Here at MoneyMagpie we’ve been experimenting with the best cheap curry recipes!
Although chicken tikka-masala is apparently now Britain’s national dish, we’re not all curry fans. However, curry you make at home doesn’t have to be dripping with oil or incredibly hot. It can be light, very tasty and most of all, very cheap to make.
A world of curries
Curries are made all over the world – not just in India – and they vary greatly depending on their origins.
Thai curries, for example, tend to be more fragrant and often hotter than their Indian counterparts. Caribbean goat curry is a staple food among many West Indians in Britain and at home. And even China and Japan have their own versions of this spicy favourite.
There are tonnes of different types of curry, with something for everyone – from those with ultra-sensitive palates right through to macho curry fanatics.
Here, we’re going to show you how to treat the family to a homemade curry without spending a fortune, take a look at our 5 cheap curry recipes.
Curry is a dish that can be produced very cheaply. Here’s why:
Use up your leftovers
One of the best things about curry is that it’s a great way to use up all your leftovers. If you’ve had a roast on Sunday, chuck your leftover meat together with some veggies and spices and you’ve got yourself a cheap meal.
Eat in and save cash
Our Thai green curry recipe costs a tiny £2.10 per portion, compared to anything up to £10 for the equivalent dish from a take-away! And you only need make as much as you’re likely to eat, so you don’t end up with tonnes left over cluttering up your fridge for days.
No need for meat
Curry is also great if you need to cater for vegetarians in your household. Any vegetables can be used as a meat substitute. Cauliflower, broccoli, spinach and sautéed potatoes work especially well and are popular in many Indian dishes.
It might cost you a bit more initially, but curry is a dish you can make in a big batch and freeze in handy portions for whenever you want to eat it.
Cooking in big quantities works out cheaper, as it allows you to buy in bulk. It also saves you time, as you only have to cook once. When you fancy a curry next time, all you have to do is defrost it and take ten minutes to cook some rice to go with it.
How hot do you like it?
We all know that spiciness ratings can vary greatly from one restaurant to another, so you can never quite be sure how hot a particular dish is likely to be!
To solve this problem at home, all you need to do is vary the amount of curry paste or powder you use in the recipe. This way, you can adapt recipes to suit your family’s tastes, making them as hot – or not – as you like.
Get extra savings by bulk buying
To save even more cash, you can buy spices in bulk at Asian stores for very cheap prices. For example, iTadka sells cinnamon sticks at £2.49 for 300g and black peppercorns at £3.69 for 300g (compared to £3.99 for 275g at Tesco).
Spices will last for ages, as long as you keep them in an airtight container and away from direct sunlight.
You could club together with your friends to buy loads of cheap ingredients and split them up between you. Why not make an evening of it, getting together with friends and family and all making a huge pot of curry together? After you’ve all eaten, divide anything that’s left over and take it home.
Curry in a hurry
To make life even easier, you can buy a ready-made sauce and simply add it to meat, fish or vegetables for an almost instant curry.
All the supermarkets do own-brand curry sauces. You can buy big jars of curry sauces for around £1.50, which are easily enough to feed a family of five.
Kids and curry
The best thing about making your own curry at home is that you can keep a close eye on what your family is eating.
By using lean meat and loads of vegetables, not only are you saving money but you’re also putting a healthy and tasty meal on the table. Try starting your kids on really mild flavours and gradually increase the heat as they get older.
Here at MoneyMagpie we’ve rounded up some of our favourite easy and cheap curry recipes to make at home.
You don’t have to be a brilliant cook, so don’t worry too much about how to do it. Just follow our easy recipes and you’ll be producing world class curries in no time!
We’ve priced all our recipes using mySupermarket, so you can easily find the cheapest recipe ingredients.
All prices were correct at the time of writing. When you come to do your own shopping, it’s a good idea to use mySupermarket yourself to make sure you’re getting the best deals.
Thai green curry – serves four
- Stir-fry oil
- White rice (200g)
- Three large chicken breasts
- Two tbsps green curry paste
- One tin (approx 400ml) coconut milk
- One chilli (red or green)
- Chop the chicken breasts into small chunks. Heat the oil in a wok and add the chicken. Cook on a high heat for about ten minutes while you chop the chilli.
- Add the curry paste and mix well until you can start to smell the spices (start to cook the rice at this point).
- Add the coconut milk and the chilli.
- Mix well and leave to simmer on a low heat for about 15 minutes.
- Drain the rice and serve.
Spicy fish laksa – serves three
This has to be the easiest curry recipe ever created! To save money, you could always replace the hoki with a cheaper fish.
- One tbsp minced ginger
- Two tsp minced garlic
- One tsp minced red chilli
- 100g green beans/mange tout, trimmed
- Two tsp ground coriander
- 400ml can of coconut milk
- Three cups fish or vegetable stock
- Two tsp fish sauce
- 300g fresh Asian egg noodles or 100g dried noodles
- Two/three spring onions, trimmed, sliced
- 300g firm, white fish (eg hoki), cubed
- 300g peeled prawns
- Two tbsp chopped fresh coriander (or mint)
- Cook ginger, garlic and chilli in a tsp of oil for one minute.
- Increase the heat and add the green beans and ground coriander and cook for a further 2-3 minutes.
- Add the rest and simmer gently for 4-5 minutes until seafood is just cooked.
- Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with fresh coriander or mint.
Prawn curry with mango chutney – serves four
- One bag of prawns, defrosted if frozen
- One white onion
- One courgette and one red pepper (or whatever veg you have lying around)
- Two tbsp groundnut oil
- 250ml vegetable or fish stock
- One red or green chilli chopped finely
- A small knob of fresh ginger chopped finely or grated
- One clove of garlic finely chopped
- One tsp cumin seeds
- Two tsp garam masala
- Two tbsp mango chutney
- Fresh coriander
- Heat the oil in a pan and gently fry the ginger, garlic and chilli.
- Add the onion and cumin and fry for about ten minutes or until the onion is golden brown.
- Chop the courgettes and peppers (or whatever vegetables you have to hand) and add to the onion. Fry until cooked but still crunchy.
- In a separate pan, fry the prawns until they are pink all the way through. Add these to the onions and veg.
- Add the mango chutney and garam masala and the stock. Heat gently for ten minutes or until reduced.
- Chop the coriander coarsely and add to the curry at the last minute.
- Serve with basmati rice and extra mango chutney on the side.
Red Thai curry – serves four
This is a very easy and versatile way of using up veg and meat.
Just add a handful of whatever you have in your fridge’s veg box and add some prawns (posh) or leftover meat (money-saving), unless you just feel like a nice veggie dish.
- Four cloves garlic (chopped)
- One onion, roughly chopped
- A mixture of whatever you have in the fridge including:
- Mushrooms – roughly sliced
- Carrots – sliced
- Broccoli – cut up into bite-sized pieces
- Peppers – chopped
- If desired, either a large handful of prawns or chopped up leftover chicken, beef or pork.
- One can coconut milk
- A generous dessert spoon of red or green Thai curry paste
- Oil to fry
- In a large wok, fry up all the ingredients together, leaving prawns or meat (if used) and mushrooms (if used) to the last as they take less time to cook. Fry up until ‘al dente’.
- Add in the paste (start with a small spoonful if you can’t take too much heat – if you love chillies, though, add a nice big dollop!) and the can of coconut milk (add some ordinary milk if you don’t think there is enough).
- Heat a medium oven. Pour the mixture into a casserole dish with a lid and put in the oven for 20 minutes. Serve with rice.
Berry lamb samosas – serves eight
You could also do this one as a dessert with more fruit instead of the lamb, like little bite-sized strudels. Or try using mincemeat and apple for a yummy Winter snack!
- One tbsp sunflower oil
- Two tbsp madras paste
- One onion, finely chopped
- Two garlic cloves, crushed
- 175g minced lamb
- 75g blueberries
- 75g redcurrants
- Two tbsp coriander leaves, chopped
- Two tsp fresh lemon juice
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- Approx 16 sheets filo pastry
- 40g butter, melted
- Raita – to serve
- Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F or gas mark five)
- Heat oil in large frying pan.
- Add the madras paste and fry, stirring for ten seconds. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring until well combined. Then add the minced lamb and cook until browned and cooked through.
- Remove from the heat and add the berries, coriander and lemon juice. Stir and season to taste. Set aside until mixture is cool enough to handle.
- Cut the filo sheets into 9cm x 30cm strips. Use two strips at a time, keeping the rest covered with a clean damp cloth.
- Brush one strip with melted butter and place the second strip on top. Brush with butter again. Place two heaped tbsp of the mixture near the the bottom edge of the strip.
- Fold the end of the pastry over the filling, making a triangular shape and continue folding up the strip to the top, alternating diagonal and straight folds to maintain the triangular shape.
- Repeat the process with the rest of the pastry and mixture until they are all used up. Brush the finished samosas with melted butter. Cook in a preheated oven for about 20 minutes until crisp and golden. Serve hot or cold.
*Images for decorative purposes only and do not illustrate finished dishes