I never had curry growing up, but in the past few years I've learned to love it. Yellow curry is my favorite, and I've tried several recipes and have ended up with one of my own that changes a little every time I make it. Side benefit - this works well with a gluten free diet.
Curry is an amazingly healthful dish when made with the right ingredients. Organic, full fat coconut milk and the spices that make curry flavorful. Most curry powders are a mix of traditional spices - turmeric, cumin, coriander, cardamom, fennel, ginger and mustard are a few that may be included. Turmeric is the spice that makes curry yellow (I always add extra), and that one spice alone imparts benefits in the treatment of inflammation, which is why I started eating curry in the first place! There is some talk of it being beneficial for cancer and Alzheimer's patients, but at this time I don't believe there are any clinical studies being conducted. Since an herb can't be patented, companies aren't going to spend research dollars to determine their benefits - rather they will research the compounds and create a synthetic version.
There are some potential side effects if you have health issues, so it's best to do a little research before jumping in with this one. Turmeric contains a compound called curcumin, which is an anticoagulant, so if you are taking a blood thinner or having surgery you'll want to avoid it.
One of the reasons I like to cook from scratch is that I get to create the exact flavor I'm looking for. I've tried curry pastes and spice mixtures but they just don't do it for me. Learning to create something from all the various pieces and parts has made me more confident in the kitchen, as well as making me more adventurous. (Disclaimer: my husband will tell you that I can manage to ruin a meal right before it gets put on the table because I just want to see how it goes with insert strange food, but that's another story :)
Curry is one of the easiest meals to make, and this recipe tastes very similar to the yellow curry from my favorite Thai restaurant. It's versatile, and can be used with chicken, shrimp, veggies - whatever you feel like at the moment.
Coconut Curry Sauce
1 medium onion, diced
1/2 tbsp coconut oil
Fresh garlic clove, diced
1 14oz can coconut milk (full fat - like this)
1 tbsp curry powder (I like the flavor of McCormicks - gluten free!)
Salt and pepper to taste
Pinch of allspice
Pinch of ginger
Turmeric to taste (start with a pinch)
Garam Masala to taste (start with a pinch)
Tandoori Seasoning to taste (Penzey's is pretty much gluten free as well)
Saute onion on low in a medium saucepan with coconut oil until soft. Add coconut milk (shake can before opening), garlic and spices, and simmer to reduce. Once reduced, check the flavor, add your choice of cooked meat and/or veggies and heat through. Serve over rice.
Notes: I use the minimum spices and then after the coconut milk is somewhat reduced check the flavor to see if I need more. Salt goes in at the very end, and crushed red pepper if my son isn't having any to give it a little kick. You can add vegetables to the mixture as well - sweet potatoes are great, as well as broccoli, carrots and snow peas. I find it best to steam them before adding.
UPDATE: I've been making this a long time and lately I'm finding I want more curry flavor, so I've actually DOUBLED the amount of curry powder to 2 TBSP. I probably added that much when I checked the flavor but I've started just adding it in the beginning.