As with many of our pastes, the work starts the night before; this time soaking the tamarind and chillies.
When we arrive back in the kitchen the next morning, we are greeted by our delivery of fresh ingredients from the markets; an enormous amount of fresh Australian brown onions, ginger, garlic, red and green chillies, tomatoes, curry leaves and coriander leaves.
Each ingredient is crushed, blended and prepared separately and spices including turmeric, coriander and cumin are weighed and prepared in containers. Whole spices including cinnamon and mustard seeds are gently toasted, cooled and finely ground.
We then heat the pot with oil and add fresh curry leaves and onions and let it caramelise. Fresh ingredients and ground spices are then added over the next few hours, letting the flavours develop. Minced coriander, crushed tomatoes and tamarind juice are poured in after an hour or so, bringing all the flavours together. Finally, freshly prepared and ground garam masala, lemon juice and coconut milk are mixed in and the paste bubbles along until it thickens.
This paste is the first recipe developed for Latasha’s Kitchen and still remains her favourite one to cook for family and friends.
Making it milder: This can be made milder by adding more fresh crushed onions, shallots or spring onions at the start of the dish. Tomatoes, fresh coriander or other vegetables like potatoes, coconut cream, coconut milk and coconut powder all work too.
Making it hotter: This paste can be made much hotter by adding fresh ground green chillies or a few whole dry chillies.