Basic Curry

Basic Curry

Annette Ford
This basic curry recipe is quick, tasty and makes good use of left-over roast meat, vegetables you have in the fridge and some basic staples like tomato paste and yogurt. I love the flexibility of it. If you are of an experimental nature, you may like play around with some the spices to make it your own.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Asian
Servings 4 people


Spice base

  • 8 cardamom pods
  • 8 whole cloves
  • 1/2 stick cinnamon
  • 2 tspns coriander seeds
  • 2 tspns cumin seeds

Asian base

  • 1 tbsp ghee (or preferred cooking oil – see the "Smoke Point of Fats" chart linked in the notes below for options)
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 tbsp grated ginger
  • 1 onion finely sliced
  • 1 red chili (depends on how hot you like your curries)


  • Left overroast (lamb, chicken or beef)

Vegetables (can use any in season root vegetable total weight 1.2kg)

  • 300 g sweet potato
  • 300 g pumpkin
  • 300 g carrots
  • 300 g celeriac
  • 1/2 cup peas fresh or frozen


  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 cups bone broth/stock (can use water)
  • 2 tbsp yogurt (coconut, sheep or cow)


  • Heat a heavy based pan to a moderate temperature.
  • Add the cardamom pods, cloves and cinnamon, gently stirring with a wooden spoon until you can smell the aroma being released.
  • Add the coriander seeds, and continue to cook for 30 seconds, then add the cumin seeds and remove from heat.
  • Stir for another minute in the hot pan, then place into a mortar. Grind well with the pestle (the pod covers will not break down completely). Set aside.
  • Warm a heavy based pan, and add the ghee.
  • When the ghee has melted, add the onion and cook until transparent. Add garlic, ginger and chilly, and cook for 30 seconds.
  • Add the ground spices and the tomato paste, cooking to release the natural sugars.
  • Add the cooked meat, chopped vegetables and broth. Simmer gently for 30 minutes.
  • Remove from the heat and stir in the yogurt.
  • Serve with rice or cauliflower rice and freshly chopped coriander leaves.


  • See the “Smoke Point of Fats” chart here.
  • If time is an issue, skip roasting the spices and use a curry paste you have made previously or an off-the-shelf version with ingredients you trust.