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David Ross

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

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14 hours ago, blue_dolphin said:

'Building on the broadness of the term "curry," I'll share this most inauthentic contribution - Curry chicken salad with apples and cashews

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I used the spice mixture I posted about the other day, Trader Joe's mango & ginger chutney subbing for my usual Major Grey and a handy sous vide chicken breast from the freezer.

To compound the inauthenticity, I enjoyed this with some Pão de Queijo (Brazilian cheese bread made with cassava flour) that I bought at the farmers market xD

On the more authentic side, my Indian friend taught me the flavor enhancing power of toasting spices so even here, I lightly toast the spice mixture before adding it to the dressing. 

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) way back in the 1960'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 that employ spices might not be used by some restaurants or home cooks, but that is why I think this is such a great topic.

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My Rendang Daging made up thread was reheated before everything else for the dinner was ready.  I wanted to get the moisture driven off the sauce so I would have just the oil from the coconut milk left to fry the meat and get it sticky and slightly crispy as per the directions.  FAIL.  As with any dinner, it is hard to be in the kitchen with guests so I put the meat on for a slow heat up and proceeded to dry the meat out so badly it is in the bin.  People were polite but the meat was dry and I never really got enough oil that I could 'fry' the meat.  😫  

 

But all was not lost everything else was really good.  I made a rice cone with coconut rice accompanied by various condiments such as shrimp chips, peanut wafers, serundeng (which is a mix of coconut and peanuts with various spices), shrimp sambal and cucumber slices.  It made for a spectacular presentation eliciting 'ooo's and ahh's' from our friends.  Most of it got eaten.  Back to the drying board on the Rendang.

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Edited by Okanagancook edited to change to a better photo (log)
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@OkanagancookI'm sorry about that - it's so frustrating when you put so much work into something, only to have something like that happen at the very end.  The rest of the service looks fantastic though.  Did you make the shrimp chips?  They look very much like ones I've had in Indonesia and Malaysian places in Singapore.

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Thanks.  The chips are commercial and I don't have the package but these are really 'shrimpy'.  Not a lot of rice flour mixed in.  I tried to find a picture of the packaging on line but to no avail.  Here is a picture of them.  They are about 3 inches by 2 1/2 inches and quite thick.  The package is clear with yellow writing and an image on the front.  The package is just a little bigger than the chips which are stacked up.  I use my air fryer to cook them.  No grease and a lot easier than doing themin a wok with oil.  They only take a minute each once the machine is warmed up.  They are about 4" x 4" once cooked.  I cracked a few and served them with peanut sauce along with spring rolls for pre-dinner snacks and then put the rest on the plater.

DSC02764.thumb.jpg.60e7a6ef163d5fb00c25dfb409adef8c.jpg

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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.

untitled.pngGen. Dorn.jpg

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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.

The American Woman's Cookbook.png

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"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.

Curries and Bugles.pngMPCurrypowderjpg.jpg

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So I don't know if this is technically a curry, but it's cuttlefish stir fried with curry leaves, chili, and a homemade sambal.  The sambal is a combination of a lot of garlic, shallots, chilies, shrimp paste, dried shrimp and tamarind.  I believe that you could put that sambal on practically anything and it would taste good!  Served with jasmine rice and stir fried Taiwan Bok Choi with garlic (not pictured).

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Edited by KennethT (log)
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It’s interesting how the older cookbooks from North America use cooked meat like the one just up thread.  Oh, and Apple.  Seen this a lot.  Probably sends East Indian cooks into a tizzy.

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29 minutes ago, Okanagancook said:

It’s interesting how the older cookbooks from North America use cooked meat like the one just up thread.  Oh, and Apple.  Seen this a lot.  Probably sends East Indian cooks into a tizzy.

Apple.... hilarious!

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1 hour ago, KennethT said:

Apple.... hilarious!

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.

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8 hours ago, Okanagancook said:

It’s interesting how the older cookbooks from North America use cooked meat like the one just up thread.  Oh, and Apple.  Seen this a lot.  Probably sends East Indian cooks into a tizzy.

 

 

Oddly, it's a thing in Japan, and you see apple in premade curry rouxs. Based on a popular book claiming an apple and honey attributed to Vermont.

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I have seen saffron in recipes for some Indian curries, but I don't know how authentic those recipes were...

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5 hours ago, David Ross said:

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?

 

I will look in the one cookbook that is authentic for saffron in curries when I get home...currently out of town.

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Saffron is used in India, the Hindi word is kesar, or in Tamil kungumappu. Kashmir is said to grow the finest saffron in the world.. I’ve seen it used in many sweetmeats and have a recipe for saffron rice cooked by dum, a process of sealing the pot with a coil of dough to create a tight seal, traditionally with coals placed on top of the pot, now in an oven.

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@David Ross expressed an interest in side dishes......here’s one of my favourite dals. 

 

I used 1.5 cups of chana dal (skinned and split chickpeas) washed in several changes of water then brought to a boil with about a 2cm covering of water. Once boiling I skim scum, lower the heat and add half a chopped onion and half a tsp of turmeric, cover the pot and simmer for about an hour. I like them to hold a bit of shape, but still turn creamy if you stir enough. These are nearly ready.

F0E76829-8A76-447F-A698-936F97A7AF77.thumb.jpeg.eb99c33e7b0b8a40b746c0f4069e9111.jpeg

 

The mise for seasoning. In the dish black mustard seeds, cumin seeds and asafoetida, curry leaves, dried Kashmiri chillis (you can use any dried chilli, these are my current favourite), chopped tomatoes, red onion, garlic, ginger and baby spinach.

6BBB9B2C-FAD6-495F-9696-2D325D4974F6.thumb.jpeg.607135c7f07630fe510d4583290f0a0e.jpeg

 

I heat a combination of ghee and mustard oil (about 3 tbs total) and throw in the asafoetida, then mustard seeds, cumin, curry leaves and broken chillies. Have a lid handy the curry leaves will spatter and try to escape. Then in go the onions until soft and beginning to brown, garlic, ginger and tomatoes. I give this about 5 minutes until the tomatoes soften, add the spinach and a lid to steam it for a few minutes.

6ED3F148-211D-4117-A69B-03D7F914CCF2.thumb.jpeg.b870c43e3a0a54055768834cb8fc788b.jpeg

 

Pour the seasoning into the dal add salt to taste, a pinch of chilli powder and a few grinds of black pepper, simmer for a few minutes to meld the flavours.

34E0EBBE-659F-4BAF-966A-726453041537.thumb.jpeg.5486528a82bda4fa4d64aee837a7e9b6.jpeg

 

 

This keeps well in the fridge for several several days and goes with most Indian meals.

Seen here with mushroom balti, green beans poriyal, steamed rice and my favourite and ever present tomato chutney.

8AA93072-CD4B-4CA8-88D2-95531DFAF1D6.thumb.jpeg.4b0980e59b492a794f169d3be7398435.jpeg

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@sartoric Interesting.  In my local spice shop, they have saffron from several different regions - they also note that the Kashmiri saffron is the highest quality, and it is more expensive - interestingly enough though, it is less expensive than the saffron from Spain.

 

Also interesting that you mentioned saffron rice cooked by dum - when I was in Singapore, we went to what was supposedly the best "dum biryani" restaurant.  In SG, they use the term dum biryani even though it is redundant because there are quite a few vendors who make biryani but take the shortcut by not doing it in the dum method, so the places that do do it the traditional way have to differentiate themselves.

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On 10/3/2018 at 12:58 AM, Okanagancook said:

It’s interesting how the older cookbooks from North America use cooked meat like the one just up thread.  Oh, and Apple.  Seen this a lot.  Probably sends East Indian cooks into a tizzy.

I remember my mum making curry with leftover roast meat, curry powder, apples and sultanas ! This was in the 1970’s when the Australian diet largely consisted of meat and three veg, so very adventurous.

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35 minutes ago, sartoric said:

I remember my mum making curry with leftover roast meat, curry powder, apples and sultanas ! This was in the 1970’s when the Australian diet largely consisted of meat and three veg, so very adventurous. 

 

I remember the same in Scotland, although we thought that Vesta curries were the height of sophistication.

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14 hours ago, David Ross said:

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?

 

 

Murshidabadi Chicken Moghlai is a speciality of Kolkata (Calcutta). Chicken cooked in cashew nut, saffron and rose water.

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4 hours ago, sartoric said:

I remember my mum making curry with leftover roast meat, curry powder, apples and sultanas ! This was in the 1970’s when the Australian diet largely consisted of meat and three veg, so very adventurous.

 This is close to my memory of a curry my dad made. 

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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

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17 hours ago, sartoric said:

@David Ross expressed an interest in side dishes......here’s one of my favourite dals. 

 

I used 1.5 cups of chana dal (skinned and split chickpeas) washed in several changes of water then brought to a boil with about a 2cm covering of water. Once boiling I skim scum, lower the heat and add half a chopped onion and half a tsp of turmeric, cover the pot and simmer for about an hour. I like them to hold a bit of shape, but still turn creamy if you stir enough. These are nearly ready.

F0E76829-8A76-447F-A698-936F97A7AF77.thumb.jpeg.eb99c33e7b0b8a40b746c0f4069e9111.jpeg

 

The mise for seasoning. In the dish black mustard seeds, cumin seeds and asafoetida, curry leaves, dried Kashmiri chillis (you can use any dried chilli, these are my current favourite), chopped tomatoes, red onion, garlic, ginger and baby spinach.

6BBB9B2C-FAD6-495F-9696-2D325D4974F6.thumb.jpeg.607135c7f07630fe510d4583290f0a0e.jpeg

 

I heat a combination of ghee and mustard oil (about 3 tbs total) and throw in the asafoetida, then mustard seeds, cumin, curry leaves and broken chillies. Have a lid handy the curry leaves will spatter and try to escape. Then in go the onions until soft and beginning to brown, garlic, ginger and tomatoes. I give this about 5 minutes until the tomatoes soften, add the spinach and a lid to steam it for a few minutes.

6ED3F148-211D-4117-A69B-03D7F914CCF2.thumb.jpeg.b870c43e3a0a54055768834cb8fc788b.jpeg

 

Pour the seasoning into the dal add salt to taste, a pinch of chilli powder and a few grinds of black pepper, simmer for a few minutes to meld the flavours.

34E0EBBE-659F-4BAF-966A-726453041537.thumb.jpeg.5486528a82bda4fa4d64aee837a7e9b6.jpeg

 

 

This keeps well in the fridge for several several days and goes with most Indian meals.

Seen here with mushroom balti, green beans poriyal, steamed rice and my favourite and ever present tomato chutney.

8AA93072-CD4B-4CA8-88D2-95531DFAF1D6.thumb.jpeg.4b0980e59b492a794f169d3be7398435.jpeg

Looks wonderful and thank you for the photos of your process.

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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.

Rhubarb Chutney with Curry.jpgPork with Rhubarb Chutney.jpg

 

 

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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.

Octopus.jpg

Green Curry Octopus.jpg

 

 

 

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