Fridge Finds: Several Ways To Use Up What’s Left of Your Jar of Curry Paste
Having just concluded a marathon of a feast — Christmas dinner and all of the festive snacking leading up to New Year’s Eve — a curry dinner is one decidedly distant destination.
But it pops up as soon as you’re back to negotiating fridge door space, where the curry paste now has to live with the cranberry sauce and the leftover pickles.
And yet, the paste is like a tropical postcard on your fridge, but only sitting inside of it in the dark — cold, semi-hardened, and half-full.
While it’s still likely safe to consume, you’re decently off the hook on this one, however.
Because most curry recipes don’t typically call for a full jar of paste, your faithful return of this flavourful ingredient to the fridge is a simple reflex.
To which, you have the best intentions to use it up at some point.
The point is, however, that you need some relief from the heaviness and the richness of your recent food experiences.
You don’t have to make a curry.
In reality, there are tons of avenues to explore with the paste, alone, whether red, green, or yellow — Thai or Indian.
You can repurpose the leftover curry paste while likewise adding fragrant and flavourful flair to everyday fare.
Here are delightful cooking ideas to get through your leftover curry paste.
Stir-Fried Curry Rice Noodles
It’s probably been a hot minute since you last had something stir-fried, either from the wok or the skillet.
Yet the Thai-style curry paste is the perfect flavouring agent for putting together this dish in a flash for a tasty, spontaneous dinner.
It’s made for the job. And this is especially true if you’re both low on groceries and on time.
Red curry paste, in particular, is a great contender for this application, both for its flavour profile and colourful appeal.
Simply dissolve it into coconut milk in a mixing bowl; add fish sauce and fresh ginger, if available; and, bingo, you’ve got a quick and easy stir-fry sauce.
Set the mixture aside; prepare your noodles according to the packet instructions; and gather your fixings of choice — shrimp and chicken are delicious options.
Before serving, don’t forget to squeeze some lime over the top, and garnish with chopped green onions, cilantro, and peanuts, if desired.
Spiced-Up Beef Burgers and Fish Cakes
Introduce the paste to your beef mince, and it’ll have that “je ne sais quoi” that’ll make your friends and family see you in a whole new light.
Whether you incorporate the rest of the jar or a more precise teaspoon measurement, it’ll really season up the meat nicely for either the grill, the oven, or the pan.
Optionally, to further elevate and season your mix, add in freshly chopped cilantro and scallions.
If you have them, complete the mix with fried shallots for added umami.
As for the fish cakes, it’s a similar story: It’s as easy as combining the curry paste with a fish of your choice.
Salmon holds up terrifically to the bold flavours of the paste, and it’ll even enjoy an awesome colour enhancement.
Simply follow up with egg and flour — standard protocol for binding agents — to form patties before cooking, fried or baked.
Be sure to serve with Thai sweet chili sauce or even simply a generous squeeze of citrus overtop.
Tip: For either dish, you can quickly microwave or cook a mini patty — the size of a coin — to confirm the taste of your mixture.
You’ll be able to adjust how much of the paste to add, plus any other seasonings, from the outset.
Curried Oven-Roasted Potatoes
Still considered — on the vegetable spectrum, at least — a tad on the heavier side, potatoes are designed for curry paste.
Whether the paste is leftover or not, curried potatoes, tucked away in the oven, are the perfect answer for an easy side.
Plus, without the whopping addition of butter and cream of mashed potatoes, you can be more at ease with eating these spuds.
What’s more, you’ll be at ease cooking them.
And they’ll please everyone at the table, even as leftovers.
They’re truly about one of the simplest ways to ramp up the taste dial with minimal effort on your part.
Thanks to the concentration of aromatics, spices, and herbs already in the paste, there’s really no need to make a fuss with figuring out seasonings.
Peeling and chopping garlic and shallots — that’s not necessary, either.
Whether Madras or Massaman, sample whatever paste you have on hand before using it to gauge how much you’d like to use.
Simply mix your peeled, chopped potatoes of choice with your curry paste in a mixing bowl; add enough oil to coat; and roast them as per usual.
Have more fun making a “cocktail” of two different kinds of paste, if more than one’s already opened.
Evening Curried Scrambled Eggs
If curried eggs aren’t your thing with a cup of java, they’re rather “eggcellent” for an easy dinner side.
Add whatever curry paste you have opened and it will take your eggs in a whole new and flavourful direction.
Side note: A little does go a long way, so start off by only adding one teaspoon to your beaten egg mixture.
You can always add more once they’re set to your liking — it all depends on how strong you’d like your eggs and what you’ll serve them with.
These curried eggs, packed with plenty of personality, go well with freshly steamed rice for a quick late night fix.
Simple Curried Egg Salad Sandwich
Next in the egg department: Such a timeless classic, either loved or loathed, egg salad is yet made for the addition of leftover curry paste.
For your next lunch, it’s a beautiful, creamy filling of curried egg, held between two plush layers of carbs — what a joy.
While typically put together with a simple lineup of egg, mayonnaise, and curry powder, the paste can yet stand in as the one-stop shop of flavour.
A 1:1 swap will work for substitution of the curry powder, but adding a third of what’s called for in the original egg salad recipe will also suffice.
Light Coconut Curry Soup
Finally, closest in resemblance to an actual curry, you can put together a comforting curry soup.
And you’ll be comforted by how easy it is to make that it’ll feel like an absolute cheat code.
All you need is to combine curry paste with coconut milk to form a soup base.
Next, simply simmer the mixture for a bit before you follow up with your broth of choice.
That way, the ingredients in the paste will have the opportunity to activate and infuse a pleasant flavour into the coconut milk, first.
What’s then left is totally up to you for fixings — add whatever protein, vegetables, or noodles that you like.
Season the soup with plenty of lime juice and a bit of sugar to taste.
If you prefer a bit of body to your soup, consider adding some potatoes, blending them in for an even richer experience.