Adaptable one-pot curry

Adaptable one-pot curry
A few years ago, while learning how to cook at university, I realised that to make many curries you follow more or less the same sequence of steps. Once memorised, that sequence became super helpful to me. I was able to quickly and efficiently produce a healthy, filling curry without a recipe or too much thought. Make a base, then spice it, add your 'bulk' ingredients, then garnish and season - and it's adaptable and all in one pot. What more could you want?!
Icon_cookingtime_grey Created with Sketch. 30 mins
Icon_apron_grey Created with Sketch. Easy
Icon_cloche_grey Created with Sketch. Serves 4
Adaptable one-pot curry


  • 4 tbsp neutral oil
  • 1 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 thumb ginger, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 2 tsp turmeric powder
  • ½-2 tsp chilli powder (depending on your heat tolerance)

For the bulk ingredient:

  • 1½ 400g/14oz can chickpeas, drained
  • OR ½ a butternut squash, peeled and cut 1 inch dice, parboiled (see step 6).
  • OR 1 cup (160g) dried red lentils, rinsed
  • OR 3 medium baking potatoes, cut into 1 inch cubes, parboiled (see step 6).

For the liquid:

  • 1 400g/14oz can chopped tomatoes
  • ½ 400g/14oz can light coconut milk
  • ½ can water (=200ml/a bit less than 1 cup)
  • OR ½ 400g/14oz can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 400g/14oz can light coconut milk
  • ½ can water (=200ml/a bit less than 1 cup)
  • 1 large handful baby spinach or curly kale
  • ½ tsp garam masala
  • a few leaves fresh coriander

How to make

  • In a large pot or casserole dish, heat the oil over a high heat.
  • Fry the black mustard and cumin seeds until the mustard seeds start to pop, about 1-2min.
  • Turn the heat down to medium and add the onions. Sweat them for 5 minutes.
  • Now add the ginger and garlic. Fry for another 5 minutes.
  • Stir in the ground cumin, ground coriander, turmeric and chilli powder. Cook for another 5 minutes.
  • Add your bulk ingredient. If using potatoes or butternut squash, steam or boil them for about 5-8 minutes to parboil them.
  • Add your choice of liquid: for a tomatoey curry use 1 can tomatoes + ½ can light coconut milk or for a coconutty one the other way around. Then add ½ can water.
  • Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
  • Stir in the spinach or kale until it wilts (a few min).
  • Check to see if your potatoes, butternut squash or lentils are well cooked.
  • Sprinkle over the garam masale and season with salt and lemon juice to taste.
  • Garnish with fresh coriander leaves and serve with rice, naan bread or roti.

Get fresh recipes like these delivered to your inbox

Join the Tabl community

You might also like these recipes

Apple Crisps
Mango, Nectarine & Raspberry Smoothie
Fennel and Lemon Pan Fried Sea Bass