Spice up summer with easy-to-make curries

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Quick chicken curry, foreground, and gingered pork masala, center, are served with rice.

As the days get hotter, why not head to the grocery store and pick up some spices to try your hand at making authentic curry? Shunsuke Inada, head chef of the Erick South south Indian cuisine restaurants, offers tips on how to make some simple Indian curries at home that do not require a lot of steps.

“A lot of people think spices do the heavy lifting in Indian curry, but it is more about drawing out the flavors through the process of cooking,” Inada said. “The spices are there to play a supporting role. Also, it’s pretty healthy because not a lot of oil is used.”

The spices for the recipes can be found in powdered form at your local grocery store.

The first dish is a chicken curry that can be made quickly. You only need to stir-fry the ingredients and let them simmer, but the taste is amazing.

“The spices lose their flavors the longer you simmer the ingredients, so if you only let it simmer for a short period of time, you’ll get a more flavorful curry,” Inada said.

Inada said not to worry if the onions don’t brown, but to focus more on quickly frying everything to make a smoother curry. To make your plating look professional, add some shredded ginger or cilantro leaves on top before serving.

The curry strikes a great balance, between the sweetness of the onion and the acidity of the tomato. It goes great with rice cooked slightly harder than usual.

Quick chicken curry

  • Ingredients (serves 2):
  • 1 chicken thigh
  • ½ tomato
  • ½ onion
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • 1 tsp grated garlic or garlic paste
  • ½ tsp coriander
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • ¼ to ½ tsp cayenne pepper or powdered chili pepper
  • ¼ tsp black pepper

  • Directions:
  • The Yomiuri Shimbun
  • 1. Pour 1 tablespoon of cooking oil into a frying pan over medium heat. Place ginger, garlic, onion (sliced about 5-millimeters thick), and 1 teaspoon of salt into the pan. Add the spices.
  • 2. When the onions have softened, pour 100 milliliters of water into the pan. Add the bite-size chicken pieces and the tomato, cut lengthwise.
  • 3. Cover the pan with a lid and bring to a boil. Then lower the heat and let everything simmer for 10 minutes. Stir once or twice while simmering.
  • 4. When the flavors are to your liking, take off the heat and serve.
  • The next recipe is for soupless curry with pork and ginger.

    The curry powder brings out the flavors of the ginger and green bell peppers. The dish works as a side dish or as a snack with some alcohol. As the recipe does not use curry roux, which contains fat that hardens when it gets cold, it also makes for a great addition to a bento boxed meal.

    Gingered pork masala

    • Ingredients (serves 2):
    • 150 grams pork trimmings
    • 1 green bell pepper
    • ¼ onion
    • ½ tomato
    • 25 grams ginger
    • 2 tsp curry powder

    • Directions:
      • The Yomiuri Shimbun
        Add curry powder to the ingredients.
      • 1. Cut the pork into bite-size pieces, the green bell pepper into thick strips and the onion into 5-millimeter thick slices. Dice the tomato and julienne the ginger.
      • 2. Pour 1 tablespoon of cooking oil into a frying pan and set it to medium heat. Add all the ingredients into the pan, except for the tomato, and sprinkle 1 teaspoon of sugar and more than ½ teaspoon of salt.
      • 3. When the pork is thoroughly cooked, add the tomato. Let it cook for one more minute as you crush the tomato. Mix well with the other ingredients and serve.
      • “In India, curry is as common as miso soup in Japan. There is a wide variety of curries that are easy to make,” Inada said.

        “I hope people can see curry not as a special dish, but as an everyday dinner option,” he added.