When I'm in too much of a hurry to get serious in the kitchen, one quick alternative that we both enjoy is a quick sort-of curry, nothing that a maharaja would approve of I'm sure, but a tasty sautee of vegetables, maybe meat, and basic curry spices.

This simplified rendition of a dopiazza (an odd name that always strikes me as sounding more Italian than Indian) is one of our favorites:

Slice two medium onions into rather thin rounds, and cook them in 2 tablespoons of peanut oil in a heavy black-iron skillet, stirring frequently, until they're soft, aromatic, and starting to turn quite brown. (I'll get by with this little oil, or even a bit less, by keeping a pitcher of warm water alongside and stirring in just a little from time to time if the browning mixture gets too dry.)

When the onions are good and dark, add enough boneless, skinless chicken breast or thigh meat for two, cut into bite-size pieces. (This may range from about 8 ounces to a pound, depending on how hungry you are, but for a light dinner, we usually go with the smaller amount and then fill up on lots of rice.)

Stir the chicken bites with the frying onions until the chicken loses its raw pink color, then add a mix of curry spices: 1 teaspoon or more Madras curry powder, 1 teaspoon ground cumin, 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander seed, 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves, a 1-inch chunk of cinnamon stick -- use your imagination, this mix can be varied infinitely, but using a combination of spices rather than just curry powder definitely adds interest to the dish. Stir until the spices start to cook, then add 3/4 cup of either water or milk, your option; turn down the heat and let simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 10 minutes or until the flavors blend.