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David Ross

eG Cook-Off #80: The Aromatic, Exotic Flavors of Curry

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1 hour ago, KennethT said:

I imagine a cutting would root well. I've thought of trying it but the branches I can get don't look fresh enough. One day when I get some time I'll try it anyway.

 

I'm a propagator. Will PM you some cutting tips tomorrow

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8 hours ago, Okanagancook said:

Do you use black cardamom?  Love that spice.

 

I bought black cardamom...so far I have not found a recipe.

 

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A few of my favourite cook books.

The Food of India (recipes by Priya Wickramasinghe and Carol Raja Selva) got me started many years when full time work meant an Indian meal was a weekend event. These recipes always work and many favourite dishes come from this book. 

The Flavours of India by Meena Pathak, again, many favourites in here.

The Bangala Table - we stayed at this heritage property The Bangala back in 2017. The book is co authored by the owner Mrs M, and is a fantastic resource for Chettinad cuisine. They run cooking classes too and have a beautiful open air kitchen.

Madhur Jaffery’s Flavours of India concentrates on recipes from Kerala, Goa, Gujarat, Punjab, West Bengal and Tamil Nadu. I love her book Curry Easy Vegetarian as well, and borrow it from the local library in digital format regularly.

 

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There’s more books on a lower shelf, notably Tasting India by Christine Manfield. She’s an Australian chef who has travelled extensively in India. This book is coffee table size and part travelogue, with restaurant and accommodation recommendations, brilliant photos, plus hundreds of authentic, sometimes complex recipes gathered from her time stalking the kitchens...she does this well.

 

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I have several Sri Lankan recipe books too, and have no problem incorporating dishes from both countries into one meal. 

 

Charmaine Solomon is a favourite who has authored more than 30 cookbooks and deserves a separate post.

 

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2 hours ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

 

I bought black cardamom...so far I have not found a recipe.

 

How about a classic: उबाऊ मीठा पकवान

 

1 cup sugar

a large pinch ground black cardamom 

molasses as per taste

 

It really focussed on the taste of black cardamom ...

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Bet you’re sorry you started this topic.

 

Dinner tonight features a shiitake mushroom curry. There was a lot of mustard gravy made yesterday, so before adding the fish I saved some for another dish, and this is it. I sautéed the sliced fresh shiitakes in butter first, added some mustard gravy, water and double cream, then finished with chopped coriander.

The thali style meal included eggplants in tomato gravy (Christine Manfield - Tasting India), tarka dal (Madhur Jaffery - Curry Easy Vegetarian) and Tuscan cabbage in a Sri Lankan mallum (Charmaine Solomon- The Complete Asian Cook Book), spiced basmati rice, a dab of homemade mango chutney and fresh chapatis.

 

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Mallum (or Mallung) is served with many Sri Lankan meals, it’s one of the ways Sri Lankan people get their vitamins. Almost  any leafy green is simmered with chopped red onion, turmeric powder, ground Maldive fish, chopped green chillies and lemon juice, then thickened with desiccated coconut. You’d think I’d have chapatis down pat after making so many, but they’re still a bit hit and miss, these were 6/10. I’m sure the relative humidity has an impact.

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Ok, so I might take a trip to the big city tomorrow (I'm thinking the Asian market might be the place to go) what are the main/essential spices that I need to stock up on?  

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24 minutes ago, Shelby said:

Ok, so I might take a trip to the big city tomorrow (I'm thinking the Asian market might be the place to go) what are the main/essential spices that I need to stock up on?  

The list could become so long… If I were you I would choose two or three dishes that you would like to make and buy the spices for those. I suspect no other cuisine in the world uses as many spices! You might remember I tested 300+ recipes for @Monica Bhide many years ago and my apartment was practically overflowing with spices and all too frequently smelled like an Indian takeout joint. 

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40 minutes ago, Anna N said:

The list could become so long… If I were you I would choose two or three dishes that you would like to make and buy the spices for those. I suspect no other cuisine in the world uses as many spices! You might remember I tested 300+ recipes for @Monica Bhide many years ago and my apartment was practically overflowing with spices and all too frequently smelled like an Indian takeout joint. 

So, it would be a lot easier to come to your house for a meal...or even cooking Indian lessons...

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7 hours ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

 

I bought black cardamom...so far I have not found a recipe.

 

 

This link should take you to a list of 214 recipes available online that call for black cardamom - the results of a search on Eat Your Books.  Including several curries and even one for Black Cardamom and Black Pepper Ice Cream

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@Shelby I would say for essential curry spices these would be a good start.  I buy whole spices and grind them as needed:

 

Cumin seeds

Coriander seeds

Black Mustard seeds

Turmeric

Fennel Seeds

Whole Cloves

Cinnamon Sticks

Green Cardamon Pod

Cayenne Chili or Kashmiri Chili if you can find it

Whole Dried Chili

 

I did I miss anything?

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4 minutes ago, blue_dolphin said:

 

This link should take you to a list of 214 recipes available online that call for black cardamom - the results of a search on Eat Your Books.  Including several curries and even one for Black Cardamom and Black Pepper Ice Cream

When buying black cardamon, they should not be all dried out...should be able to break open the pod quite easily yielding the black seeds inside.  They are kind of smoky.

Nice list of recipes.

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Chapatis are tricky alright.  I don't like Atta Flour for some reason the texture is not what we like.  I use all purpose white with a little whole wheat mixed in...about a tablespoon whole wheat per cup of white.  A little oil in the dough makes them softer.

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14 hours ago, sartoric said:

This is a favourite curry featuring tamarind, eggplant and chickpeas. Note the curry leaves, if there’s one thing that makes a curry taste extra special, it’s curry leaves (Murraya koenigii) the tree grows easily here. 

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Served with lemon rice, chickpea flour pancakes, potatoes and pol sambal (a Sri Lankan coconut and chilli relish).

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The trees, the large one is 3 metres tall and a few years old, the smaller one is a pup. Yes, they produce pups ! My kinda tree.

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Not only delicious but very informative.  As we go along, I'd be interested in also hearing a little more about all the accompaniments to your curry. 

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Loving this topic since DH does not like Indian food I only get to eat it out occassionally with a friend. I do make basic thai red curry at home but use the premade paste.

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@Shelby I think it depends on what kinds of curry you want to make, so the advice to look at a few recipes and get ingredients for that is a good one.  Curries from the various countries/regions will vary significantly.  For instance, many SE Asian curries (from Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, etc) use more fresh products like garlic, ginger, galangal, kaffir lime leaf, fresh chiles (several different kinds) etc. than dried spices like in many Indian curries.

 

One thing that I would add to the list is belacan - shrimp paste.  It's essential in many Malay/Indo/Nyonya dishes...  also dried shrimp (the kind that needs refrigeration).  And fresh curry leaves and kaffir lime leaves, which don't stay fresh long, but can be frozen.

 

Also, when it comes to dried chilis, there are so many varieties - one store near me must carry at least 20 different kinds of dried chilis.  I tend to use Puya chilies as they are available here and are a decent substitute for the not-so-spicy dried chilis used in SE asia.  But also dried thai chilis as well to add a different flavor, and more heat.

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Cooks Illustrated has quite a few recipes for curry dishes,  I've made their Indian Style Curry with Potatoes, Caluliflowe, Peas and Chickpeas.   It is a wonderful recipe,

If you don't have access, PM me and I'll email it to you.


Edited by lindag (log)
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3 hours ago, KennethT said:

@Shelby I think it depends on what kinds of curry you want to make, so the advice to look at a few recipes and get ingredients for that is a good one.  Curries from the various countries/regions will vary significantly.  For instance, many SE Asian curries (from Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, etc) use more fresh products like garlic, ginger, galangal, kaffir lime leaf, fresh chiles (several different kinds) etc. than dried spices like in many Indian curries.

 

One thing that I would add to the list is belacan - shrimp paste.  It's essential in many Malay/Indo/Nyonya dishes...  also dried shrimp (the kind that needs refrigeration).  And fresh curry leaves and kaffir lime leaves, which don't stay fresh long, but can be frozen.

 

Also, when it comes to dried chilis, there are so many varieties - one store near me must carry at least 20 different kinds of dried chilis.  I tend to use Puya chilies as they are available here and are a decent substitute for the not-so-spicy dried chilis used in SE asia.  But also dried thai chilis as well to add a different flavor, and more heat.

Yes, many more fresh and somewhat difficult to find ingredients in non-East Indian Curries so best to find a recipe first.

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This is funny...and shows my naivete when it comes to curry.  You might be like me, someone who buys all sorts of products at the local Asian market, then stashes it away in the pantry.  I've been holding on to these little cans of curry paste far too long, they both expired in 2016!  But I remember at the time I was just starting to get into Thai curries and I had a recipe for "Southern Curry with Koon."  As best I remember, koon was like a Japanese eggplant?  (Someone here will know I am sure).  But I used another type of curry paste in a bigger container so never opened these up.  I discovered them yesterday when I was searching the cupboards to see what things I already have to start on a curry dish. 

 

Anyone have some ideas for using yellow curry paste or sour yellow curry paste?

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yes.

 

Im not sure if these cans are ' out of date '

 

but a long time ago I asked about these two brands , in the cans

 

and was told that each ' maker '   Mae Plow and Maesri  made similar products

 

in sealed pouches , that were then marketed in a plastic container :

 

like thisw

 

Mae Ply Red Curry Paste

 

and

 

Maesri Red Curry Paste

 

much better stuff !

 

open your cans and take s small taste !

 

use them , w water and possible some thickener

 

and add to all your cooked ingredients 

 

and they are not bad

 

pouches are better for some reason.


Edited by Smithy Adjusted links to be eG-friendly (log)
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1 hour ago, David Ross said:

This is funny...and shows my naivete when it comes to curry.  You might be like me, someone who buys all sorts of products at the local Asian market, then stashes it away in the pantry.  I've been holding on to these little cans of curry paste far too long, they both expired in...

 

Ha! A kindred spirit! Here's what I've unearthed from my cabinet stock so far, and it's all older than yours.

 

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I've found some good-looking recipes for shrimp curry and was planning to try one tonight; unfortunately I don't seem to have any coconut milk in the house. Since I'll be taking liberties with the recipe in question anyway (I cannot let the shrimp wait longer) I'm going to take a shortcut and use the jarred curry paste rather than starting from scratch with the spices.

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@Smithy   I sometimes think of curries like stews. A pretty generic trm. With shrimp I like green, but prefer it with coconut milk. If I was in your shoes I'd go with red. What vegetables are you thinking of using?  

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I vote red also.  Do you have some dried coconut?  You could make some coconut milk.

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1 cup desiccated coconut

1.25 c hot water

 

allow to cool enough to knead a few minutes then strain through fine strainer or muslin cloth squeezing out as much liquid as possible.  This yields ‘thick coconut milk’

 

repeat with the same coconut and this will yield ‘thin coconut milk’.

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I've heard that Maesri is less salty than the Mae Ploy.  I've had the Mae Ploy in the plastic pouch in the tub and have not been impressed.  The best curry paste I've had outside of Thailand is Nittiya - but it must be kept refrigerated.  Whenever I go to the Thai store in Chinatown, they're always sold out... very frustrating.  But I've heard decent things about Maesri in the can - I have a can in my pantry (of the red curry) but haven't used it yet.

 

Many years ago, I was in Chiang Mai and we took a cooking class - one of the dishes I requested making was Khao Soi, which originates in the area.  I can't find the recipe now, but it used a yellow curry paste, although you could sub in red curry paste in a pinch.  I don't know what to do with the sour yellow curry paste though.

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