I travel to different Supermarkets to take advantage of special offers and when I do I want to make the most of it. I buy in bulk when available and appropriate to save money and I freeze some for later. I hate waste and freeze leftovers, if I have veg or anything that might run out of date I will prepare and freeze it, making soups and sauces ready to save time later on. I love my freezer, I really do. Up until the point that I got a big American Fridge Freezer I actually had a small fridge freezer and 2 chest freezers, now I have 1 chest freezer which is usually filled to the gunnels with all kinds of delicious stuff.
I was challenged by Cool Cookery to look at the contents of my freezer and create a delicious meal for my family. I can do this.....easy.
I looked in the freezer, and I could have just made this....
I could even have gone for this.....
But it would be cheating, surely? It makes an excellent tea in a hurry once in a while, but I don't feel meets a proper challenge.
I've chosen to make Curry Pasties. I was going to make a curry with naan, but after I'd started I spotted the frozen pastry in the freezer and changed my mind! I had all day for the pastry to defrost, and 'hand food' is often easier and more suitable in hot weather. This is not the first time I've blogged a 'pie', I hope I don't get a reputation!
I already have frozen prepared onion based curry sauce because the onions take a while to soften, so I often make double the amount and freeze half for next time. I hope it isn't cheating to use my own sauce!
Curry PastiesOnion-based curry sauce
Well chop one very large onion, or two smaller ones and soften in a pan with plenty enough water to cover the onions. Once the onion is soft add your chosen curry spices and stir over the heat for a minute or two to release the flavours, but don't allow the mix to dry out or burn. Remove from the heat and give it a whizz with a blender - if it's too dry just add a little more water, it should be gloopy (that's a technical Chef term).
Take any combination of the spices below that suits you and you'll probably find you're making a named curry that already exists as a local dish somewhere in the world. Experiment with fresh, dried, ground and seeds. Food should be interesting....even a little too interesting occasionally.
Chilli - essential. Less or more depending on taste
Cumin - essential. Adds warmth and depth
Coriander - a lot of people do not like fresh Coriander, so it pays to be conservative unless you know your guests. Ground Coriander isn't so risky.
Turmeric - I generally add slightly less Turmeric than Chilli and Cumin because it can give a bitter taste if you use too much.
Mustard Seed - works especially well with 'meaty' curries and adds hotness.
Ginger - goes very well with garlic.
Garam Masala - a mix of spices that works well added a bit later on during cooking.
Rogan Josh style curries might also have things like paprika, garlic, black pepper, cardomom and cloves and tomatoes.
Balti might have cinnamon, cardamom, fennel, black onion seeds and star anise.
Tandoori might have garlic and cardamom, plus yogurt to give the creamy sauce.
Making the curry
If you are using meat please ensure it's well cooked and follow the instructions. We're using frozen Quorn, so I don't have to worry quite so much as it requires no pre-heating or cooking. It isn't necessary to use any meat or meat-replacement, you can make a purely veg curry too.
Take the same quantity of spices that you chose earlier and fry very gently in oil or butter for a minute or two until you start to fill the kitchen with delicious smells. Add your meat or meat substitute, and fresh sliced onion (okay, I cheated - but you can use frozen if you have it) and stir well to coat in the spices. Be careful not to burn your spices, but let the food cook for a few moments.
Add whatever frozen veg you wish, today I'm using broccoli, cauliflower and spinach. Pour on your onion-based curry sauce and stir well. Cook over a low heat.
Peas, carrots, sliced or diced peppers, sweet potato, butternut squash, mushrooms and pretty much any veg will work. Because we're putting it into a curry anyway now is the time to bring out any interesting mis-shapes and tip all of the broken crumbs out of the bottom of the bag.
Let your curry cook until the veg still has bite and then reduce the liquid by removing the lid and stirring as it cooks. You don't want too much liquid or your pasty will be soggy.
Making the pasty
Defrost your pastry and roll out into rough circles around 6-8 inches in diameter. Place a heap of curry towards one side, fold over and 'glue' the edges with water. Cut off all the extra bits, wipe over with egg yolk or milk, prick a few holes in the top and cook at 200 degrees for around 20 minutes.
Voila.....a delicious and nutritious meal from the freezer....
I was given a voucher to provide the ingredients for this recipe