In my continued quest for curries that we would enjoy I decided to hunt about for jalfrezi. When done well this is one of Chris’s favourite types of curry but every recipe was different other than the core similarities between them – lots of tomato and garlic.
Interestingly, most of the recipes were decidedly lacking in ingredients to give them a hot spicy kick and yet jalfrezi is meant to be one of the hotter curries, so I decided to work with one I found that seemed more reliable (it’s the recipe used by a chef in an Indian restaurant, though I found that watching the video of him was a bit like watching Jamie Oliver. It’s a bit of a faff using two pans – I’m usually a fan of curries partly because they are a one pot dish – but the benefit of dealing with the vegetables separately is that they don’t get overcooked and disappear into the curry.
I made a few changes to quantities as well as a few basic amendments like swapping fresh tomatoes for canned tomatoes and increasing the bulk with more vegetables, because that’s how we like our meals in this house. I’ve detailed with this recipe the meat that we used but in reality you can use whatever meat you prefer, just substitute with the meat of your choice – I’ve included the measurement for a chicken substitution to make the most common – chicken jalfrezi.
I’ve also slightly softened the heat from the original recipe, however this is still reasonably hot. If you don’t like really hot curries I still recommend you try this one for the lovely flavours but ease off on the heat. The nice thing about making your curries from scratch is that you can control the heat. Just vary the volume of chilli seeds included. I’ve got the seeds from all four chillis included here. For a medium curry include the seeds from two of the chillies, for mild only leave in a few seeds (perhaps half a chilli’s worth) or even none at all – just using the flesh of the chillis.
The yoghurt adds a tang and creaminess to the curry that you wouldn’t otherwise have, but if you’re avoiding all dairy then it wouldn’t be the end of the world to exclude it and replace the ghee with olive oil.
Ingredients (serves 5-6):
2 tbsp ghee
4 green chillies, chopped and seeds retained
1½ tbsp cumin seeds
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp salt (optional)
2x400g tins chopped tomatoes
1½ tbsp turmeric
850g beef mince (or 1kg chicken or other meat of your choice, chopped into small chunks)
½ pint water
6 tbsp yoghurt (optional – see comment above)
1-2 tbsp ghee
2 large onions, roughly chopped
2 green bell peppers, roughly chopped
1 large courgette (zucchini), halved and sliced
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp garam masala
- Heat the ghee in a large non-stick pan. Add the chillies, cumin, garlic and salt and fry for a couple of minutes until the oils are being released from the items, but try to not reach the stage where the ingredients have turned very dark brown and are, essentially, burned. If you do turn them black though, it’s not the end of the world – just carry on!
- Add the tomatoes and reduce a little over the high heat for a few minutes until the tomatoes are looking less watery (if you use good quality tomatoes you won’t need to spend as long on this since the water content in the tin will be lower).
- Add the turmeric, stir into the tomatoes and leave to simmer for another couple of minutes.
- Add the mince (or other meat) to the pan, breaking it up in the gravy as it starts to cook through so that you don’t have any large lumps of mince, and then add the water and yoghurt to the pan, mixing them in thoroughly. Leave to simmer over a medium heat for 15-20 minutes until the sauce has reduced to a more traditional thicker gravy and the meat is cooked through.
- A few minutes before the main curry is ready prepare the vegetables. In a separate large frying pan, heat some ghee and then add the onions, peppers and courgette to the pan. Fry over a high heat for a couple of minutes until just beginning to soften.
- Add the cumin and garam masala to the vegetables and mix in thoroughly.
- When the main curry is done, add the vegetables to the meat pan and stir the two together before serving.