As a cook, I am happy to make pastes from scratch and do the three day marinating a thing in a marinade. But this was a Friday night, I got home late, I was oh so tired and therefore used some excellent shortcuts. However the one single thing you cannot skimp on when making a curry is cooking the onions, it takes so much longer than you think it will. But once the onions are done it’s a simple assembly job and the oven does all the work.
A lot of curries seem to have an ingredient list which is eleventy stupid items long. Don’t be misled by this relatively short list of ingredients it was really lovely, more fragrant than spicy. If you are sensitive to gluten please check your curry paste is gluten free.
Pre heat oven to 160ºc
1 large onion, sliced
dash of oil
2 large tbs of garlic and ginger paste from a jar
1/2 tsp hot chilli powder
1 tsp tumeric
1 tsp garam masala
8 cardamom pods
1 large (as big as you can get) cinnamon stick (if tiny, use two)
2 heaping tbs of Korma paste, any – I used Pataks
1 tin of coconut milk
50og beef you get in the supermarket, ready diced
200g chestnut mushrooms cut into chunky slices
Fresh coriander – stalks removed and chopped, leaves set aside
Large bag of spinach
Heat the oil over a low heat in an oven proof casserole. Fry the onion until soft and bronzed – this should take at least 45 mins. Long and slow.
Add the next nine ingredients and bring to a simmer.
Tip in the beef, mushrooms and coriander stalks. Stir.
Bring back to the boil.
Cover and put in the oven for two hours.
After two hours someone NEEDED to watch the second half of a rugby match so I took the lid off the casserole and let it evaporate in the oven for another hour. You could just stick it on the top and bubble away until it is perfect for you. But in all honesty I think three hours in the oven worked so very well.
Tip in the big bag of spinach and keep poking and stirring until it is all in. I don’t think it needs to be cooked beyond the wilting stage but if you like your greens a little more cooked then carry on.
Serve with chopped fresh coriander leaves, naan bread and rice (if liked) and a quick mango chutney – mix together finely diced slightly under ripe mango, salt, lime juice, pinch of ground cumin and a tsp of black onion seeds. Add a finely chopped chilli if you like a bit of heat.