Homemade korma paste – A mild curry paste made with almonds, coconut and spices. Quick and simple to make, ready in just 10 minutes, and full of flavour.
One of the things I’ve enjoyed since starting to cook more is playing around with flavour. I’ve always watched programs like Masterchef and felt extremely envious of anyone who is complemented on their flavours, I want to be that person. I don’t mind if my food looks a mess, or I’ve not used fancy techniques (although if I can achieve those too, all the better), the most important thing is that it tastes delicious.
To me, one of the obvious starting places for my experiments with flavour was curry paste. I’ve cooked homemade curry for years, but I’ve always used jars from the supermarket. I decided to start with korma paste as mild chicken and sweet potato curry is my one year old’s favourite dinner (he’s a pretty fussy eater, but you can hide all sort of vegetables in a curry and it’ll all disappear!). So, for the past few months I’ve been playing around with different combinations and quantities of spices until I found what I think is the perfect korma paste.
I’m always a bit worried about giving my recipes a traditional name, who am I to say that this is a “traditional” korma paste. However, I believe that this has all of the key basic ingredients (cumin, coriander, almonds, coconut) so I think I’m justified. Anyway, regardless of whether you would call this authentic or not, if you’re after a mild curry paste this tastes delicious.
Before I get on with the recipe, here a couple of pieces of recommended equipment for making the korma paste.
Pestle and Morter – Essential to grind the spices and pound the curry paste. I use this pestle and mortar from Andrew James as it’s larger than a lot of others on the market (so your ingredients don’t jump out!) and it’s really good value for money. I also think it’s looks nice too.
If you want to make life a bit easier then you may also want to use a spice grinder to grind the toasted spices. You’ll still need the pestle and mortar to pound all of the ingredients together, but a spice grinder will make light work of the bit that needs the most elbow grease. I use this grinder which is also great for freshly grated nutmeg and small batches of breadcrumbs.
You’ll also need a small frying pan to toast the spices.
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 inch cube fresh root ginger
- 1 green chilli
- ½ tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 tbsp cumin seeds
- 2 tbsp coriander seeds
- ½ tsp black peppercorns
- 1 tsp cardamom seeds if you can't get seeds buy the cardamom pods and remove the seeds at home. You'll need about 20 cardamom pods to get 1 tsp of seeds.
- ½ cinnamon stick
- 2 tbsp desiccated coconut
- 2 tbsp ground almonds
- 2 tbsp tomato pureé
- 2 tbsp groundnut oil
Heat a small frying pan and add the coriander seeds (2 tbsp), black peppercorns (½ tsp), cardamom seeds (1 tsp) and cinnamon stick (½ stick). Toast the spices on a gentle heat for about 1 minute and then add the cumin seeds (1 tbsp). Continue to cook until the spices are golden and you can smell their aroma (approximately 1 minute). Regularly shake the pan to make sure that the spices don't burn. - It's important that the spices don't burn as if they do your paste will have a bitter flavour - not what you're after!.
Once the spices are toasted, grind to a powder in a pestle and mortar.
Peel the garlic (2 cloves), deseed the green chilli, and remove the outside of the ginger (1 inch cube). Put them into the pestle and mortar and bash them for a minutes or so until they are squashed.
Add the desiccated coconut (2 tbsp), ground almonds (2 tbsp), tomato pureé (2 tbsp), groundnut oil (2 tbsp) and cayenne pepper (½ tsp) and grind until you have a paste.
Season with salt.