cm cubes, drizzle with oil, sprinkle with 1tsp of chilli powder, and chuck into the oven at 180 degrees for 10 minutes or until soft.
  • While the potato is cooking, fry up the curry paste and once sizzling, add 1/2 tin of tomatoes and cook down.
  • Add a tin of chickpeas add 2 tablespoons of low fat yoghurt.
  • Tip the cooked potato into the curry mixture, mix well, and serve.

Fish, Coconut & Spinach Curry

Great for using up fresh fish, cooked prawns fresh spinach and coconut milk.

  • Fry up the curry paste and once sizzling, add a can of chopped tomatoes.
  • Add chunks of fresh fish (or cooked/raw prawns) and fry until cooked through.
  • Add add 1/2 bag of fresh spinach and as much or as little coconut milk as desired.
  • Serve once the spinach is wilted.

These are just a few ideas for using the paste with any leftovers you have lying around but the combinations are almost endless – it’s just about being creative with what you have and making the most of what you need to use up. Happy experimenting!

For more #FlungTogetherFood inspiration, head over to Instagram.

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