18th September 2012
101 Uses for Leftover Yoghurt Sauce
Coconut Pea Curry

Well, 2 uses for leftover yoghurt sauce at least.

Every so often I'm overcome with a nostalgic desire to get absolutely pissed and furiously consume one of the frozen Spicey Cottage Curries (Karahi Gosht - extra spic"e"y) that my Mum brings up for me from her (and once my) local curry shop.
It's a complicated ritual that involves laying in a stock of Marston's Strong Pale Ale (a fine brew which is both delicious and reasonably priced, not to mention 6.2% ABV, which possibly explains why they seem to no longer make it, the nannyist bollocks), making up a nice soothing pot of yoghurt sauce and running a bubbling foam bath in preparation for the evening's entertainment. This may seem a lot of effort, but it does have the benefit of cutting out the tedious need to spend the night pub-crawling through Wibsey trying to get loaded enough to really enjoy the curry at its source.

First I stick a few starter beers in the freezer, make up a vat of the yoghurt sauce du jour (they're all a bit random as to quantities and precise ingredients, but it's hard to go wrong), then I roll out the seeds from a half-dozen or two thin green chillies and slice them over the top of the frozen curry, put the lid back on the tin-foil container and pop it into the oven on its lowest setting. Then it's into the bath with some bubbles, the first beer and Radio4 Extra for company.


The curry is ready to eat when the mouth-watering smell of it fills the house, and you can't resist its call any longer.
Or you regain consciousness in a cold bath. Whichever comes first.

Usually I end up having to make too much yoghurt sauce for just the one meal, it being too hard to grind up fewer ingredients, so I have to think of things to do with the leftover.
Obviously I can make up more curries to eat with it, but it also makes a reasonable topping for a spicy soup if you happen to have a bunch of vegetables that need boiling hanging around and some trahana to bolster them with.

This time I thought I'd see what it's like as a marinade, so I poured the leftover sauce with a bit of extra garlic over a couple of pork chops and stuck them in the fridge for a day. I made up a quick curry with some frozen peas, a small pot of rice, and stuck the chops under the grill. Shake off excess sauce first - or it'll just burn.

To be honest the sauce isn't really rich or complex enough to impart all that much flavour to the pork, even if it does a reasonable job of tenderising the meat though it takes a day or two. Of course you can always add spices to boost its potency.
The peas were better than the pork :)

I used the rest of the sauce to whip up an Aloo Dom adding a bit of extra grated ginger root to fry up with the coated, par-boiled potatoes in a generous amount of oil to give some extra crispiness before adding the sauce (as was - except for a bit of extra salt and the obligatory extra chillies) and simmering until tender.
That worked pretty well.

Of course, now I've got leftover curries from the leftover sauce, which I need to make more curries to eat with, like this delicious achar gosht or these not-quite-so-successfull tandoori aubergines, and before you know it I've returned to the days of endless curries and the terrifying cycle repeats.

Coconut Pea Curry
curry side veg
Pea curry with coconut and curry leaves.
A quick and clean pea curry - that doesn't adulterate their freshness overmuch.

Serves 4

Throw the curry leaves into a little boiling water to soften.
Dissolve the coconut powder in a half cup of water (mixing the water into the powder gradually) if using.
Chop the spring onions.
Heat the ghee or oil and fry the mustard seeds until they start to pop.
If you're using fresh peas throw the spring onions into the pot, quickly followed by the peas. If you're using frozen peas, just add them straight away and throw in the spring onions on top.
Stir in the coconut, salt, and the soaked curry leaves with their water.
Seal tightly and simmer gently for 5-10 minutes until the peas are cooked and the curry leaves softened.

Serve dressed with a little mustard oil.
Really rather tasty!
Leave the curry leaves softening in a little water for a while first if you have the time - it will save overcooking the peas.
I think a little grated ginger added just before the peas wouldn't go amiss.

Achar Gosht
Lamb and Pickle Curry
curry main meat
I've always liked this in the restaurants, but this is the first time I've had a go at making it. It's surprisingly simple. If your lamb is very lean you won't need to pre-fry it at all - I just do that to render any fatty pieces.

Serves 4

preheat the oven to 375°F/190°C/Gas 5.
Purée the onion, garlic and ginger root together. Add a little water if necessary.
Cut the aubergine and lamb into decent chunks: 1"-2" cubes.
Mix the powders with enough vinegar to make a thick paste. I added half a teaspoon of chilli powder and also a teaspoon each of ground coriander, cumin and turmeric to freshen the curry powder. .
Heat a heavy casserole and lay in any fatty cubes of lamb, fat side down. Allow the fat to crisp up without drying out the meat, then scoop out the cubes with a slotted spoon and set aside with any uncooked lean cubes.
Add plenty of ghee to the pot and gently fry the purée until the bitter smell has gone and the oil begins to separate.
Add the spice paste and fry until the harsh smell has gone and the oil separates again.
Add the tomato purée and fry until the oil separates again.
Stir in the lamb to coat well, then add the aubergine. Add a couple of tablespoons of the pickle, roughly chopped. If you use aubergine (brinjal) pickle you can probably add more, but hot lime pickle is quite strong. Heat through, put on the lid and stick the casserole in the oven.

Cut the mango into 1" cubes and chop the coriander leaves.
After 20 minutes take out the casserole, stir and taste. Add more pickle if you like, and a little stock if it seems too dry, not too much though - you want it dry.
Put back in the oven and cook for another 20-30 minutes until the lamb is tender.
Stir in the mango and coriander, put the casserole back in the oven and turn it off. Leave for 10-15 minutes for the flavours to mature.

Serve with pooris or rice and a minty yoghurt sauce.
Bloody delicious!
Don't overdo the pickle - it can be a bit intense.
If you like you could fry some carrot chunks or cauliflower after the tomato purée or separately fry up some potato cubes and throw them in with the lamb too.
I made this again without bothering to pre-fry my (pretty fatty) lamb shoulder cubes - and it was just as lovely.
I made the curry powder from grinding
  • 1 tsp fenugreek seeds
  • small stick cassia
  • 4 cloves
  • 2 tsps dried fenugreek leaves
  • 2 tsps dried curry leaves
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp mustard powder
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
Incidentally it's also excellent even without the addition of the mango, though it does lighten the dish considerably when properly warmed in.

Tandoori Aubergine
curry side veg
I made this since I had some spare tandoori paste that needed using up, and was grinding up some onion, garlic ginger paste for another dish. I doubt you would bother to grind up only a tablespoon otherwise.
I'm sure you could do the same thing with any other solid vegetable - cauliflower, courgette, potato, even onions

If you're going to skewer them you probably want hefty chunks of vegetable, rather than the slices below.

Serves 4

Grind up your tablespoon of onion, garlic and ginger(!)
Slice the aubergines lengthwise about 1" thick, salt and leave in a colander to drain for 15 minutes or so.
Pat dry, rinsing off excess salt if necessary, then coat with the tandoori paste mixture and leave to marinate for a couple of hours.

Preheat the oven to moderately hot - Gas Mark 5/190°C. Lay in a single layer in an oven tray, or thread onto skewers, drizzle with a little oil, and bake until golden. Baste with oil occasionally.
I baked mine layered in a Pyrex dish, and though they tasted good enough, they inside layers didn't crisp up at all, but looked a bit soggy and vaguely green.
Mind you I did also rub my aubergines with mango powder and turmeric before smearing on the tandoori paste, which may not have helped: I was a bit short of tandoori paste.

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