15 years ago I would scoff at the idea of using “curry” from a “jar”. 15 years ago, I was not putting food on the table after a busy day at work. I will admit, I am a curry snob. Well, let’s get one thing clear, curry really just refers to a slow-cooked, spiced, sauce–it is not a recipe on its own! However, to keep things simple, I too have fallen into the practice of referring to any Indian saucy dish as curry. Purists, please forgive me!
Now back to sauces in jars. There is only one brand that I trust (and no, I don’t get paid by them!) is Pataks. My Mom used it when we lived in the USA during the early 90s, which means this brand has her seal of approval. Back then, you would have to drive several miles to get to the nearest Indian Grocery to stock up on these staples. Now, you can walk into most food stores and find them easily. One thing I always try to do with these store-bought shortcuts is to add more nutrients to them. I almost always add vegetables to the sauce, not only does it stretch the meal, but I can get a certain picky eater to eat veggies!! For this particular “sauce”, I have found that sweet potatoes work really well. You can use any kind of protein you like (animal or plant-based). For this version I used mini chicken meatballs, another ode to a childhood “curry” my mother made. You can check out the recipe for the chicken meatballs here. With that, here is how I assembled this meal.
1 batch of mini chicken meatballs
3 medium sweet potatoes, diced.
1 jar of Patak’s Rogan Josh sauce.
1Tbsp of olive oil
1 cup of water
1tsp of chili powder
1 tsp of garam masala
Heat olive oil in a pan. Once the oil is hot, add the diced sweet potatoes. Saute till the potatoes start to become tender.
Add the whole jar of sauce and 1 cup of water to the sweet potatoes. Cover the pot and cook on medium-low heat for 30-40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes or so. You don’t want anything to stick to the bottom off the pot!
After about 40 minutes, the sweet potato will become tender. Using the back of a spoon, I roughly mash the sweet potatoes into the sauce. This adds thickness and a delicious sweetness to the curry.
Add the meatballs to the sauce, cover and cook for another 10 minutes on low heat. Remember, the meatballs are cooked, so you don’t want to over-cook them or use high heat. That will toughen the meatballs and nobody likes that!
At the very end, I added chili powder and garam masala, stirred the spices in the sauce and turned the heat off. At this point, you an let the dish cool down to room temperature, portion it and freeze it for later.
If you are planning to eat right away, I would add the spices along with the meatballs, cook the dish for 10 minutes and serve hot with either rice or Naan or both!!! Enjoy!