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David Ross

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

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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. 

Bon Appetit Oct. 78.jpegBon Appetit Oct. 78-2.jpeg

Bon Appetit Oct. 78-3.jpegBon Appetit Oct. 78-4.jpeg

Bon Appetit Oct. 78-5.jpegBon Appetit Oct. 78-6.jpeg

 

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We no longer eat four legged animals, but can’t quite give up chicken yet...so here’s a really simple chicken masala from The Bangala Table. 

 

My mise includes real cinnamon bark (as opposed to cassia bark), cardamom pods, turmeric and chilli powder, tomato purée, lovely legs*, onions, garlic and ginger. In India tomato purée is sold in cans, a purée of strained tomatoes cooked for 20 minutes or so. It is sweeter and milder than tomato paste, a good substitute is passata, or as I’ve used here a couple of puréed tomatoes with a blob of tomato paste.  *Lovely legs may be an Australian marketing term, they’re essentially skinned drumsticks with the knuckle lopped off.

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Usual process, whole spices first, then onions, garlic ginger, tomato and ground spices. The cinnamon adds such a lovely aroma to the dish. We need scratch and sniff screens.

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We like lots of sauce,  the original dish has just a clingon of sauce to moisten. 

Served with yesterday’s dal, steamed rice and Madhur Jafferys (and my) everyday okra, a tomato and onion pachadi* and a blob of lime pickle. 

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*Pachadi is the Southern India version of raita. It nearly always contains a spoon of sugar and few or no spices. This one is red onion, tomato, green chillies, salt and sugar mixed into yogurt. Simple and surprisingly delicious, also from The Bangala Table.

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If I'm seeing the picture correctly, we call them thighs.

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5 hours ago, ElsieD said:

If I'm seeing the picture correctly, we call them thighs.

No, they’re legs or drumsticks from pretty large chickens. I love thighs too though, not so keen on breast meat.

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1 hour ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

Four legs good, two legs better.

 

George Orwell was a genius. For me it’s an easy way to say “ I don’t eat pig, cow, sheep, goat etc”. I will hopefully own a few chickens soon (for the eggs) and that will probably be the last time I’ll eat any birds. My brother says chickens are so dumb, they’re basically vegetables on legs. He’s weird like that. 

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54 minutes ago, sartoric said:

No, they’re legs or drumsticks from pretty large chickens. I love thighs too though, not so keen on breast meat.

I am with you on dark meat being more flavourful.  We used to get free range chickens right from the farm gate but eating all that breast meat was not our cup of tea so now we found a butch who sells part...our kinda free range parts😃

 

your drum sticks look really nice.

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My the things I keep finding as I dig through years of recipes, photos and writings.  Some years back I did some food writing for a small site, TheMediadrome.com.  I had met one of the producers on the set of MasterChefUSA on PBS and she was just starting up a site devoted to food, media, poetry, writing, all sorts of things related to the creative arts.  So today I found that I wrote a piece titled, "Cauliflower and Curry: Opposites Attract."  Well, I'll spare you the trauma of reading through even the opening paragraphs, but suffice it to say that in fact, today I would never write that cauliflower and curry are "opposites."  No, cauliflower is used in many curry dishes and I think the texture and flavor of cauliflower lends itself quite well to a spicy, rich curry stew.  But I will give you a laugh for the day with the two recipes I wrote for the piece.  These are the ingredients, we'll leave off the preparation details. I've learned a lot since 2001.....

 

Curried Cauliflower and Rice Salad

 

Serves 6-8
 
1 ½ cups steamed Jasmine Rice   1/3 cup diced celery
2 tbsp. olive oil   1/3 cup peeled and diced carrot
1 medium size head of cauliflower, cut into small florets   1/3 cup diced red onion
1 tbsp. curry powder   ½ cup thinly sliced green onions
½ cup water   1/3 cup chopped fresh mint
½ cup salted cashews   ½ cup yogurt (substitute sour cream)
1 medium size mango, peeled and diced   Salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
1/3 cup frozen peas, thawed    
M    
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You have to laugh at this line I wrote, "It can be used not only as a sauce, but added to mashed potatoes and baked as a casserole; it salves the appetites of vegetarians, or better yet, simply served as a warming cream soup."

Prawns in Cauliflower Curry Sauce

 
  Serves 4
     
 
Although this recipe appears to have a large number of ingredients and seemingly endless number of preparation steps, it is worth it in terms of flavor and opportunity. This Cauliflower-Curry Sauce opens up a myriad of possibilities for other dishes. It can be used not only as a sauce, but added to mashed potatoes and baked as a casserole; it salves the appetites of vegetarians, or better yet, simply served as a warming cream soup.

Once the garlic is roasted and the sauce prepared, the actual cooking of the prawns is a quick, hot wok stir-fry with the sauce added just before service.

 

M    
Easy Roasted Garlic Cloves    
5 cloves garlic, peeled    
Olive oil    
Salt and black pepper    
M    
Cauliflower Curry Sauce    
1 medium size head of cauliflower   ½ tsp. tumeric
2 tbsp. salt   1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper (or to taste)
1 small yellow onion, peeled and chopped   ½ tsp. coriander
2 tbsp. butter   1 cup heavy cream
2 tbsp. olive oil   1 tbsp. curry powder
2 cups chicken stock   1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cardamom   1 tsp. black pepper
½ tsp. mace    
M    
16 large raw prawns   Salt and black pepper
2 tbsp. canola oil   1 tsp. sesame oil
½ cup chopped chives (substitute sliced green onions)   Fresh lemon wedges for garnish
M    
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If one is to laugh at the ingredients in David's recipe above, then one must also laugh at what I did with them. :) The spices and seasonings I used for a cauliflower and turkey curry sauce were more or less as above. (The mace and cardamom couldn't be found, and I prefer sweating garlic to roasting it.)

 

This sauce was intended to cook turkey meatballs, but I wanted to brown them first and give them a head start in cooking. After the first few meatballs fells apart it all became a curried sauce of ground turkey and cauliflower.

 

20181020_200135.jpg

 

I served it over rice, and we garnished with our choice of greens: parsley for him, cilantro for me. We both thought it needed more heat, and added hot sauce at the table.

 

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This didn't match my original vision, but we both thought it delicious. He had given me the fisheye when I'd announced dinner plans - neither cauliflower nor ground turkey inspires his culinary desires - but we'll be fighting over the leftovers. 

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On 10/21/2018 at 10:22 PM, Smithy said:

If one is to laugh at the ingredients in David's recipe above, then one must also laugh at what I did with them. :) The spices and seasonings I used for a cauliflower and turkey curry sauce were more or less as above. (The mace and cardamom couldn't be found, and I prefer sweating garlic to roasting it.)

 

This sauce was intended to cook turkey meatballs, but I wanted to brown them first and give them a head start in cooking. After the first few meatballs fells apart it all became a curried sauce of ground turkey and cauliflower.

 

20181020_200135.jpg

 

I served it over rice, and we garnished with our choice of greens: parsley for him, cilantro for me. We both thought it needed more heat, and added hot sauce at the table.

 

20181020_202432.jpg

 

This didn't match my original vision, but we both thought it delicious. He had given me the fisheye when I'd announced dinner plans - neither cauliflower nor ground turkey inspires his culinary desires - but we'll be fighting over the leftovers. 

 

Curry is forgiving like that ! Well done, I’d fight for the leftovers too....

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Last night I made a Thai-inspired sour yellow curry.  I've had a recipe for "Southern Sour Curry with Koon" for some years now, so that was the basis for this dish.  I've been thinking and planning for a couple of weeks now and found a few sauces at a local Asian grocer that I thought I'd add to the mix.  I'm sure it isn't a traditional sour yellow curry but it turned out to be delicious.  I scribbled notes down so it isn't in recipe form yet, but here are the ingredients:

Yellow Sour Curry Paste-

IMG_0424.JPG

 

Panang Curry Paste-

IMG_0422.JPG

 

I was adding cod to the curry, so this can of minced prawns caught my eye at the store-

Minced Prawns in Spices-

IMG_0427.JPG

 

The day before I was experimenting with curry and cauliflower to improve upon what I wrote about 18 years ago.  I roasted a head of cauliflower tossed in olive oil and sprinkled with curry powder.  The other vegetables I chose were probably unusual for a Thai curry-charred onion, carrot, turnip, zucchini and some basil. 

 

The recipe on the can calls for frying the sauce in sesame oil, then adding coconut milk and water.  I added about 2tbsp. of the yellow sour curry paste, Panang curry paste and the minced prawns.  Sauteed that then added in 2 cans of coconut milk and about 3/4 cup of water and a couple teaspoons of sugar.  This is a hot curry, but didn't shock my tepid tastes for heat.

 

In went the vegetables to cook for about 15 minutes, then some cod cut into chunks for another 8-10 minutes.  I didn't need to stir in the tamarind paste I had, nor garnish the curry with a slice of fresh lime that I had on hand.  I did forget the red chili threads I have, but that would only add to the presentation and not really add much taste.  I'm far from vegetarian, but I'll gladly make this again without the cod or any other meat or seafood for that matter.

Southern Thai Sour Yellow Curry.JPG

IMG_0434.JPG

Steamed Rice.JPG

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Looks good David. The minced  prawn link is absent but reminds me of a similar crab product from Vietnam?  Umami rich addition with little work ;)

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Tonight I made the chicken and fenugreek curry that I’ve detailed previously, served it with some leftover potato masala and dal, plus freshly made snake beans poriyal and spinach whole-wheat chapatis.

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From the south of India, poriyal describes a stir fried vegetable finished with lemon and coconut.

The mise includes mustard seeds, dried chillies and curry leaves, red onion, green chillies and chopped snake beans (snow peas work well too), lemon juice and desiccated coconut.

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The dish is cooked within 10 minutes. I heat oil and splutter mustard seeds and dried chilli, add onion and curry leaves, get the onion a bit browned, add the green chilli and the beans with a pinch of salt. Cover and sauté for a few minutes, squeeze on the lemon, stir in the coconut, and voila. 

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Edited by sartoric (log)
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Is that a fruit chutney above the rice in the photo?  The plate of food looks delicious.

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4 hours ago, David Ross said:

Is that a fruit chutney above the rice in the photo?  The plate of food looks delicious.

Yes David. It’s a mango and ginger chutney, Sharwoods is the brand, a UK company.

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Another favourite side is potatoes with dill or shebu aloo. 

I cut small potatoes into roughly 1.5 cm cubes, mustard seeds, dried chilli, asafoetida, turmeric, chopped garlic, chopped green chilli, and chopped dill.

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Heat some oil, splutter the seeds and dried chilli, chuck in the garlic and green chilli, stir quickly then pile in the potatoes and powders, plus a little salt.  Make sure it’s well mixed, lower the heat and pop on a lid. Stir occasionally.

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When the potatoes are nearly done, add the dill and mix well.

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This is not a saucy dish, so I serve it with one that is. Seen below with fenugreek chicken from the other night, green beans poriyal, chana dal and steamed rice, plus a paratha and a blob of mango pickle.

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I came across a recipe this morning for using leftover Thanksgiving turkey in a curry.  Sounds delicious, but not sure how I would do it.  I'm thinking just slices of turkey with a basic curry-cream sauce.  Any ideas?

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@David Ross  I would treat it like shrimp curry preps (which cook in seconds) and I would do a large dice or a cube rather than slices. I tend to think of curries as highly flavored stews rather than a featured protein + sauce.

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I've done it as @heidih suggests with leftover roast chicken. Worked like a charm.

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It’s always more tasty to make the curry sauce beforehand, cool it and marinate the cooked meat in it overnight.  Reheat gently and serve. 

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My cauliflower curry is cooking as I type. I'm using the recipe from The Complete Curry Cookbook, by Charmaine and Reuben Solomon. I have a question about cooking the mustard seeds. The instructions say to fry them in the oil until they pop. That seemed clear enough at first reading, but now I wonder: does that mean until they start to pop, or are all finished popping, or somewhere between when the popping has started to slow down but is still going? Waiting until all popping has stopped is a good way to burn popcorn. I didn't want to burn the mustard seeds the same way. I hope we won't end up chipping our teeth!

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I usually heat on a medium high heat until they start popping then I take them off the heat and shake the pan until they are “dead’...covered of course.

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9 minutes ago, Okanagancook said:

I usually heat on a medium high heat until they start popping then I take them off the heat and shake the pan until they are “dead’...covered of course.

 

Just to be clear: are you doing this in oil, or a dry pan, or does it matter? This recipe calls for popping them in the hot oil.

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