There’s quite a lot to be said for pantry staples, and meals that come together in a half-hour while you drink the last beer and contemplate hibernation.
While I am not one to advocate one product over another, and would certainly never deliberately push a brand at you, I think that everyone ought to own a few key things to help themselves along on nights when it’s been dark all day and you’re cold and even your skin under your clothes is damp and your lips are chapping like snakeskin. For times like those, you ought to own a jar of madras curry paste. If you get yours in one of those little Indian shops, even better, and probably cheaper too.
Sure, you could make your own curry paste, but the point sometimes is not artistry or chemistry – it’s eating, fast. And because life’s too short to eat bad food, it’s got to be convenience food that tastes like slow-cookery, because it’s also got to soothe. So, on nights like these, a warm tomato curry is what you need. You can use madras, or any other curry paste that pleases you – I recommend an Indian-style curry paste, like madras or tandoori, because it goes so nicely with tomatoes. All that cumin and coriander. Use a hot paste if you like – I keep this pretty mild though.
Easy tomato curry
- 2 tbsp. butter
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 lb. cubed boneless chicken thighs
- 2 tbsp. madras curry paste
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 398 mL/14 oz. can of tomato sauce (make sure it’s pure – no spices, garlic, or onion powder … read the back of the can!)
- 1 398 mL/14 oz. can of coconut milk (not the low-fat kind – it’s too watery)
- 2 cups chopped tomatoes
- 1 tbsp. red chili flakes
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 2 cups whole spinach leaves
In a large pot over medium-high heat, melt butter and sauté onions until translucent. Add chicken, curry paste, and garlic. Brown chicken lightly.
Add your tomato sauce and coconut milk, scraping the bottom of the pan for any delicious brown bits as you do. Stir in the tomatoes and chili flakes, and reduce to medium. Simmer over medium heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Season to taste, and then, just before serving, stir in the spinach leaves. Serve over rice, preferably rice that’s flecked with a little bit of toasted coconut, and maybe tossed with a handful of peas. The curry will cook in the same amount of time as the rice. Easy, simple, nourishing, and delicious. Which is what you want on a Thursday in October, you know?