Curry Flavor Bombs

Curry flavor bombs

The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  • Total: 36 mins
  • Prep: 8 mins
  • Cook: 28 mins
  • Yield: 3 cups (6 servings)

These condensed flavor bombs are a way to get a head start on prep and make cooking a deeply flavorful curry easy to do on a weeknight. It's simple to make these when you have extra time. They make fast weeknight dishes layered and complex, but they are also very easy, taking just 30 minutes to whip up a whole batch. Toast a wonderful combination of classic curry spices and sautee them combined with onions, garlic, and ginger. Then freeze them in cupcake liners or ice cube trays. Later on, when you are ready to eat, just melt them with water in a pan and add some liquid like coconut milk or broth, a protein like chicken or chickpeas, and simmer it until cooked.

This concept work with so many other foods. Try cooking, chopping and freezing a pound of bacon into flavor bombs, or sauteeing onions in a lot of butter. We often do this with the onions, garlic, and spices for chili, and classic mirepoix, too. The best part is that they can be made ahead of time, frozen, and stored for up to a month, making dinner in a pinch much more manageable and also more delicious.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons whole coriander seed
  • 2 tablespoons whole cumin seed
  • 2 tablespoons mustard seed (preferably black)
  • 2 teaspoons black peppercorns
  • Optional: 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 3 large onions (chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon turmeric
  • Cloves from half head garlic (smashed and peeled)
  • 1 (4-inch) piece ginger (peeled and sliced into thin coins)
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • Optional: 1 lime (juiced)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for curry flavor bombs
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  2. Toast the coriander, cumin, mustard, black pepper, red pepper, and salt in a dry skillet over medium-high heat until they pop and smell toasted about 3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl to cool.

    Toast coriander
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  3. Heat the coconut oil in the same pan over medium-high heat and add the onions and turmeric. Cook uncovered, stirring occasionally until they are translucent and golden brown, about 10 minutes.

    Heat coconut oil
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  4. Put the toasted spices in a blender and blend to grind them.

    Put toasted spices in blender
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  5. Add the garlic cloves and ginger coins to the spices in the blender, pour in 1/3 cup water and pulse, scraping down the sides and adding more water to liquify, if needed, until the mixture is pureed. Now you have a slurry.

    Blend
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  6. Pour the slurry into the onions in the pan and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon and scraping the bottom until it cooks and turns a deeper shade of brown—it will sputter and crackle—and much of the water evaporates and the mixture thickens about 8 more minutes.

    Mix curry
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  7. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring until it darkens.

    Add the tomato paste
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  8. Divide the paste evenly among 8 silicone cupcake liners or freeze ice cube trays.

    Divide the paste
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  9. Use in any desired recipe as a burst of flavor and enjoy!

    Use in recipe
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

Tip

  • Freeze and store in an airtight container for up to a month.

How to Use

Chicken Coconut Curry

To use flavor bombs, add about 4 ounces of frozen flavor bombs to a pan with 3/4 cup water and boil, stirring to melt them. Stir in a can of coconut milk, a pound of cubed chicken and cook until tender and cooked through, about 20 minutes. Taste and season with more salt if needed. Stir in a cup of plain full-fat yogurt, and juice of half a lime, if you like, and chopped fresh cilantro. Serve over rice with lime wedges on the side.

Vegetarian Cauliflower Curry

If you're looking for more of a vegetarian option, you can use the same technique with some handfuls of baby spinach, two (15-ounce) cans of cooked chickpeas, a bunch of mustard greens, or a head of cauliflower cut into florets.