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David Ross

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  1. Curry. Throughout India, from Goa, to Kerala and Gujarat, into Burma, Thailand, Japan, Europe, North America and across the world, curry transcends boundaries and cultures, weaving a mosaic of flavors and textures along the way. And while the reach of curry spans the world, at its core it is a regional, personal dish that isn’t defined by one recipe or one ingredient. The genesis of curry points to archaeological evidence dating to 2600 BC, showing the use of a mortar and pestle to grind spices including mustard seed, fennel, cumin and tamarind to flavor foods. The earliest Roman cookbooks detail recipes of meats seasoned with black pepper, cumin, lovage, mint, marjoram, cloves and coriander. The Mughal Empire in the 15th century influenced curry in Northern India and it spread throughout the continent. The establishment and growth of the spice trade further spread the popularity of curry across the oceans. The British developed a taste for curry early on, highlighted by the Art of Cookery published in 1758 by Mrs. Hannah Glasse. “To make a Currey the Indian Way”-take two small chickens, skin them and cut them as for a fricafey…..take three large onions, chop them small and fry them in about two ounces of butter, then put in the chickens and fry them together until they are brown, take a quarter of an ounce of turmerick, a large spoonful of ginger and beaten pepper together and a little salt to your palate, put in a quarter pint of cream and the juice of two lemons and serve it up.” So what makes a curry a curry? Is it the seasoning? The spices? Do the spices have to be toasted and then pounded in a mortar and pestle? Does curry mean there is a sauce, or does meat rubbed with curry fit the bill? And is curry always made into a sauce, and is the sauce always red, green or yellow? Soup or stew? Served with rice or a certain type of bread? Of course the possibilities are endless and these are some of the questions we’ll be discussing. What about meat? Many curries follow strict religious practices and so meat isn’t used, but do any vegetables work in a curry? Do you serve your curry with rice, bread and other condiments? As food fads fade as fast as they appear on the scene, we turn to dishes like curry that have survived and thrived for millennia. Today we introduce the 80th entry into the eG Cook-Off Series, eG Cook-Off #80: The aromatic, exotic flavors of Curry. (see the complete eG Cook-Off Index here https://forums.egullet.org/topic/143994-egullet-recipe-cook-off-index/ )
  2. David Ross

    eG Cook-Off 76: Consider the Schnitzel

    Consider, if you will, the Schnitzel. The national treasure of Austria, the word Schnitzel is a diminutive of the word “sniz” or “slice.” A piece of meat, pounded thin, then coated in bread crumbs and fried. Traditionally served simply with slices of fresh lemon, a sprinkle of paprika and maybe a leaf or two of parsley. Dating back to about 1845, the most famous of the schnitzels is the Wienerschnitzel (the Swiss break it into two words-Wiener Schnitzel), always made with veal. But the Wienerschnitzel we are discussing must not, in any way, be confused with the fast food chain "Der Wienerschnitzel", founded in California in 1971, and to this day selling "wieners" - a.k.a. hot dogs - under a pseudo-Austrian affectation. Opened in 1905 by Johann Figlmüller in the heart of Vienna, restaurant Figlmüller Wollzeile has been known as the “Home of the Schnitzel.” Serving massive portions of schnitzel draped over plates and served with a side of Austrian potato salad. Schnitzel isn’t always made with pork. Nor is it always breaded and fried as we know it. Take the Walliser Schnitzel for example. A pork escalope with a pocket stuffed with dried apricots sautéed in white wine with ham, parsley, cheese and almonds. The Walliser schnitzel is brushed with a tangy mustard but never coated in breadcrumbs and fried in sauté pan in a shallow pool of butter. If you’ve ever trekked through the cities, towns and fairs that dot the state of Iowa, you’ve surely come across the beloved tenderloin sandwich. A large slab of thin pork, dipped, breaded and fried, then placed between a bun that covers literally a few inches of the beast. A Schnitzel sandwich if you will. Served dry, with mayonnaise, maybe a few dill pickle slices and you're tasting a slice of America's heartland. Tradition tells one that Schnitzel can also be made with mutton, chicken, pork, beef, turkey or reindeer. Today one could stretch the idea of the protein to include a “Tofu Schnitzel” perhaps topped with a spiced mixture of lentils and harissa. I happen to live in the Pacific Northwest where it is common for hunters to craft a schnitzel from venison or elk, the perfect treatment for lean wild game that doesn’t need more than a kiss of the hot skillet to get crispy. Now the dip and fry are constant points of the schnitzel debate. Dipped in flour, then egg, then bread crumbs is the primary technique. Or is that egg mixed with milk, or condensed milk? Is it a double-dip in the flour and egg? And do we use fresh bread crumbs, panko or bread crumbs with parmesan? Wouldn’t pork lard be the best fat for frying a pork schnitzel? Or do we use butter, shortening, canola, vegetable or olive oil? As you can see we have some work to do here. Welcome to eG Cook-Off #76 and Consider the Schnitzel. (See the complete eG Cook-Off Index here.)
  3. David Ross

    eG Cook-Off 76: Consider the Schnitzel

    I've never tried making them, so thanks for the tip.
  4. David Ross

    eG Cook-Off 76: Consider the Schnitzel

    Well, I guess it was only a matter of time, given it's Fall and Food Network etal., is always looking to take a classic dish and push it into the mass media market. And I'm sure there will be plenty of people who will take them up on trying this method for combining the 'haselbeck' potato technique with a 'schnitzel.' I won't be one of them as I prefer the schnitzels we've done here in our Cook-Off. The photo isn't very appetizing and the coating looks a bit dark, as in overcooked, and it certainly doesn't look light and crisp as I prefer in a schnitzel..... https://www.foodnetwork.com/holidays-and-parties/packages/fall-entertaining-guide/fall-recipes-for-entertaining-?nl=ROTD_101618_rotdimage&bid=14740509&c32=ccf52de7275ff2ce5a975dca3dc615da5d2f1714&ssid=&sni_by=1957&sni_gn=#item-8
  5. Well look what I found this weekend. As the Holiday season approaches every year I go through my collection November and December issues of old food and cooking magazines. In the past couple of years I've scattered them in different bins with the decorations. But I decided it was time to go through them, search them and pair them with their cousins. The collection is mainly old issues of Bon Appetit and Gourmet. So I found this October 1978 issue of Bon Appetit, and what did I find? A feature story on curry--"Start the Season with a Glittering Curry Party." It's really interesting and an insight into how passionate home cooks were making curries back some 40 years ago. I have to admit I was surprised at the depth of knowledge and detail in this piece. These are just a sampling of the pages that cover the curry topic.
  6. Well, I tried this recipe yesterday and it failed miserably. In the video she says that "curry powder is the 'secret' ingredient." So I started with the recipe from marinating the chicken to the batter, including curry powder. I thought I'd then taste the fried chicken before tossing it in the Korean sauce mixture. The chicken wasn't very good for my tastes. The curry powder barely came through and almost tasted bitter, possibly fighting against the garlic, ginger and Korean wine in the marinade. So I stopped there and didn't even toss the fried chicken in the sauce. Crunchy? Yes. Good flavor? Not really. On its own this is a fair Korean fried chicken recipe, but I've got other recipes that are far better. I guess in the end my experiment and test didn't live up to a good dish. I'll keep my Korean Fried Chicken more true and not add curry. But it's not the fault of the curry powder yet a mismatch of ingredients and flavors. It wasn't worthy of a photo.....
  7. Yesterday I had a craving for Korean fried chicken. I've got a growing list of recipes and I'm always tinkering with the coating, batter if I use it, the seasonings, how the chicken is cut and the sauce. Then later I was looking at YouTube and came across this video/recipe. It's sort of campy and kitschy, but actually looks really good and she shows clips of a restaurant that specializes in Korean fried chicken. But what really caught me a bit off guard was that she puts some curry powder in the flour mixture that coats the chicken pieces. I'm going to try it in the next few days, but what are your thoughts? Is it typical for curry powder to be added to the flour mix for Korean fried chicken? Is curry powder used throughout Korea? http://seonkyounglongest.com/korean-fried-chicken/
  8. It looks like a fairly good recipe for folks who don't want to take the time and effort to craft a curry, toast the spices, and all the steps to make a really authentic dish. But I'll have to reserve judgement until I try it myself. I guess in the end if the Instant Pot encourages more home cooks to venture beyond the basic recipes, I'm all for that.
  9. It's now my mission to go through many years of dishes at eGullet and unwrap some surprises, (dishes I forgot long ago). While this is probably not any type of traditional curry you might find in a cookbook, it's a Thai-style green curry I did for our Squid, Calamari and Octopus cook-off back in 2013. Another sort of fusion, hybrid, out of my cupboard type of dish but as I remember, very tasty.
  10. Been searching through many years of eGullet posts to see what I've done with curry and found this recipe for a rhubarb chutney. It's funny because I put a note in the recipe for "curry powder optional." I think that now the recipe should not make the curry powder optional because it makes this a better chutney. Sort of an American dish using curry powder as an accent but delicious at any rate. Served with pork chop, asparagus and hash browns.
  11. Looks wonderful and thank you for the photos of your process.
  12. Does anyone know if saffron is ever used in curries and what region of the globe that would be? Are there Spanish curries for example that use Spanish saffron?
  13. I thought the same thing. I also thought that the ladies in my Great Grandmother's neighborhood in Twin Falls, Idaho, would have been surprised if they knew she had curry powder in the cupboard and put coconut in meat dishes. I think that would have been considered quite exotic for a small Idaho town back in the early 1920's.
  14. Welcome to the 2013 kick-off of our popular eG Cook-Off Series. In 2012, our Cook-Offs ran the gamut from “Hash,” to “Cured, Brined, Smoked and Salted Fish,” onto “Banh Mi” and ending the 2012 season with a discussion of “Gels, Jell-O, Aspic.” (Click here http://forums.egullet.org/topic/143994-egullet-recipe-cook-off-index/ for the complet eG Cook-Off Index). I made a personal discovery during our “Gels, Jell-O, Aspic” Cook-off. I found a little metal Jell-O mold on a dark, back shelf in a kitchen cupboard. That little mold led to a cherished family memory and became the vessel that would hold one of the most delicious dishes I’ve ever crafted. (Click here http://forums.egullet.org/topic/143597-cook-off-61-gels-jell-o-and-aspic/ to read about the delicious jiggly dishes we created). Today we’re going to venture into the depths of a discussion about a sea-dweller that is so scary looking to some they refuse to eat the delicious little devils. The horrors of being presented with a steaming bowl of soup with little appendages peeking out. Join in and let’s put forth our very best “Squid, Calamari and Octopus” dishes. Knowing your passion for cuisine, I don’t expect to see squid rings coated in gummy batter and deep-fried to the point that they bounce on the floor like a rubber ball. No, I’m guessing we’ll plate some fabulous dishes that showcase the versatility of these unique creatures.
  15. David Ross

    Cook-Off 62: Squid, Calamari and Octopus

    That's a good question yet I'm not much of an expert. When I do similar dishes I just add the squid at the very last minute but don't coat it in starch. And we're talking just a few seconds in a very hot pan/wok.
  16. "Curries and Bugles-A memoir and a cookbook of the British Raj" by Jennifer Brennan, 1990, Harper Collins. I've had this on the shelf since buying it when it was first published but never really took time to read it. I think our Cook-Off has inspired me to do just that.
  17. The American Woman's Cookbook by Ruth Berolzheimer, 1945, has just a few curry recipes and most are very basic, but it shows that the idea of making curry at home was gaining ground. Turkey Curry- 1 cup mushrooms 1/3 cup minced onion 1 large apple, peeled and diced 3 cups cooked turkey, cut in pieces 6 tbsp. fat 1/2 tsp. salt 3 tbsp. flour 1 1/2 tsp. curry powder 1 1/2 cups turkey stock and top milk or cream Serve with hot boiled rice cooked with little or no salt.
  18. The Curry Chicken Salad got me to thinking about American home cooks making curries decades ago, specifically if one of my Grandmothers or Great-Grandmothers would have made curry dishes. So I turned to my cookbook library and some of my oldest cookbooks to see. I'll start with this very interesting cookbook, "A General's Diary of Treasured Recipes," by Brigadier General Frank Dorn, US Army. The book is filled with memories from his travels and the foods he ate throughout his military service from 1926-1953. He served in the Phillipines, Beijing, Burma and the Chinese-Burma-India theater in WWII. These are some of the curry dishes- Curried Eggs in Shrimp Sauce Curry: East India-Javanese, Pineapple Chicken and Shrimps with Rice "To conjure up the life and contrasts of that subcontinent, (India), on a cold rainy night in your city apartment may seems beyond the powers of the genie who rubs your private Aladdin's lamp for you. But you have all the means to do so when you put together a good spice curry" Sauce- 1/4 cup butter 1/4 cup flour 1 tbsp. curry powder 1 tsp. salt pepper to taste saffron to taste 1 cup milk 1 cup cream 3 cups cooked shrimps 1 cup sliced mushrooms sautéed in butter. Serve with the following, chutney sauce, bacon, nuts, hard-boiled eggs, grated coconut, raisins, seedless grapes, grated orange rind.
  19. I wouldn't call your dish inauthentic at all. I see curry as a dish that is adapted to different tastes the world over. I remember a similar chicken curry salad we had at lunch at thle Georgian Tea Room restaurant inside the downtown Portland department store Meir & Frank, (later to become a Macy's). I can see the dining room in my memory and I imagine that plenty of ladies shopping and lunching would order an exotic chicken curry salad. Of course, the regional, ethnic curries we've been discussing to employ spices that wouldn't be used by some restaurants or home cooks, but that is why I think this is such a great topic.
  20. This is a special cookbook of mine, "Ooh Lala, Delicious Punjabi Food, Simplified." It's by my friend Lala Rukh. We met back in 2001 on the set of MasterChef USA on PBS. (No, not that dreadful Gordon Ramsay shill "MasterChef."). The program was the American version of MasterChef on the BBC which still runs today with MasterChef (Amateurs), MasterChef The Professionals and MasterChef UK Celebrity. Lala and I competed with another gentleman as the top 3 home cooks in America. She and her husband are from Pakistan so it's interesting to see her versions of curry. Her Cauliflower and Potato Curry calls for onions, garlic, ground coriander, ground red pepper, cumin seeds, turmeric, red potatoes, cauliflower cilantro and ginger. She's got another 20 curries and turmeric is used in most of the recipes. She suggests serving the Cauliflower and Potato Curry with flatbread as traditionally in her region of Pakistan rice is not eaten with cauliflower.
  21. What a beautiful photo. The perfect image of the Fall Hunting Season.
  22. I remembered a little more about the green curry I used for the prawn dish. I also made the green curry as a dipping sauce for fried prawn balls when we did our Meatball Cook-Off. Does anyone know if meatballs are used in curries in some cultures? I have a recipe for lamb meatballs with North African spices, but I know lamb or beef would not be used in some cultures.
  23. Thanks for posting your step-by-step. Since you mentioned the dish earlier I've been intrigued by it and I can't wait to see how it looks when finished. And then of course I'll take a try at it.
  24. Not modest at all I think it looks delicious and definitely something I'd make.
  25. Japan Airlines serves "Tokyo Curry Lab" as a dish on their business and first class menus. Apparently it's a partnership with the Tokyo Curry Lab restaurants. This photo is taken by a passenger in first class so it's not a great depiction, but every other image I've seen of it looks the same, sort of a reddish-brown gravy. I follow a lot of frequent flyer comments on airline food and this dish gets good reviews.