Nick Nairn's Monday Malay Curry

Posted by admin on 8th March 2013

It's almost the weekend and many of us will be cooking something special such as a big Sunday meal. And that of course means leftovers. If you're wondering what to do with a few lonely spuds or the end of a roast, I've got just the thing – my delicious and easy Monday Malay Curry.

Using up leftovers can save you money and cut down on food waste too. It’s one of the ways to make sure less food ends up in landfill, where it creates harmful greenhouse gases that damage our environment.

You’ll find lots more useful tips here on the Greener Scotland website. But for now I’m really happy to be able to help the Scottish Government by giving you this delicious leftovers recipe that will help you waste less food.

Have fun in the kitchen,


Nick Nairn

On behalf of Greener Scotland

Nick Nairn’s Monday Malay Curry

This is a fantastic full-flavoured spicy recipe. I’ve called it my Monday Malay Curry because it’s perfect for using whatever weekend leftovers you’ve got – chicken, lamb, beef, turkey or pork. The veg in the recipe are some of my favourites, but whatever you have left over will work brilliantly too. In fact, you don’t even need meat.

Now, homemade curry paste is the secret to an authentic curry. It’s not difficult to make and I’ve cut down on the oil and salt used to make it healthier too. Enjoy.

Serves 6 (Divide the quantities if cooking for less)

For the spices

  • 2 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tbsp fennel seeds
  • 6 black peppercorns
  • 6 cloves
  • 5 cm piece cinnamon stick
  • ¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 tsp turmeric

For the paste

  • 3 medium onions, chopped
  • 8 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 3 tbsp chopped fresh ginger
  • 6 fresh red chillies
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika
  • 2 tbsp chopped or ground almonds
  • 3 sticks lemongrass, outer section removed, middle chopped

For the veg and meat

  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • (the following are just suggestions)
  • 400g butternut squash, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 3 large carrots, peeled and cubed
  • 300g new potatoes, halved
  • 1 medium aubergine, cubed
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 x 400g can reduced fat coconut milk (or try low fat crème fraîche/natural yoghurt as a healthier alternative)
  • 4 ripe tomatoes, quartered
  • Any leftover cooked meat, chopped into bite size portions
  • 1 large bunch fresh coriander, chopped to garnish


  1. Put the coriander seed, cumin seed, fennel seed, black peppercorns, cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg into a heavy frying pan and dry roast over a medium heat until you can smell the aroma. Don’t let them change colour or the flavour will become bitter. Tip the whole lot into a spice grinder or a pestle and mortar and grind down to fine powder. Stir in the turmeric and set aside.
  2. Throw the onions, garlic, ginger, chillies, paprika, almonds and chopped lemongrass into a food processor – or place in a jug and blitz with a handheld blender. Add about a tablespoon of the oil and a tablespoon of water and blend to a paste. You may need to add more water to loosen the mixture.
  3. Heat the other tablespoon of oil in a large sauté pan. Add the onion paste and fry for about 5 minutes.
  4. Stir in the spice mixture then the veg, coating with the onions and spices. Fry until the onion begins to turn brown, then add the salt and 500ml water. Bring to the boil and simmer uncovered for 20 minutes. Stir in the reduced fat coconut milk and tomatoes and simmer for another 15 minutes, until the sauce is thickened and the vegetables are very tender.
  5. With 5 minutes to go add the cooked meat and mix well to ensure it heats through.
  6. Scatter the coriander over the curry and serve with plain boiled rice.