Leftover curry is often seen as something of an unluxurious problem, but it doesn’t have to be one.
There are lots of ways in which leftover curry can be used up, although many people feel quite defeated by their platefuls of leftovers.
But there really is no need for this, so long as you know what to do with them!
In this article, we will explore some great ways for you to turn those leftover curries into the next day’s lunchbox or a delicious meal for tomorrow night.
Some basics you need to know first
First thing’s first, how much curry should you make?
It depends on whether there are going to be leftovers at all! Don’t over-cater just because your friends have said they’re coming – ‘a little something’ will do.
If you do end up with a lot of leftover curries, then we’ve got some great ideas for you to turn into a second meal the next day!
Second thing, always keep your leftover curry in the fridge overnight and try not to leave it out for too long (although if it’s in the fridge and under 4 degrees Celsius, it should be okay until lunchtime).
The best time to use leftovers is within 24 or 36 hours after cooking so that food-poisoning bacteria – which can cause severe diarrhea and vomiting – don’t have time to grow on them.
So don’t wait too long.
Now you know how much and how long you should keep your leftover curry, let’s move on to what to actually do with it.
Utilize the leftover curry as-is
First of all, there are a number of ways you can use up that leftover curry in the same meal later on in the week.
These may be a little more unusual tips, but they’re definitely worth trying:
Frozen rice and curry
If you’ve got some freezer space and your curry is not too spicy and wet (like a vindaloo), try spooning some out into ice cube trays.
Leave them until frozen and then pop one out whenever you need some extra flavor in your lunchtime chili or just an easy mid-week dinner.
You could even add them straight into the microwave without defrosting first.
Make sure that when reheating your curry that it is piping hot all the way through to avoid any nasty bacteria.
Leftover curry sandwiches
If you’ve got some leftover naan bread or baguettes, why not slice them open and fill them with your leftover curry?
You won’t be disappointed, I’m sure.
Make a quick omelet by frying chopped onions and garlic in a pan before adding beaten eggs.
Add salt and pepper and continue cooking until set; then add your leftovers – fried chunks of chicken tikka or lamb rogan josh would be delicious – as well as sliced green chili if you like some spiciness.
Fold over into a wrapped parcel and serve with a lemon wedge.
Leftover rice and curry
This is an obvious one, but if you have any leftover rice – particularly basmati – then try frying it with a little oil or butter, along with some garam masala or cumin powder.
Add your leftover pieces of meat from the original curry as well as chopped green chili.
If you’re feeling really adventurous, add in some frozen peas for added crunch! Serve topped with a fried egg for that extra protein hit to give you energy throughout the day.
Leftover curry soup
Last but not least on our list of suggestions (and another one which doesn’t require too much effort) is making yourself a big pot of leftovers soup.
Get the biggest pot you have, throw in any vegetables, cooked chicken or beef that are leftover as well as some broth or stock.
Add your curry sauce and let it simmer for half an hour to an hour before serving piping hot with crusty bread to dunk into it!
Transform into a different dish
You can also use up your leftover curry by transforming them into a completely different dish – something which will still provide you with all the flavors of the original meal but is perhaps more exciting than just having it reheated again.
Try one of our tried and tested recipes below:
If you’ve got leftover meat from your original curry (particularly lamb), fry it with finely chopped onion, green chilies, and garlic until fragrant.
Add a tin of chopped tomatoes and some fried egg (or leftover poached egg from when you made your original curry if you’re feeling particularly fancy) and then add in the rice that was also leftover.
Add in some cumin powder, garam masala, and salt to taste and fry for about 5 minutes before serving with fresh coriander on top.
This one can be done using whatever meat was originally in your takeaway curry – I’d recommend lamb or chicken.
Simply add in your cooked rice (and any flavorings like turmeric you like), along with your meat, and stir through.
Add in some frozen vegetables and pour over enough water until it just covers everything.
Leave to simmer for half an hour until the water is absorbed and the rice is cooked through.
If you find it needs more flavor, add some soy sauce or fish sauce to taste at the end.
Sweet potato curry
Any leftovers of your meaty main can be fried off with chopped onion, garlic, and green chili until fragrant.
Then, fold in a peeled and chopped sweet potato (or butternut squash if you’re not too keen on sweet potatoes) before adding any leftover curry sauce that was used for this dish originally.
Add some stock if necessary to create the correct thickness of gravy – season with garam masala, cumin powder or turmeric to taste.
Simmer until the vegetables are tender before serving with flatbreads like naan bread or chapatis.
How do you thicken leftover curry?
One way to thicken a curry sauce is to cook it without the lid.
This will help the sauce thicken.
Another way is to add lentils, yogurt, coconut milk, arrowroot powder, cornstarch, ground nuts, or mashed potatoes.
Another way to thicken a curry sauce is by making a roux. (source)
Can you reheat lamb curry?
Yes, you can reheat lamb curry
Just make sure that you’ve stored it properly.
When you come to reheat it, it should be just as good as the first time you had it.
Can I use cornflour to thicken curry?
Yes, cornflour is a great way to thicken curries.
To do this, mix one tbsp of cornflour with 3 tablespoons of cold water.
Stir well and then pour the mixture into the sauce.
Let the sauce simmer until it begins to thicken.
Can you reheat coconut milk curry?
Yes, you can reheat coconut milk curry.
You can use either the stovetop or the microwave.
How many times can you reheat curry?
You can reheat your leftover homecooked meals all you want.
However, it is best to limit the number of times you do because it might not taste good after a while.
But if you are making a lot of food at once, divide them up into different portions and store them in the fridge.
Leftover curry doesn’t have to be a problem.
In fact, it can be a delicious opportunity.
With these recipes, you can turn last night’s dinner into tomorrow’s lunch or dinner with ease.
So the next time you find yourself with leftover curry, don’t despair – get cooking.