As with many of our pastes, the process starts the night before by soaking the fenugreek and raisins overnight to soften them and toasting our nuts so they have time to cool before the next day.
The next morning we begin preparation by chopping onions, grinding spring onions, crushing ginger, garlic and chillis and blending tomatoes with fresh coriander into separate mixtures, each checked for consistency and flavour.
The smell of fresh tomatoes and coriander are overtaken by strong and pungent spices as they are toasted and ground; releasing the aroma of cloves, cinnamon, star anise, garlic, cumin, fennel, nutmeg and more. Meanwhile, onions and garam masala are fried together in a combination of butter and oil until softened.
Each of the pastes and powders are added over the next three hours and then finished with coconut milk and water. This paste is then cooked on a low heat for up to three hours to combine and mature the flavours. This produces a thick and pungent concentrated paste, free of excess moisture.
Making it milder: The heat can be toned down by adding coconut milk, coconut cream, coconut powder, fresh cream, yoghurt, buttermilk, coconut carnation tinned milk, tinned or fresh crushed tomatoes, tomato paste or a puree of caramelised brown onions to sweeten up.
Making it hotter: If you like by adding green chili puree or dried chilli at the beginning. You can also add freshly sliced green or red chillies at the end.