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Top 10 Indian Curries with Recipes

08 Oct

Top 10 Indian Curries with Recipes

To celebrate National Curry Week we have been working on bringing you a list of the most popular Indian curry dishes with recipes. From traditional home style family favourites to favoured restaurant choices we have aimed to bring you a broad selection of curry recipes that you can make in your own kitchen. These are also very easy curry recipes without any sacrifice in flavour or authenticity. From delicious creamy Korma to a spicy Vindaloo we have a variety of curry recipes for all occasions. The other fantastic thing about curries is that they are so versatile. You can make them with chicken, lamb, beef, or make them vegetarian. We have put in a list of the minimum ingredients required for each recipe, and then also optional (but highly recommended!) additions depending on what you have readily available. Read on to find out more about delicious curry recipes and the origins of curry dishes. Each of these recipes will serve two hungry people, and are ideal for scaling up or down.


Butter Chicken

Known as Makhani Murgh in Hindi, butter chicken is famous for its smooth, creamy, and velvety sauce that is made from blending the onions, spices, and tomatoes together to form a silky sauce. If you do not have a blender, simply chop your onions and tomatoes very finely and simmer until smooth, then you can mash the sauce or even put it through a sieve. The chicken itself is marinated separately for a few hours before being put in the sauce, and this can even be done overnight to save yourself some effort on the day.

Ingredients:

For the marinade

  • 500g of chicken breasts or thighs, cut into chunks
  • Two tablespoons of ginger garlic paste, or equivalent fresh
  • Two teaspoons of ground cumin
  • Two teaspoons of garam masala
  • Two teaspoons of ground coriander
  • One teaspoon of red chilli powder
  • One teaspoon of turmeric
  • Two teaspoons of salt
  • Enough yoghurt to coat the chicken

Method for the marinade:

  1. Mix all of the above ingredients together thoroughly apart from the chicken, then place the chicken in the marinade, mix again, and put in the fridge and leave for at least an hour to overnight.

Ingredients for the sauce:

  • One tablespoon of oil
  • One tablespoon of butter
  • Three very finely chopped onions
  • Two tins of tomatoes
  • Two tablespoons of ginger garlic paste, or fresh equivalent
  • Four cardamom pods, remove the pods and keep the seeds
  • One teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • Three cloves
  • Two teaspoons of ground coriander
  • Two teaspoons of ground cumin
  • Two teaspoons of garam masala
  • One teaspoon of turmeric
  • Two teaspoons of salt
  • One teaspoon of red chilli powder, to taste
  • Double cream to taste

Method:

  1. Marinate chicken for at least an hour to overnight.
  2. Heat up a pan to medium heat.
  3. Take the bits of chicken out of the marinade and cook the chicken pieces on both sides for a few minutes, do this in batches if necessary, and then take out of the pan and put the chicken to the side.
  4. Add oil and butter to the pan. Add your whole spices to the pan and toast for a few seconds. Add ginger garlic and ground spices and fry for another 30 seconds.
  5. Add your onions and salt, stir thoroughly with the spices. Keep them cooking for at least 5 minutes, adding a dash more oil or water if necessary.
  6. Add chopped tomatoes and cook until the smell of fresh tomatoes dissipates.
  7. Blend your onions, spices, and tomatoes together until smooth. Place back in the pot.
  8. Add your chicken pieces into the pan and cook for a few minutes, add sauce and simmer until the chicken is cooked through.
  9. Add double cream to taste, and garnish with freshly chopped coriander or a drizzle of cream if you wish. Serve immediately.


Korma

This is a restaurant favourite that is extremely popular with people that are not a big fan of spice. The ideal Korma has a rich sauce that is extremely creamy, and a little sweet without being overpowering. This recipe works incredibly well with chicken, and you will need to use full fat cream so that the sauce does not separate. You can also add flaked almonds or cashew nuts as a garnish. A wonderfully indulgent and fragrant dish inspired by rich Mughal cuisine, this is sure to impress.

Ingredients:

  • Two chicken breasts, cut into cubes
  • 300 ml of chicken stock
  • 100ml of double cream
  • Two white onions, very finely chopped or even grated
  • Four teaspoons of ginger garlic paste, or fresh equivalent
  • A generous glug of vegetable oil
  • Two tablespoons of mango chutney, or failing that two teaspoons of sugar
  • Two heaped teaspoons of ground coriander
  • Two heaped teaspoons of ground cumin
  • One heaped teaspoon of turmeric
  • Half a teaspoon of chilli powder
  • Optional but highly recommended: One bay leaf, crushed seeds from 4 cardamom pods, 4 cloves, a pinch of saffron and a two inch single stick of cinnamon.

Method:

  1. Cut the chicken into small cubes and season with black pepper, then fry this first in a little bit of oil until seared and mostly cooked. Take out of the pan and put to the side.
  2. Fry your onion in a generous amount of oil until they are very soft, about ten minutes, and stir occasionally. Add your ginger garlic paste, then fry for another minute. Add in whole spices (except saffron) if using and fry for a further minute.
  3. When the onions start to brown, put in your ground spices, add more oil if the onions starts to stick to the bottom of the pan. Fry for a minute or two.
  4. Add in your stock and mango chutney, bring the mixture to a slight boil then back down to a simmer. Add saffron if using. Cook this for five minutes while stirring until the mixture reduces by half. You can at this point use a blender on the sauce to make it extra smooth.
  5. Put the chicken back in the sauce. Add cream and stir through thoroughly. Cook for five to ten minutes, and check everything is cooked through. Remove cinnamon, bay leaves and cloves if used.
  6. You can garnish with a few cashew nuts or almonds, or a few strands of saffron.


Madras

The Madras curry as it is known in the UK is a British Indian restaurant invention, particularly British Bangladeshi owned Indian restaurants, and does not really exist outside this sphere. This is a very spicy, aromatic, and tangy curry. Not for the faint of heart!
If you do not like your food too hot, reduce the chilli powder, add coconut milk to the sauce, or serve with yoghurt. This is a very simple, quick, easy, and versatile curry that is ideal for midweek cooking and freezes well.
The key to this dish, whether you are using curry powder or not, is at least one tablespoon of some acidity, be it white wine vinegar, tamarind, or lemon juice.

Ingredients:

  • 500g of diced meat, be it chicken, lamb, or beef
  • Four onions, chopped
  • One heaped tablespoons of ginger garlic paste, or fresh equivalent
  • Two tins of tomatoes
  • Two teaspoons of garam masala
  • Three heaped teaspoons of cumin, seeds or ground cumin
  • Three heaped teaspoons of ground coriander
  • Two heaped teaspoons of chilli powder, or three to four chopped chillies
  • One heaped teaspoon of turmeric
  • One bay leaf
  • Two tablespoons of white wine vinegar, or one tablespoon of tamarind or lemon juice
  • Salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • Optional but recommended: Eight to ten curry leaves and/or freshly chopped coriander, a teaspoon of mustard seed, two teaspoons of ground fenugreek, a few peppercorns instead of ground pepper.

Method:

  1. Pour a generous glug of oil in to a pot and heat up to a low to medium heat.
  2. Add in any whole spices you are using and toast for a few seconds.
  3. Add in your onions, ginger, garlic and fresh chillies if using.
  4. Turn up the heat slightly and cook until the onions soften.
  5. Add in your ground spices and stir thoroughly. Add a little dash more oil or water if this sticks to the bottom of the pan.
  6. Add in your meat and brown.
  7. Add in your tins of tomatoes and stir thoroughly. Add salt to taste.
  8. Keep your curry simmering for thirty minutes, stirring occasionally.
  9. Check the salt and spice levels, adding more to your taste if needed.
  10. Add in a tablespoon of white wine vinegar. If using lemon juice or tamarind, add one tablespoon. Lower the heat.
  11. Garnish with freshly chopped coriander if using.


Biryani

Biryanis are incredibly popular across South Asia, the diaspora, and beyond so there are many, many variations and many, many more strongly held opinions on what constitutes and belongs in a Biryani. The origins of this dish are within the Muslim population of South Asia, and there are many styles within this region and beyond in Western Asia, Afghanistan, Indonesia, Myanmar, the Philippines, South Africa, Thailand, Mauritius, Malaysia, and Singapore, as well as many other countries that the South Asian diaspora have moved to. This dish was initially brought to the South Asian region from Persia through the Mughal empire, and is probably the most well known dish from Mughal cuisine and a classic example of 'dum' cooking, in which ingredients are marinated first and then slow cooked together in a tightly sealed pot for maximum flavour. While this recipe at first may seem intimidating, it is actually surprisingly easy but there are a few steps to follow. This is a fantastic dish to make for a special occasion and can be made with diced chicken, chicken thighs, diced lamb, or diced beef.

Ingredients for the Biryani

Ingredients for marinade:

  • Two heaped tablespoons of ginger garlic paste
  • One tablespoon of garam masala
  • One heaped teaspoon of salt
  • One heaped teaspoon of turmeric
  • One heaped teaspoon of ground cumin
  • One heaped teaspoon of ground coriander
  • One heaped teaspoon of chilli powder
  • A few tablespoons of full fat yoghurt, enough to cover the ingredients but not so that they are swimming in yoghurt

Ingredients for the rice:

  • Four bay leaves
  • Six cloves
  • Six cardamom pods, crushed and shells removed so only the seeds are used
  • Two inch stick of cinnamon
  • Two teaspoons of cumin seeds
  • One teaspoon of turmeric
  • Two tablespoons of salt

Other ingredients for the Biryani:

  • Three white onions, thinly sliced and fried until crispy
  • Optional but highly recommended: Mint leaves, coriander leaves, saffron water, chopped chillies

Method:

  1. Roughly chop your meat component of the Biryani if not already diced.
  2. Add the spices from the marinade into yoghurt, stir thoroughly until combined, then add in your meat. Marinate for at least twenty minutes to overnight.
  3. Measure out 400g of rice, rinse until the water runs clear then soak for 30 minutes in warm water. Rinse again.
  4. Bring water to the boil, add rice and rice spices together and cook until rice is just over halfway done. Drain and remove whole spices if you wish.
  5. Remove the bits of meat and/or vegetables from the marinade and shake off any excess, then add to the bottom of a large oven proof pot. If using fried onions and chillies, add half of this too. You can simmer this for a minute if you wish.
  6. Layer on your half cooked rice then add the rest of the onion, chilli, chopped coriander, and chopped mint if using. If you want you can also add a tablespoon of hot water to some saffron strands and add this for added colour/flavour. Cover with foil or a lid
  7. Put in the oven at 190C/Gas Mark 5 for 45 minutes for chicken breasts, 1 hour for chicken on the bone, or 1 hour for diced lamb and diced beef.

Jalfrezi

Jalfrezi comes from Bengal, and is a corruption of colloquial Bengali for spicy, jhal, and a Persian word, porhezi, which translates roughly to self-denial. Thus this is a sauce that is hot, and also low calorie. During the British Raj, this sauce was also used as a way of cooking up any leftovers, so is incredibly versatile and can be used to curry just about anything. This recipe works with particularly well with chicken and a mix of red and green sliced peppers.

Ingredients:

  • 500g of diced meat, chicken works well 
  • Two tins of tomatoes
  • Three onions, white or red
  • Two peppers, one red and one green
  • One heaped tablespoon of ginger garlic paste, or fresh equivalent
  • Two green chillies, finely chopped and/or two heaped teaspoons of chilli powder (reduce for less heat)
  • One heaped teaspoon of turmeric
  • One heaped teaspoon of cumin
  • Two heaped teaspoons of garam masala
  • Optional but highly recommended: One teaspoon of white wine/cider vinegar or lemon juice, one teaspoon of ground fenugreek, freshly chopped coriander for garnish

Method:

  1. Add a generous glug of oil to a pan.
  2. Put in onions and fry until they start to turn golden.
  3. Add in ground spices, stir thoroughly.
  4. Add your diced meat and cook until browned.
  5. Add in tinned tomatoes, lower the heat slightly and keep stirring until you get your desired consistency
  6. When the meat is cooked through add in bell peppers and cook until tender.
  7. Add in a teaspoon of vinegar or lemon juice and stir before serving, garnish with freshly chopped coriander if you have it.


Bhuna

Bhuna refers to the tempering of spices in oil at the start of cooking. This recipe is very simple, has few ingredients, and a well rounded flavour. The bhuna is characterised by a thick sauce made from onions and tomatoes. Perfect with chicken, lamb, or beef.

Ingredients:

  • 500g of diced chicken, lamb, or beef
  • Three onions, finely chopped
  • One tin of tomatoes
  • One heaped tablespoon of ginger garlic paste, or fresh equivalent
  • Two heaped teaspoons of garam masala
  • Two heaped teaspoons of ground cumin
  • Two heaped teaspoons of ground coriander
  • One heaped teaspoon of turmeric
  • One to two teaspoons of chilli powder, or one to two green chillies to taste
  • Two teaspoons of salt, to taste
  • Two tablespoons of oil/ghee
  • Optional: a touch of lemon juice, a teaspoon of ground fenugreek, added salt, a teaspoon of garam masala to finish

Method:

  1. Heat oil in a pan to a medium heat.
  2. Add in spices, stir for thirty seconds.
  3. Add ginger garlic paste, stir for thirty seconds.
  4. Add in onions, make sure nothing is sticking to the bottom of the pan. Add a touch more oil or water is this happens.
  5. Add salt.
  6. Stir onions until they soften.
  7. Add in your meat and cook until browned slightly.
  8. Add in your tin of tomatoes, if you want a thicker more liquid sauce add half a mug of water with a dash of salt.
  9. Simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  10. Add a touch of lemon juice and more salt to taste, if you wish.


Vindaloo

It is thought that the name comes from 'vin' referring to wine, and 'aloo' being Hindi for potatoes, but in fact this is a corruption of a Portuguese dish 'Carne de vinha d'alhos', which is meat in a wine marinade. The Vindaloo is an Indian version of this, and comes from Goa which was the centre of the Portuguese colony in India. This recipe is perfect with diced pork and potatoes, and packs a punch of extremely spicy and tangy flavours.

Ingredients:

  • 500g of diced meat (preferably diced pork)
  • Three to Four potatoes in big chunks
  • Two tins of coconut milk
  • Three roughly chopped onions
  • Three inches of ginger, grated
  • One whole garlic, cloves crushed and finely chopped
  • Five tablespoons of white wine vinegar
  • One tablespoon of ground cumin
  • One tablespoon of ground coriander
  • One tablespoon of turmeric
  • One tablespoon of red chilli powder, less if you prefer your food not to be very spicy
  • One tablespoon of salt
  • Two teaspoons of ground black pepper
  • One tablespoon of mustard seed

Method:

  1. Preheat your oven to 190C/Gas Mark 4.
  2. Mix all your ground spices, salt, pepper, and vinegar into a paste. Add in your meat and stir thoroughly so that the meat is coated in the paste. Put this to the side while you prepare your onions, ginger and garlic. You can also leave the meat to marinade overnight if you wish.
  3. Heat oil in a large oven proof pot. Add mustard seeds and cook for a few seconds until they start to pop.
  4. Add onions and fry until they start to turn golden.
  5. Add ginger and garlic, fry for a further minute.
  6. Add in your meat and fry for five minutes.
  7. Add in coconut milk and stir thoroughly. Simmer for a minute.
  8. Add a lid or foil to the pot and put in the oven.
  9. After 30 minutes add in your large chunks of potatoes, stir thoroughly, then return to the oven and cook for another 30 minutes.


Rogan Josh

There is a little debate as to where the name originates from, 'Roughan' in Urdu translates to oil or butter and 'ghosht' means lamb, thus meaning meat stewed in butter which is how the dish is made. This dish also has a distinctive red colour to the oil and sauce, and originally this colour would come from from using the Alkanna tinctoria flower, also known as the dyer's alkanet, of which the roots produce a bright red colour when crushed. This could be another origin of the Rogan Josh name, as the flower's Urdu name is Ratan Jot. These days the colour comes from using Kashmiri chillies, or red chilli powder.
This is a good recipe for people who do not eat onion or garlic, as traditionally this would be made with a tablespoon of fennel seeds, and a teaspoon of hing/asafoetida which are also wonderful substitutes for onions and garlic in most curries. This dish originates from Kashmir, and Kashmiri versions of this recipe do not contain tomatoes, onion, or garlic despite them being a popular addition elsewhere. It is believed the inclusion of onion, garlic, and tomatoes was as a result of Punjabi influence when this dish was brought there by the Mughals. If you must add tomatoes, add them after the meat and cook for a while so the acidity and flavour is reduced before adding the yoghurt.
This recipe is relatively easy, there is a bit of cooking at the beginning then you can just leave the covered pot on the stove on a very low heat for two to three hours while checking occasionally, making this an excellent alternative to a Sunday roast.
This dish tastes best when left to simmer for as long as possible. You want to cook this until a thick layer of red oil separates from the sauce and the meat is incredibly tender, and falls apart at the slightest touch. This is also perfect for diced lamb and diced beef.

Ingredients:

  • 500g of diced lamb or diced beef
  • 300g of full fat yoghurt
  • One garlic, cloves crushed and chopped
  • One inch of grated ginger
  • Two onions
  • 5 tablespoons of oil, or preferably ghee
  • Two inches of cinnamon stick, or one teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • 8 cardamom pods, crush and use the seeds, discard the pods
  • 6 cloves
  • Three bay leaves
  • Two teaspoons of cumin, seeds or ground cumin
  • Two to three teaspoons of red chilli powder
  • One tablespoon of ground coriander
  • Two teaspoons of garam masala
  • Optional but recommended: Seeds from two black cardamom pods, two teaspoons of fennel seeds, generous pinch of saffron strands

Method:

  1. Heat oil in a pot, crush your whole spices using a mortar and pestle, then add to the oil and fry for a few seconds.
  2. If using onions, stir and cook for about five minutes, add ginger garlic, cook for another 5 minutes.
    Add in your meat and brown, then reduce the heat slightly. Add in ground spices and stir so that the meat is coated in the spices.
  3. Stir your yoghurt to remove any lumps, then add to the meat a bit at a time while stirring. Add saffron if using. Cook for a few minutes.
  4. Put a lid on the pan, or cover with foil and leave to simmer on a low heat for two hours at least, checking occasionally that it is not sticking to the pan. Add a touch of water if this happens
  5. Add two teaspoons of salt and a teaspoon of ground pepper, or more to taste. Cook for a further five minutes.
  6. The dish is ready when there is a thick layer of oil.
  7. Take out your bits of meat, and garnish with freshly chopped coriander if you have it.


Achari

Achar is the Hindi/Urdu word for pickle and the main flavours of this recipe come from pickles, mango and lime in this case. This is a very easy and versatile curry that is ideal for a midweek meal as it is can be made with any type of curry powder and the sauce is primarily made from the contents of jars of pickles. The result is an explosion of sweet, salty, spicy, and tangy flavours that compliment chicken, lamb, or beef.

Ingredients:

  • 500g of diced chicken, lamb, or beef
  • Three onions, white or red, finely chopped
  • A heaped tablespoon of ginger garlic paste, or fresh equivalent
  • One tin of tomatoes
  • One tablespoon of mango chutney, chop any big bits
  • One tablespoon of lime pickle, chop up any big bits
  • One tablespoon of curry powder or garam masala, or a teaspoon each of black pepper, cumin, garam masala, ground coriander, turmeric, fenugreek,
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional but highly recommended: One bay leaf, chopped coriander for garnish

Method:

  1. Heat up a little oil in to a pan, add your spices and cook for a few seconds until all the aromas are released.
  2. Add in your onions and ginger garlic. Cook until they start to soften.
  3. Add in your meat and cook for five to ten minutes.
  4. Add in chopped tomatoes and chutneys, add two teaspoons of salt and a touch of ground pepper.
  5. Simmer for twenty minutes, adding only a touch of water if needed. Keep cooking until your ingredients are cooked through and you have the consistency you desire
  6. Garnish with chopped coriander if you wish.


Pathia

This sweet, sour, and spicy curry has its origins in Persia yet has found a home as a firm favourite in the British Indian curry houses. It was brought to India by the Parsi people, who originate from Iran but have been settled in India since the 8th Century.
The key to getting the particular balance and depth of flavour is to use tamarind rather than vinegar or lime juice as some recipes suggest. For the sweetness jaggery (Indian style cane sugar) works best, though brown sugar is a close second. If you don't have either jaggery or brown sugar, a touch of mango chutney or honey would also work. If you don't have curry leaves, you can also use two bay leaves. You can also make this dish without ginger if you can't find any.
This recipe can be used for chicken, lamb, or beef, but also works spectacularly well with fish.

Ingredients:

  • 500g of diced chicken, lamb, beef, or fish
  • Four finely chopped white or red onions
  • One tin of tomatoes
  • One tablespoon of garlic paste, or fresh equivalent
  • One tin of tomatoes
  • One bay leaf
  • Two heaped teaspoons of garam masala
  • Two heaped teaspoons of ground cumin
  • Two heaped teaspoons of ground coriander
  • Two teaspoons of red chilli powder and/or freshly chopped chillies to taste
  • Two teaspoons of salt to taste
  • One tablespoon of tamarind paste
  • Two heaped teaspoons of brown sugar/jaggery, or one tablespoon of honey or one tablespoon of mango chutney
    Optional but highly recommended: Two heaped teaspoons of ground fenugreek (methi), six curry leaves.

Method:
Heat up a generous amount of oil to medium heat in a pan, add your garlic (and ginger if using) and fry for a few seconds.
Add your powdered spices and stir for a few seconds. If they stick to the bottom of the pan add a touch of water or more oil. Stir thoroughly until you get a paste.
Add in your finely chopped onion and stir thoroughly. Add fresh chillies if using. Cook until the onions start to turn soft.
Add in your main ingredients. If using meat you want to add this to the pan and brown this, if using fish you put this in at a later point.
Add your tomatoes, bay leaves, curry leaves, and salt. Simmer for twenty minutes.
Add in your tamarind and sugar. Simmer for a further ten minutes. If using seafood add this in now. Make sure everything is cooked through before serving.
Garnish with freshly chopped coriander if you wish.