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First, narrow down which cuisine you prefer for a curry sauce that will hit the spot. Whether you have family from a particular country, want to relive the memories from a holiday or you’re a sucker for spice, it’s good to think about which country you want to venture to in the kitchen this evening.
Using spices like turmeric, coriander, garam masala and bags of chilli powder to boot, Indian curries tend to pack a spicy punch. Tikka masala is another of the UK’s favourite dishes, actually thought to have originated here when Indian restaurant owners created a milder curry for sensitive British tongues.
Indian curries can be cooked with vegetables like spinach, potato, tomato and chickpeas and taste magnificent served up with rice, poppadoms, raita, naan bread and lime pickle – perfect for recreating your favourite takeaway for less!
Lemon grass, ginger and garlic are what set Thai curries apart, and they are often made with chicken but work just as well with mushroom or tofu if you don’t eat meat. Though it’s hard to recreate authentic Thai flavours in your kitchen at home, a good curry paste should get you at least half way there.
Whether you want to recreate a curry like your grandma makes or you simply love the hot and sour flavour combinations of Hong Kong and Chinese curry dishes, they are a tasty option and work brilliantly with veg like onions and green peppers plus any sort of meat or fish you fancy.
Japanese curry has a thick, substantial texture and can be prepared easily at home with a ready-made sauce. It often contains meats (breaded pork or chicken are popular) but it can be prepared with vegetables too for variety.
Tangy, sweet and ideal with chips, a golden splash of curry sauce on an enormous plate of soggy deep-fried potatoes is – for some! – the ultimate comfort food. Having a stash at home means you won’t need to sprint to the nearest chippy for the fusion-food triumph that is curry and chips in one mouthful.
If you find too much spice overwhelms the flavour and/or your enjoyment of a curry, stick with ready-made sauces listed as ‘mild’ or ‘medium’ such as korma and pasanda, dhansak and Britain’s alleged favourite: the tikka masala. They will often have just 1 or 2 chilli peppers on the jar or packaging.
If you grew up eating fiery curries or you love a spicy kick, you may want to pick a sauce labelled ‘hot’ or ‘very hot’ such as madras, jalfrezi, phall or vindaloo, which may have 3 chilli peppers (or more!) to indicate its spice level. Stock up on extra raita yoghurt to serve – or maybe some soothing mango sorbet for pudding!
Obviously the biggest benefit from jar-to-saucepan curry products like these is the time you’ll save, but the key drawback is you can’t do much to change the flavour and any extra veggies you add may not always be an ideal flavour match. Let the experts do the hard work for you and enjoy them as they are.
Kits may contain other extras along with a curry paste, such as powdered spices or coconut milk, saving you time hunting them all down.
Another bonus with pastes, kits, and curry roux is they often feel more authentic as you can combine fresher ingredients and cook them to perfection, rather than simply pouring sauce from a jar. The downside is they require more time and buying the extra vegetables or spices will probably cost more overall.
It’s also important to check if sauces are vegetarian or vegan – as even vegetable-based curry sauces could contain fish flavourings, milk or cream.
The average jar of curry sauce makes enough for two or three servings, but read the small print on the packaging to be sure you won’t run out before serving, or worse, end up with a flavourless curry that you've added too many portions of meat and veggies to!
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1. Mae Ploy Thai Green Curry Paste
The Easiest Way to an Authentic Thai Curry
The Spice Tailor
2. The Spice Tailor by Anjum Anand Fiery Goan Curry
A Fresh, Authentic Indian Feast
3. Holy Cow! Delhi Tikka Masala Curry Sauce 6 Pack
Bring Authentic Spice to Your UK Kitchen
4. Blue Dragon Thai Red Curry Kit
An Award-Winning Kit That's Easy to Cook
5. Patak’s Rogan Josh Curry Sauce
Mouth-Wateringly Simple Indian Curry for a Snip
6. Goldfish Hot and Spicy Chinese Curry Sauce Concentrate
Rich and Thick for Depth of Flavour
9. Loyd Grossman Tikka Masala Sauce
Low On Authenticity But High on Taste
10. Sharwood’s Jalfrezi Curry Sauce
A Straightforward Classic for Four With Minimal Fuss
Looking for more quality spices and sauces from around the world to transform a packet of rice and some bendy veg into a plateful of flavour? Below are three more delectable culinary shopping guides we think you'll love!
We’ve done the hard work so you don’t have to: A simple rundown of the best curry sauces you can have delivered straight to your home faster than you can say ‘korma.’ Whether you went for low-fat, natural ingredients, a vegan sauce or authentic traditional flavours, what could be easier or more fun than a flavourful curry straight from the jar or packet?
Author: Annie Hopkins
No. 1: Mae Ploy | 1. Mae Ploy Thai Green Curry Paste
No. 2: The Spice Tailor | 2. The Spice Tailor by Anjum Anand Fiery Goan Curry
No. 3: Holy Cow! | 3. Holy Cow! Delhi Tikka Masala Curry Sauce 6 Pack
No. 4: Blue Dragon | 4. Blue Dragon Thai Red Curry Kit
No. 5: Pataks | 5. Patak’s Rogan Josh Curry Sauce
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