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Tomato and coconut curry

This is a contemporary curry that fuses Indian and Thai flavours. It is a simple and quick curry that pops with flavour. The curry starts as an Indian tomato curry with the initial temper of black mustard and cumin seeds. It continues with a quick simmer in coconut milk and a garnish of Thai basil. The main flavour is the delicate aroma of kasoori methi or dried fenugreek leaves. Unlike Indian curries, the tomatoes are barely cooked. I loved the subtlety of this curry, and it was perfect with rice. I love serving it as a change as part of a larger menu where it pairs well with the other dishes.

I love Maria Elia's cookbooks, and I have them all. This one, though, is probably my favourite; the recipes are wonderful, and the flavours are creative. Maria Elia honed her skills at the best restaurants in the world, el Bulli and Arzak! and has worked in the US and England. She currently does pop-ups in London. Her recipes are about unusual, unique flavour combinations and flavours worldwide.

For all recipes from this cookbook, click here.


2 tablespoons oil

1 teaspoon mustard seeds

1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds

4 cardamom pods

4 cloves

10 curry leaves

3-4 garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon ginger paste

1-2 green chillies, minced

1 small onion, diced small

1/4 teaspoon turmeric

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander seeds

1 1/2 cups coconut milk

1-2 tablespoons jaggery or palm sugar

2 teaspoons dried fenugreek leaves (kasoori methi)

1 lb tomatoes, finely diced

1 tablespoon + to garnish, cilantro, minced

1 tablespoon + to garnish Thai basil, roughly torn

Salt, to taste

Water, as needed

Heat the oil on medium-low heat in a saucepan, then add the mustard seeds. Fry for 10 seconds until they pop. Add the cumin seeds, cardamom and cloves and fry for 10 additional seconds.

Add the curry leaves, garlic, and ginger and cook for 1 minute until the ginger no longer smells raw. Add the green chillies and onion and fry for 4-5 minutes until the onion is soft but not coloured.

Add the turmeric and coriander and mix in well. Add the coconut milk and bring to just below boiling. Do not boil the curry; it is a habit of splitting.

Add the jaggery, fenugreek leaves, tomatoes, cilantro, basil and salt. Simmer very gently for 5 minutes. If the curry is too dry, add 1/4 cup of water or as needed.

Serve immediately with rice garnished with cilantro and mint.

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