Crockpot Curries
September 30, 2010 11:44 PM   Subscribe

I want to start using my crockpot to cook large batches of Indian food and freezing individual portions. I am soliciting your favorite recipes and any general advice you might be able to provide.

Extra points if the recipes are vegetarian, but it's not an absolute requirement. I don't like paneer, though. I would be particularly grateful for an awesome crockpot vindaloo recipe.

I've never used a crockpot before, so if you have any general guidance about how to use it to its best advantage, it would be appreciated.
posted by mellifluous to Food & Drink (11 answers total) 146 users marked this as a favorite
I like this simple chicken curry recipe (with extra green curry paste). It freezes perfectly. However, I don't know if it would work in the crock pot, because the veggies shouldn't be cooked very long.
posted by neushoorn at 12:03 AM on October 1, 2010

Best answer: Generally I've found crockpot curries work best if the onions, garlic and spices are fried first in a wok/skillet, as you would do for a non-slow cooker recipe. Otherwise, if you just put all the raw ingredients and spices in the crockpot, you don't get the depth of flavour you would expect and the spices aren't 'cooked' properly. If you use your slow cooker as I do - dumping everything into it in the morning - you can cook the onions the night before and keep them in the fridge.


Two cloves of garlic - chopped
1 inch root ginger - peeled & chopped
(Alternatively, all Indian food stores sell jars of garlic paste, ginger paste and garlic/ginger paste, and all my Indian friends use these, so there's no shame or lack of authenticity involved if you buy these)
Two onions - sliced

Gently fry the onions in ghee/vegetable oil until translucent, then add the garlic/ginger, cook for another minute or so, then add curry powder to taste - mild, medium or hot, as you wish.

Add the onion mix to the crockpot with:

2 cups green lentils, rinsed
2 fist-sized potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
1 14oz can chopped tomatoes
5 cups vegetable stock/broth
Salt to taste

Cook on 'low' until the lentils are tender - probably 6 hours or so. Before serving, stir a bag of spinach into the curry (it will wilt in seconds) and a generous handful of chopped cilantro.

Serve over rice with naan bread.
posted by essexjan at 12:52 AM on October 1, 2010 [26 favorites]

Also, as a slight derail, if you haven't made porridge in your slow cooker, you should try it. Put an inch of water in the slow cooker, put some steel-cut oats in a bowl with milk or water (I use water and powdered milk) and a pinch of salt. Cover the bowl (this is important, it stops condensation from the lid falling into it) and put it in the water bath. Leave on low overnight and you wake up to the best porridge ever. You can add dried fruit if you wish, or, when it's cooked, stir in a banana and some cinnamon. Nom!
posted by essexjan at 12:58 AM on October 1, 2010 [4 favorites]

Spend $8 on the Kindle edition (or about half that on a used hardcopy) of Kris Dhillon's The Curry Secret. Learn to make 'curry base' from pureed onions, ginger, tomatoes, garlic and oil, simmer meat til it falls off the bone, then combine them at the last moment with spices and extras like coconut.

By freezing batches of the generic curry base and pre-simmered meat, you give yourself a lot more scope for variety after thawing them out, and turning these two base ingredients into restaurant-quality curries takes only a couple of minutes. You might be shocked by how similar most Indian restaurant curry recipes are - it's usually one or two ingredients thrown in at the last minute that set them apart.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 1:40 AM on October 1, 2010 [12 favorites]

While I love the The Curry Secret because it finally allowed me to produce "restaurant style" Indian food, I found its "easily freezable" claim a bit exaggerated. The stuff it recommends for freezing is more or less a half-product, so from frozen intermediate curry sauce to edible meat curry you can still expect 20 to 30 minutes of cooking time.
posted by themel at 2:18 AM on October 1, 2010

Split pea dhal.
posted by fire&wings at 2:19 AM on October 1, 2010

All the recipes look fabulous! Thanks for asking this quesiton!!

essexjan is absolutely right about sauteing the garlic, onions (or any other root or bulbous veggie, e.g. moire poix mix of celery, bell pepper onion - not typical of Indian food just thought i would mention) before compiling all ingredients ... they won't turn mushy and retain flavor. ... if you don't already have one and you are serious about freezing food get a FoodSaver, it is wonderful! Be sure to label each package, and will hold up in freezer for up to 18 months!
posted by justalkin at 5:55 AM on October 1, 2010

I ran in here to sing the joys of The Curry Secret book, but see that I've been beaten to it. Fantastic method. Once the stock sauce (including tomatoes) is prepared, pureed and cooled, I freeze it in 4-cup aliquots in ziplocks that I squeeze most of the air out of. Seems to keep for at least 3 months.
Pulled one out just this monday to help use up some leftovers, was eating really good chicken tikka masala in about 20 mins.
posted by Mundungus at 7:55 AM on October 1, 2010

We're starting to use our crock pot again after a bit of a hiatus. This jambalaya recipe is the ultimate comfort food for our family. Yeah, that's my 3-year-old comment on the bottom. At the moment I'm making a bit pot o' turkey & bean chili.
posted by rouftop at 1:48 PM on October 2, 2010

Do I get an award for the least thorough reading of a question today? Sorry about that, carry on.
posted by rouftop at 1:51 PM on October 2, 2010

Buy this and follow the recipe on the back. You can find this at most Asian grocery stores.
posted by cynicalidealist at 6:32 PM on October 4, 2010

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