At this moment it is cold by Florida standards. I hear it even snowed in the northernmost parts of the state last night. That in mind, curry is a great winter dish--it is complex, stewy, and with all the spices warms the body and the soul.
Little do most people know how easy it is. Compared to Italian cooking it seems complicated: most Italian dishes I love have a maximum of 5-6 ingredients, while some Indian dishes get twice that far in before you're even done with the spice mix. This is a simple foundation curry, the starter kit for any number of different kinds of meals. Late in the game stir in a bag of fresh spinach and add some firm white cheese and make palaak paneer. Or add in chicken or shrimp or beef, or cooked lentils. Nearly limitless possibilities and it is easy.
What you need are a handful of go-to spices in your kitchen, onions, garlic and ginger.
The spices: turmeric, coriander, cumin.
Fresh onions, garlic, ginger and canned tomatoes.
Ginger isn't that hard to prep: peel with a vegetable peeler and grate using the finer side of a cheese grater. At the grocery store pick the fattest pieces you can get--less surface relative to ginger meat. Why canned tomatoes? Nearly all the year they taste better than the waxy fresh ones except in the summer.
Chop the onion coarsely, mince the garlic, grate the ginger. That's the base. Saute these ingredients over medium heat for 8-10 minutes. Add a teaspoon or so of each spice plus a teaspoon or two of salt, and the can of tomatoes (whole ones--then crush in your hands into the pan).
If you're using chicken or meat, chop it into bite-sized pieces OR simply put whole bone-in thighs in and cover, heat reduced, for 15-20 more minutes. If you're using shrimp, add them in the last 3-4 minutes to cook.
Serve with rice, preferably basmati. Easy cook method: 2 parts water to 1 part rice. Bring to a boil uncovered, then cover, turn the heat to low and let it sit exactly 20 minutes (don't peek). Perfect rice every time.