If you were listening to You and Yours yesterday you'll have heard me making a chicken curry. It's an odd idea when you come to think of it, cooking on radio. There you are in the studio with a two ring Baby Belling - and a Fire Officer, in case the whole place goes up in flames. (You have to sign a contract which includes an undertaking to use no more than 1 tablespoon of oil!)
The Belling takes a painfully long time to heat up. I turned it on 20 minutes before the programme started and added the oil 10 minutes before we went on air but the chicken still didn't sizzle when it hit the pan. (Sound effects, as you can imagine, are critical. The rest of the time you have to tiptoe round trying not to make too much cooking noise during earnest discussions on more serious topics such as airport expansion)
The point of the exercise was to question whether it was cheaper to cook home made food than to buy it. The agenda of the programme seemed to be that it wasn't. I carefully costed my curry which came to £3.33 for two portions. The presenter pointed out that you could buy a ready made curry more cheaply in Waitrose, let alone a budget ready meal (75p) or a curry in a can (49p)
It was a curious attitude for such a programme to take. I would have thought, like Jamie, they would be all for encouraging people to cook from scratch. The point I made was that there was not only more meat in my curry but that it it tasted fresher and was healthier than most shop-bought versions. At least they admitted the end result was delicious!
The point I didn't have time to expand on is that it's a recipe that you could easily run up with leftovers (do try it with the Christmas turkey). If you're going to cook frugally you need to be flexible, cooking with what you have rather than going out to buy new ingredients. You could use an ordinary onion, for example, rather than spring onions or a combination of double cream and yoghurt rather than creme fraiche. You don't have to use turmeric if you don't have any though if you do it improves the colour. You could use another kind of curry paste - it doesn't have to be korma. And you can pay less for the coriander than I did if you buy it in an ethnic shop and still have plenty over for the rest of the week's cooking. Frugal cooking is all about improvisation.
Anyway if you want to have a crack at the recipe you'll find it on the You & Yours website, along with some other thrifty recipes from You & Yours listeners. I think I can safely say you'll find it better than a can ;-)