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When your pasta is just cooked, throw a cup of cold water into the pasta pot to bring the temperature down - it will stop your pasta from over-cooking. Drain the pasta and use immediately.

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How to use curry paste

Curry pastes are really easy to use. The trick is to fry them in a little water until they are fragrant.

Curry pastes usually come in a jar. They are handy to use as they last a long time, take up little space, can be kept in your storecupboard or fridge to use when you need them, and they are very reasonably priced, given that you can make lots of curries with them.

Always use a clean spoon to take out the quantity of curry paste you need.
Check the jar to see if you need to store an opened jar in the fridge.
Curry paste benefits when you add a little water to a pan, and fry the paste before adding other ingredients. It brings the flavours to life again and brings out the oil.
You can add whole or ground spices to add a fresh kick. Toast the whole spice in a frying pan over low heat, add the curry paste and the water and fry until it bubbles up.
Stir the curry paste in the jar with a clean spoon before you use it, as the oil floats to the top.
You can mix curry paste into yogurt for a quick dip, add it to cream and tinned tomatoes and whizz it in a blender for a quick curry sauce (just add cooked meat or chicken and heat through) and fry it with sliced banana and a few tablespoons of plain yogurt to make a spicy fruity side dish for a curry.

A quick chicken curry using curry paste
Serves 2
1. Take 2 tablespoons of any curry paste, fry it in a little water in a frying pan over gentle heat until it is fragrant, add one fried sliced onion, a tin of tomatoes and the juice and a little water.
2. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring every so often. Add 2 chicken breasts (cut each into four pieces). Add more water if you need to. Stir.
3. Cook with the lid on until the chicken is done (about 10-12 minutes). Take out a few tablespoons of the sauce, add a small pot of natural yogurt to it, reintroduce to the pan (this means it won't curdle), stir and cook gently for another few minutes until the sauce is thick.
4. Serve with boiled rice and sliced banana, it's quick, tasty food at its best.



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