Madras Curry Paste Recipe for Home-cooks
Indian spice blends, collectively known as ‘Masalas’, can be dry powders or ‘wet’ pastes. Typically, pastes are made by combining dry powdered spices with a liquid (vinegar especially) and then either using as is, or else storing after cooking the paste in oil until the blending liquid evaporates out.
I would say that I actually use pastes more often than powders when it comes to making Curries as they are convenient, and also add a nice tangy quality that Curry Powders generally don’t possess. The rich, red Curry Paste you see above uses my own Homemade Madras Curry Powder as a starting point, and is one of my favorite Masalas.
The Basic Method
For the current paste recipe, I started with my basic Homemade Madras Curry Powder Recipe (which yields about 2/3 of a Cup) and then added 3 tablespoons more chili powder (the cooking process mellows the heat of this a little), along with a tablespoon of fresh ginger paste, and two tablespoons of garlic paste. I made this into a paste with ¾ of a cup of Vinegar.
The next step is to blend in a Cup of Oil (something neutral in flavor is best). The idea is to heat the blend over moderate heat, constantly stirring, until the vinegar evaporates, and the mass begins to clump away from the sides of the pot, with some of the oil starting to separate out.
If you look close at the above picture, you will see that the separation of oil is just beginning and oil, tinted by the chili powder is forming in pits and crevices in the spice mass, and around the edge of the pan.
Storing Homemade Curry Paste
After cooling, you can store the paste for future use. If storing for an extended period, it is a good idea to make the surface is covered by a layer of oil and, if necessary you can add a little more. It actually keeps quite well in the cupboard but I tend to put mine in the fridge to preserve maximum flavor.
Using this Madras Curry Paste Recipe
Well, essentially, you can use this Curry Paste in the same way you would use any ‘wet’ Masala, though obviously, a Madras Curry Paste will be primarily used to make a Madras Curry. That being said, the paste is versatile, and can easily extend to be used as marinade, or a rub, as for the Madras Beef Skewers shown above, for example.
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Homemade Madras Curry Paste
- 1 Recipe of Homemade Madras Curry Powder
- 3 Tbsp. Powdered Red Chili
- 2 Tbsp. Garlic Paste
- 1 Tbsp. Ginger Paste
- ¾ Cup White Vinegar
- 1 Cup Vegetable Oil.
- Blend all the ingredients except the Vinegar together in a saucepan
- Turn the heat to medium and, when the mix begins to bubble, stir in the oil.
- Continue cooking until the Vinegar has evaporated and the mixture thicken and the oil begins to separate out.
- Cool and transfer to a suitable container. Cover with a thin film of oil for storage.