Skip to main content

Karen’s Spice Kitchen is Truly Curry in a Hurry

Karen's Spice Kitchen
Image used with permission by copyright holder
If Karen Paly’s husband ever got tired of eating curry five nights a week, he never let on. It was all part of her strategy to create a business to make it easy for others to cook awesome dishes in a short amount of time.

Originally from South Africa, Paly visited her dad in Australia and friends invited them to dinner. The friend said she was going to prepare a curry dish and Paly knew from her own cooking experience that dinner probably wouldn’t be served for a couple of hours. When dinner was ready to serve 45 minutes later, Paly was amazed and wanted to know the secret. She found out it was prepared using a pre-blended spice packet created by an Australian company. She and her husband bought dozens of their blends and then inquired about being the U.S. distributor—they were now living in Asheville, N.C. The company declined, but invited Karen to develop her own, so that’s exactly what she did.

chicken-tikka-masalaAfter months of developing recipes, grinding spices, and using her husband and friends as taste testers, she debuted Karen’s Spice Kitchen in January 2016. She works out of her own production facility and hand packs the spices herself, including putting the mixes in bags and pasting the labels on the front. It’s labor intensive, but necessary as she grows her business to the next level, which she hopes will include machine-automation that can perform many of these tedious steps for her.

She currently sells 12 varieties online and in several retail stores in North Carolina. They include Butter Chicken, Mango Chicken Curry, Chicken Tikka Masala, Chicken and Chickpea Curry, Lamb Korma, Lamb Rogan Josh, Thai Chicken Satay, Beef Madras, Indian Shrimp Curry, South Indian Veggie Curry, Bobotie (South African Curried Meatloaf), and Massaman Chicken/Beef Curry. Each retails for $5.99. All recipes serves four to six people.

Paly encourages at-home cooks to be creative and customize the recipes. “It may call for chicken or beef, but you can also use fish, tofu, or just vegetables,” she said. “Or, if it calls for heavy cream, you can exchange with coconut milk.”

Here’s how it works: Each packet of pre-blended spices features a specific recipe on the back. Prep time is around 20 minutes and involves dicing an onion and cooking the ingredients in a pan until they turn translucent, add garlic and cook for another minute, and then add the contents of the large spice packet (there’s a smaller hot chili pepper packet included, if you want to make your dish spicier). Cook for a few seconds, stirring constantly. Then add the other ingredients of the specific recipe you are preparing (listed on the back of the package). It takes about 40 minutes total (less for the shrimp recipe) to put a home cooked meal on the table. It’s also a great to wow friends or unexpected dinner guests.

Here’s the recipe for the Chicken Tikka Masala. You can also see the step-by-step process on Karen’s Spice Kitchen’s YouTube Channel.

Ingredients:

  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 tbsp butter or cooking oil of your choice
  • 2-3 pounds of boneless chicken breast, cut into 1 or 2-inch pieces
  • 2 tbsp lime or lemon juice
  • 1 cup heavy cream (substitute with yogurt or coconut milk)
  • 1 small can tomato paste
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro (plus extra sprigs for garnish, if desired)

Three easy steps:

  1. Chop and saute onion, garlic and spices
  2. Add protein and other ingredients
  3. Simmer (cook time on front of each package)
Marla Milling
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Marla Hardee Milling is a full-time freelance writer living in a place often called the Paris of the South, Sante Fe of the…
How to make the controversial Singapore Sling cocktail
While its exact origins might be up for debate, the Singapre Sling has endured
Singapore Sling

Many classic cocktails have an uncertain history because of a lack of record keeping or a long game of telephone where one name or ingredient was inaccurately transformed into another over time. The Singapore Sling, however, might be the most convoluted of all because of the myriad of ingredients it contains, but there are a few things that have been uncovered thus far. For starters, the cocktail isn't even a sling.

According to renowned cocktail historian David Wondrich — who has done the work of the cocktail gods by sifting through various texts and archives to unravel when and where the cocktail originated and what was originally in it — there are a few ingredients that are a part of the recipe for certain. Gin, a cherry brandy (kirschwasser style), Bénédictine, lime juice, and a few dashes of bitters seem to be the constants based on a mention of this particular formula in the Singapore Weekly Sun in 1915.

Read more
This distillery just released its first-ever single-malt Scotch whisky
Scotch fans have eagerly awaited this release for five years
Ardnahoe

If you’re new to the world of whisk(e)y, you might not know that Scotch whisky is broken up into five distinct regions. They are Campbeltown, the Lowlands, the Highlands, Speyside, and Islay. Campbeltown is literally just a town, but the other regions make up a fairly large geographical area of the country. With one other exception: Islay.

Islay is an island in the Inner Hebrides that is filled with thousands of sheep, various Highland cows, around 3,000 people, and nine distilleries. Known for its smoky, peaty whiskies, Islay is home to big names like Ardbeg, Bowmore, Bunnahabhain, Bruichladdich, Kilchoman, Cao Ila, Laphroaig, Lagavulin, and most recently Ardnahoe.
What’s in a name?

Read more
Upgrade your Memorial Day BBQ with these tasty, quick 3-ingredient dips
Just say no to store-bought dip
Dips

If there's one thing that draws people together at any event or gathering, it's the snack table. Clustered around, the colorful spread of crudites and dips gathered both the hungry and the socially awkward among us. We reach for the cheese and crackers, dipping our baby carrots into the jarred, name-brand French onion spread and nod along politely with the mindless chatter. It can be a painful time, to be sure. One made all the more painful by humdrum, store-bought dip. If you've ever found yourself in this situation, or worse, hosted such a gathering, you might have asked yourself how to jazz up the mundane. How to add a bit of interest to the grocery store platter of pre-cut cheese squares. The answer we have found is in the dip. And perhaps your guest list, but that's another article.
We've all fallen prey to the easy way out in the form of store-bought dips or spreads. There's no shame in this, but there is a need to remedy the situation. Store-bought dips are not only expensive but they're usually filled with ungodly amounts of added chemicals and preservatives, too. So why not make your own? Especially when homemade dips can be so incredibly simple to make?
These dips contain just three ingredients, are absolutely delicious, and come together in seconds. So whether you're throwing together a last-minute soiree, getting the entire family together for Memorial Day weekend, or just hoping to liven up your go-to snack table, these dips are the answer.
While very tasty on their own, feel free to think of these recipes as a jumping-off point for your culinary creativity. Each of these dips is absolutely delicious with just their three ingredients (no, salt and pepper don't count), but if you want to add more spices and ingredients, don't hold back!

Lemon and goat cheese dip

Read more