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I used to be a bit overwhelmed by the amount of spices needed to cook a curry, and with a 3 1/2 year old and a 1 year old, I’m really time poor. I want easy, everyday dishes, but I certainly don’t want to compromise on taste. My partner, Jim, is English and loves a spicy takeaway curry (He calls it a Ruby Murray, cockney rhyming slang for curry). It’s hard for us at the moment to go out for dinners as we have young kids and Indian takeaway is quite an expensive option so most weeks, we try out a new homemade curry dish. To speed things up, I now use curry pastes which are a great way to get the authentic taste in no time at all. Jim would like to thank Real Magazine for giving me this challenge as he has had to test this recipe four times! His verdict? “Your best yet.”

What you need

Serves: 4  Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes


750 grams lamb mince
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter or ghee


1 large onion, peeled and finely diced
4 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
4 tablespoons Madras paste (I used a 280-gram jar of Sharwoods madras paste)
300ml boiling water
2 tablespoons tomato paste
½ cup coriander leaves, roughly chopped

How to make

1. In a large bowl, add the mince, cumin, ginger and salt and using clean hands, mix until combined. With wet hands to prevent sticking roll into tablespoon-sized balls.

2. In a large frying pan, on a medium heat, melt the butter and brown the meatballs turning for 2-3 minutes. Remove and drain on a paper towel. Set aside.

3. Using the same pan, (add more butter if needed) fry the onion and the garlic until soft.

4. Add the paste, mix through and fry for a further minute. Add the water and stir through.

5. Add the tomato paste, stir, bring sauce back to the boil, then simmer, covered, for 10 minutes until thickened.

6. Drop the meatballs into the sauce and simmer for five minutes.

7. Serve on rice and/or with roti, scatter coriander and add a dollop of natural yoghurt or store-bought raita.


You can make most of this curry ahead of time, just hold back dropping the browned meatballs into the sauce until five minutes before serving.

Or you could…To add some greens, add frozen peas or spinach into the sauce 5 minutes before serving; chicken mince will also work well with the flavours of this dish.

This curry sauce freezes well.

This recipe is currently featured in REAL Magazine, on sale in New World Supermarkets now.

Vanessa’s PRAWN

When I met Lewis, I quickly realised that his family treated curry like my family did pasta. At any gathering there was always a wonderfully fragrant curry. Lewis started making it at home and the first thing that surprised me was that the actual cooking time is fairly short. I was also amazed that you could get such a rich, delicious taste from humble curry powder. I knew I had to take notes about creating his curries as they are addictive! Like with many family recipes, there is no actual ingredients list written down. Family members have grown up watching others cook it and, in turn, added their own stamp.

Lewis has to have rice with his curry (even if it has potatoes in it) – it’s non negotiable. I often ask him to make it more soupy so I can pour it on top of baby spinach and dunk rotis or tortilla wraps in it.

What you need

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes  Serves: 4


4-5 tablespoons vegetable oil (to cover base of pot)

1 large onion, finely chopped

1 bulb (not clove) garlic, cloves crushed

2 heaped tablespoons curry powder (I used Empire mild)

800 grams raw prawns, defrosted

Salt to taste

I x 400-gram can coconut cream (or milk)

1 cup chopped fresh coriander leaves and stalks

Juice of 1 lemon or lime

How to make

1.In a large pot on a medium heat add oil, onion and garlic. Sauté until onion and garlic are soft.

2. Add the curry powder, stir and cook for a minute to release the flavours. (This should look like a paste and if it’s too dry add a splash more oil).

3. Add the prawns and the salt; stir through the curry paste for a couple of minutes.

4. Add the coconut cream and simmer until heated through.

5. Stir through the chopped coriander and the lemon or lime juice. Serve immediately.


If using frozen prawns, ensure they are defrosted and dry them on kitchen paper towels.

The prawns can be shelled or unshelled. The shells give the curry extra flavour.

Or you could substitute prawns for a firm white fish but add it after the coconut cream. It will only take a few minutes to cook through.

A lighter version, substitute the coconut cream or milk with the lite variety but be careful not to cook for too long or at a too-high temperature as this could cause the milk to split.

Did you know that coconut cream is thicker than coconut milk and higher in fat.

This recipe is currently featured in REAL Magazine, on sale in New World Supermarkets now.




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Comments (2)


2 Responses

  1. I used to be wary about cooking Indian food to, so many spices. Now that I have a few of the basics though I can cook one of my favorite cuisines in no time! This looks absolutely wonderful! Can not wait to make this one.

    • Ingrid Opera says:

      Hi Gwen, I was surprised at how easy a curry is to make – most will only take 30mins even if you use a combination of spices rather than a paste. Good Luck, let us know how you get on.

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