Curries financial planning (Fi-naan-cial planning)

In my opinion, nothing can beat a homemade curry to warm your cockles as we approach another cold, British winter. But last week, as I was bearing the brunt of chopped onions I thought to myself ‘What could be worse than this? Ah! I know! Writing a blog about it.’ All joking aside, it occurred to me how similar the process of cooking is to financial planning.  I will leave you to draw your own conclusions on this …

Preparation is hardly the highlight of either endeavor, but as in all things, one of the most essential. Imagine you’ve chopped your onions, garlic & ginger before moving on to the chillies, only to find you forgot to buy them or you don’t have enough. The horror! (“In my book a Korma is pointless, it’s futile. I won’t touch it.”  A curry needs heat.)

I’m also a fan of smoother curries than usual, which requires several ingredients to be chopped very finely or blitzed in a food processor – but everyone has different preferences (whether we are talking about food or what they will do with their financial freedom).

Once the initial prep work is done, it’s time to heat up the pan and get your aromatics in. Starting with a small amount of vegetable oil and a reasonably large amount of butter/ghee. Fat means flavour and will make your sauce rich and velvety. Onions are added first (it is important to remember that the order in which you do things matters…), followed by garlic and lastly the chilli & ginger. Adding ingredients one after the other rather than all at the same time will help layer the flavour of the sauce; giving depth to the dish.  Often we do things for clients here at Solomon’s in waves or phases – the timing and order of those is important (even though at times it may seem arbitrary).

Once the vegetables are cooked through and slightly softened, your home will smell incredible but that’s far from the end of the story … we haven’t even added any spices yet!  The importance of mixing the spices with the aromatics in the frying pan is that as you toast the spices, they’ll begin to release all of their wonderful oils & aromas.  This takes time.  At this point you’ve got a curry paste that can be smelled simultaneously in multiple postcodes.

Only a keen eye and an experienced hand knows when the time is right to combine the elements of the paste with the base of your sauce.  I like to use passata (sieved tomatoes) due to that smoothness factor, but personal preference plays a part here.  The two need to be mixed well, so you have to  be fairly vigorous and focused on the task at hand. At this point, I tend to add some fresh coriander to provide yet another level of flavour to the sauce, though I use a clever herb infusion device that hangs off the side of the pan which allows for easy retrieval of spent herbs… it’s a universal truth that experts in their field often have tools (and talents) at their disposal that are not commonly found elsewhere.

The final step is to simply add cream or crème fraiche. This will help further the silky richness of the sauce. All you need to do is bring the sauce back up to temperature. Just before it starts boiling, lower the heat and allow the curry to simmer and thicken for as long as you can hold off the urge to eat it. Generally the longer it’s left for flavours to get to know each other and any water to cook out, the better the result.  We often talk about taking a long-term approach to your financial planning as it takes time to see all the component parts of a plan (or recipe) come to fruition.

Once your sauce is ready you can add in your preferred meat (or veggies) and just let it ‘cook in’.  Let’s not forgot thought that it also matters what you serve with your curry – everyone has their preferred accompaniments!  Whether you like a speciality rice or just plain boiled; a keema nan or a paratha; a Bombay aloo or a bhajee … just like financial planning – no two palettes are the same and you need to be mindful that the flavours you introduce to go with your curry complement that which has been carefully created.

A gorgeous curry and a great financial plan take time and care. Experience and patience.

You can read more articles about Pensions, Wealth Management, Retirement, Investments, Financial Planning and Estate Planning on my blog which gets updated every week. If you would like to talk to me about your personal wealth planning and how we can make you stay wealthier for longer then please get in touch by calling 08000 736 273 or email