29 September 2013

Tomato in curries

One way I've been using fresh tomatoes this month is in curries. Thanks go to our English friend Nick, who made us a good tomato-chicken curry for dinner back at the end of August.

Curry of shrimp, cauliflower, zucchini, and tomato, with onions, garlic, and ginger

Tomato wasn't an ingredient I associated with curry, but it really adds freshness and natural sweet flavor to the sauce. The sauce itself I make using curry powders — garam massala from India via England, massalé from the islands of Mauritius and Réunion via France — with some cinnamon, cumin, turmeric, and cayenne added to balance out the flavors.

Chunks of fresh red tomato warming through  in a curry sauce

The sauce can have yogurt, cream, or coconut milk as its base — or broth, or just water. It needs enough curry powder and spices in it to have a pronounced flavor and to thicken the liquid to a creamy consistency. Sautéed onions and garlic are indispensable. Early in the month, I made a curry with Guinea hen instead of chicken.

Curry of pintade (Guinea hen) with green peas and chunks of fresh yellow tomato

And then more recently, I decided to make a shrimp and cauliflower curry. That seemed like an unusual combination to me, but I found several recipes for such curries on the internet. I guess you can find anything you want on the internet. I added sautéed chunks of zucchini and chunks of fresh tomato, and it all went together really well.


  1. The Internet is....
    a bit like "Alice's Restaurant"!!

    And thanks to your inspiration we are having curry tonight...
    I've combined a large jar of Apple and Tomato Chutney [circa 2000] and a small jar of very spicy Squashney [a thick mustard chutney of squash] dated 2003 [I think...] we had a snail problem in our cellar in Leeds... most of the label had been grazed...
    "lucky dip" jam was occasionally quite exciting... most of the others were fairly identifiable.

    The two jars have made plenty of sauce... needs a bit of cumin I think... but we will have enough to freeze... or in the case of some of the veg and meat... refreeze [after cooking]...

    There will be fresh courgette... our one Rond de Nice has just started to produce in spades [eight fruit to pick yesterday!]
    And chunked fresh toms!

    I just need to get down the 9 Litre marmite!!

  2. I've never made curry sauce using anything but store-bought curry powder. Your sauce looks great!

  3. I with Starman, have only used curry powder. There is a Penzey's spice store in Birmingham now, so I should try some new spices. I love curry and most Indian food.

    And yes, Tim, the internet is Alice's restaurant. I can't imagine life without it now.

  4. Yumm :) These descriptions are very enticing, and now I'm in the mood for a coconut milk based something.

  5. OK, drooling here in California....

  6. Great stuff Ken, cant beat a curry on a Friday night! in the UK we often get tomato chunks in our curry and many of the sauces are made using tomato paste. A good tip for the sauce is to sweat the onions ginger and garlic then add the spices and chilli etc. and fry for a couple of mins or so before adding some tomato paste or a couple of toms. Next use a stick blender to turn it into a thick paste and set aside - make a batch and jar or freeze some. Then you can use it to flavour and thicken......
    For the real way to do it see the Hairy Bikers curry book...

    Its always a pleasure cooking for you guys...you seem to appreciate it even when it doesn't quite turn out like the picture!!!!!!!!!


  7. Hi Christine, when you come back to the Loire Valley we'll have to make one of these curries.

    Nick, thanks. We'd love to get the Harry Bikers' food tour of the British Isles on DVD, but as far as I can tell it hasn't been released yet.

    Starman, Evelyn, :-)


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