Love Me Tandoor

Sorry, Elvis.

I have often wondered what it is that stops people making their own curries more often. Apparently Chicken Tikka Masala is the nation’s favourite food – although I can’t honestly remember the last time I sat in a curry house with anyone who actually ordered one – never mind, it is indisputable that curry is a fairly popular cuisine. Different sources suggest between 8 -10,000 restaurants that serve Indian food in the UK. So why do so few people cook curries from scratch in their own home?  Weeellll, it depends by what you mean by scratch, is probably the answer. Some people view Homepride curry sauces mixed with chicken/lamb/whatever and put in the oven as homemade (eww). Some people use spice pastes and coconut milk, some people just buy ready meals and takeaways. And if the quick straw poll I took is accurate,people do this because they think making curry is difficult or time consuming, and they think you need loads of expensive ingredients. Now even if the above were true, I think the results would be worth it.

Happily, curry is easy and spices are cheap, that is, as long as you don’t buy those stupid glass jars that have about 50g of spice in from the supermarket. And spices do last. Not forever, but even if you don’t cook curries as regularly as me (maybe twice a week on average) then the return on investment on these babies is fairly high, certainly a lot cheaper than ready meals and ready made spice pastes. Just don’t leave it a year between uses. So anyway, these are the things I have accumulated in my kitchen cupboards, and you can cook anything you like when you have this stuff.


  • Turmeric
  • Coriander (seeds – you can grind it)
  • Cumin        (as above)
  • Chilli Powder
  • Garam Masala
  • Green Cardamom Pods
  • Black Peppercorns

Nice to Haves:

  • Yellow Mustard Seeds
  • Cinnamon Sticks/Cassia Bark
  • Bay Leaves
  • Fenugreek Seeds
  • Fennel Seeds
  • Poppy Seeds
  • Cloves
  • Dried Red Chillies

For the girl that has everything:

  • Brown Mustard Seeds
  • Black Cardamom
  • Dessicated Coconut
  • Chappati Flour
  • Panch Phoran
  • Asafoetida
  • Methi Leaves
  • Curry Leaves
  • Mace
  • Coconut Milk
  • Tamarind

I costed this on a moderately priced website – buying on the web is fine and it came in at around £20. You’ll also need a decent pestle and mortar and a heavy based lidded pan. It may seem like a lot to you, but I barely noticed I was accumulating it, although when I look at my spice cupboard now, maybe it IS a lot..

Anyway, you’ll need to buy Garlic, Ginger and fresh Onion regularly, unless you want Kashmiri curries, which don’t really have those in. Once you do have this stuff, it’s just a matter of picking up the protein of your choice on the way home and you can have a restaurant standard meal within an hour of getting in.


One Response to Love Me Tandoor

  1. mangocheeks says:

    I totally agree with you.

    I have all those spices in my kitchen cupboards at home. So its easy to knock up a Indian style curry at home.

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