Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >
Apr 30, 2012 05:53 AM

When to make a curry paste?

I am cooking a cauliflower curry according to a very simple and quick recipe that I have used before. All I do is saute some onions, garlic and ginger, then add some dried spices and allow these to cook for a few minutes to bring out the flavour. Finally I throw in tomatoes, chickpeas and cauliflower, simmer and serve. My problem is that today I'm cooking for someone who won't eat onions, (or at least not if she can see them!). So, in the hope that I'll be able to slip the onions by my fussy guest, l've decided to blitz the fragrant little devils into a curry paste, along with the garlic and spices, and proceed from there. My question is should I do this before I've started cooking, as I think is usual with curry pastes, or should I do my sauteing, add the spices, and then blitz everything up before lobbing in the rest of the ingredients? I know it would be simpler to make the paste from uncooked ingredients but I'm not sure you get the same depth of flavour from frying a paste.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. If it was me, I'd saute as usual, add the spices, then blitz to make the paste, then add everything else. Basically, you're then keeping to your usual method, except for the disguising blitz. Cauli & chickpea sounds really good!

    1. You are sure it's just a matter of "fussiness" and not an allergy?

      1 Reply
      1. re: wyogal

        Yes, I'm sure. There's no allergy. I suspect she doesn't even actually dislike the taste, it's what she refers to as the 'slimy' look of them that's the problem. I was teasing a little with the 'fussy' remark to be honest. The guest is my girlfriend and she eats absolutely everything else.

      2. You can blanch the whole onion with a stick of cinnamon, cardamom, or other whole fragrant spice, then grind the soften onion, then sautee till gold and then add in the tomatoes, later when the tomatoes dry up, add in the spices.


        You can cook the onions till golden, then puree with the tomatoes, then cook until you have a dry paste and oil has risen above the paste. Then add the spices.

        Either way, you will have cooked the onions to release their sweetness and flavor.

        1. I saute pastes all the time. It's a common Indian cooking technique. I wouldn't think twice about it, though you may need to cut down on the saute time and/or drop the heat a little bit. (You should still monitor the color to see when the garlic and onions brown.)

          Why don't you use shallots? Then, you're not even deceiving your GF!

          1. Thanks for the replies peoples. I'm sure all the suggestions would work well but I think I'm going to go with the shallots (which still need to be mushed up, as apparently they're just as offensive as onions) and make the paste first. It actually suits me best to do this because it means I can get the paste ready now (in the absence/behind the back of 'herself') then pick her up and start adding heat once she's here. I don't really know why but I feel better about a paste with shallots than I do about one with onions.

            1 Reply
            1. re: LiamKeane

              Shallots have a distinctly different flavor than onions, not wrong but not the same.