publication date: Nov 25, 2008
author/source: Fiona Beckett
This week is apparently National Curry Week but I wonder how many of us will be making our curries from scratch? Or even if it’s cheaper to do so? If you haven’t got a good stock of spices you could easily spend the cost of a takeaway buying ingredients for the recipe which you never get round to using again. On the other hand home made curries undoubtedly taste better so what's the best strategy?
Here are my money saving tips
- Look out for 2 for 1 offers and other cut price offers on good quality curry sauces. The cheaper ones simply aren’t worth the money. I like Patak’s, Geeta’s and the Loyd Grossman sauces which ASDA is currently selling at 2 for £2 instead of £1.87 each (until Dec 9th)
- Cheaper still, use a curry paste. The flavour is much better than most blended commercial curry powders (although I find it helps to stir in a bit of yoghurt at the end of the cooking time) and the jars last ages in the fridge. Again, Patak’s ones are good (no commercial connection!)
- If you do buy a ready-made curry, buy a bit of extra meat or vegetables to chop up and add to it as there’s always a poor ratio of meat to sauce. (I suggest lean meat because tougher stewing cuts will take too long to cook through. A good use for leftovers too!)
- Make your own vegetable dishes and sides like raita (cucumber or onion and yoghurt) and dal (lentil or split pea purée). Ready made ones are not only expensive but don’t taste nearly as good. We’ll be giving you a couple of recipes later this week
- Cook your own rice. Easy and much, much cheaper than buying a pilau.
- Buy your spices and fresh herbs such as coriander from Asian shops and market stalls. You get two to three times as much for your money and the herbs will keep much longer than they do in those mingey little packets. (The best way to keep coriander is to buy it with the stalks still on, put it, unwashed, in a jam jar full of water, cover it with a plastic bag secured with a rubber band and keep it in the fridge. Take it out as you need it and wash it then. Change the water every couple of days and it should last the best part of a week.)