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


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@David Ross  Yup i think there was  time when  sprinkle of curry powder made a dish "curried". Another concept that was promulgated is the rijsttafel  or rice table including curried dishes. Again a colonial mash up https://www.amsterdamfoodie.nl/2018/indonesian-restaurants-in-amsterdam-rijsttafel/ Here in the US the tea rooms as many department stores did a chicken salad and a touch of curry powder was often added to make it "exotic" Apples too! I found this Madras curry powder in stepmom's cupboard. It is ancient but I could smell it with lid closed. I do not recall her ever using it. 

My first foray into "curry" ws recreating a dish I had in Vancouver in the late 70's. In a Swiss restaurant: Riz Kasimir  https://fooby.ch/en/recipes/12214/riz-casimir?startAuto1=0  Bananas & pineapple!  And now I'm thinking mole = curry???!!!  

 

curry 1.JPG

curry 2.JPG

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5 hours ago, heidih said:

@David Ross  Yup i think there was  time when  sprinkle of curry powder made a dish "curried". Another concept that was promulgated is the rijsttafel  or rice table including curried dishes. Again a colonial mash up https://www.amsterdamfoodie.nl/2018/indonesian-restaurants-in-amsterdam-rijsttafel/ Here in the US the tea rooms as many department stores did a chicken salad and a touch of curry powder was often added to make it "exotic" Apples too! I found this Madras curry powder in stepmom's cupboard. It is ancient but I could smell it with lid closed. I do not recall her ever using it. 

My first foray into "curry" ws recreating a dish I had in Vancouver in the late 70's. In a Swiss restaurant: Riz Kasimir  https://fooby.ch/en/recipes/12214/riz-casimir?startAuto1=0  Bananas & pineapple!  And now I'm thinking mole = curry???!!!  

 

curry 1.JPG

curry 2.JPG

 

That's a point well worth exploring. A cooking class I took about a year ago asserted that mole is defined by having finely-ground (and, I think, cooked) nuts in the sauce. However, I don't recall a requirement that the food be cooked in that sauce. Is that a significant and defining difference between mole and curry?

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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5 hours ago, heidih said:

@David Ross  Yup i think there was  time when  sprinkle of curry powder made a dish "curried". Another concept that was promulgated is the rijsttafel  or rice table including curried dishes. Again a colonial mash up https://www.amsterdamfoodie.nl/2018/indonesian-restaurants-in-amsterdam-rijsttafel/ Here in the US the tea rooms as many department stores did a chicken salad and a touch of curry powder was often added to make it "exotic" Apples too! I found this Madras curry powder in stepmom's cupboard. It is ancient but I could smell it with lid closed. I do not recall her ever using it. 

My first foray into "curry" ws recreating a dish I had in Vancouver in the late 70's. In a Swiss restaurant: Riz Kasimir  https://fooby.ch/en/recipes/12214/riz-casimir?startAuto1=0  Bananas & pineapple!  And now I'm thinking mole = curry???!!!  

 

curry 1.JPG

curry 2.JPG

 Note the Indian address is Bombay, that puts it pre 1995 !

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This is not a curry but there are exotic and aromatic spices ! The potato masala makes a great side dish too.

 

Masala dosa is a traditional South Indian breakfast pancake stuffed with potato masala, and served alongside sambar (a soupy lentil and vegetable dish) and several fresh chutneys. We don’t eat breakfast at home but love this, so it often becomes a dinner time meal. 

 

The dosa batter is made from urad dal (skinned and split black lentils) and rice. Both grains are soaked overnight with a few fenugreek seeds, then blended until smooth, mixed and left to ferment for eight hours or so. It’s not warm enough for fermentation here yet, so I cheat and use a packet mix. The dosa get cooked on a tawa, a brilliant pan for pancakes, chapatis or paratha. 

 

The potato masala is made by frying off a tsp of channa dal, urad dal, mustard seeds and 10 or so curry leaves, then chopped onion, green chilli and grated ginger. Peeled and chopped potatoes are added with turmeric, salt and water. Simmer until cooked then stir through chopped coriander.

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Sambar can be made with almost any veggies on hand, today that was carrot, okra and green beans. I fry a few mustard seeds, then curry leaves, a little chopped onion, garlic and ginger, then add chopped tomatoes, the veggies, water and cooked toor dal. Simmer until the carrot is just tender and add sambar powder. 

 

Sambar powder (technically a curry powder)  is available at any decent Asian grocer, mine contains coriander, chilli, turmeric, fenugreek, asafoetida, curry leaf and three types of dal. I make a trillion variations of this soup, it’s great for a light lunch served with toast. If you don’t have cooked lentils on hand, split red lentils (masoor dal) or split mung beans (mung dal) both cook quickly and add the desired thickness.

 

The traditional chutneys are coconut, tomato and coriander. Seen here from right to left. The packet dosa mix broke up a bit, it’s more difficult to handle than one made from scratch...still tasty !

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@sartoric  Your food is so enticing and inspiring. I love variety and contrast on the plate.  On that Madras curry powder - when I looked up the company in New York they also marketed Major Grey chutney though it was not a legally protected name so seversl compnies used the Major Grey name. Iconic colonial product I think.

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10 hours ago, Smithy said:

 

That's a point well worth exploring. A cooking class I took about a year ago asserted that mole is defined by having finely-ground (and, I think, cooked) nuts in the sauce. However, I don't recall a requirement that the food be cooked in that sauce. Is that a significant and defining difference between mole and curry?

Many Nyonya curries have finely ground (or pounded) nuts - specifically candlenuts, which are kind of like macadamias... they act as a thickener for the curry.  One of the curries I make frequently - the Ayam Buah Keluak - uses them.

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Y'all have forced helped me add to my cookbook collection.

 

20181007_112800.jpg

 

I think both of these books are going to be fun. I especially like the fact that there's a glossary in the back of each books, describing and giving alternate names or spelling for many items. 

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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Tamil eggplant & chickpea curry - recipe is from a restaurant run by a group of Tamil (Sri Lankan) asylum seekers in Melbourne. The eggplant is chopped, mixed with turmeric and salt, then lightly fried and removed, sauté mustard, fennel and cumin seeds, add onions, garlic and chilli, a can of chickpeas and it’s liquid, the eggplant and tamarind paste. Garnish with coriander.

 

Next to it is a mallum (mallung, or some other spelling) of kale. Another Sri Lankan dish, almost any green leafy veggie can be mallumed. In a saucepan put finely chopped onion, chopped leafy green of choice, chopped green chilli, 1/2 tsp turmeric, 2 tsp Maldive fish powder, salt and juice of half a lemon. Moisten with water if necessary, cook over medium heat for 5 minutes or so, then add a few spoonfuls of desiccated coconut. This dish works well cold as a salad too. 

 

Seen here with some of yesterday’s dal, ghee rice and a blob of pickle.

 

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Edited by sartoric (log)
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45 minutes ago, sartoric said:

Tamil eggplant & chickpea curry - recipe is from a restaurant run by a group of Tamil (Sri Lankan) asylum seekers in Melbourne. The eggplant is chopped, mixed with turmeric and salt, then lightly fried and removed, sauté mustard, fennel and cumin seeds, add onions, garlic and chilli, a can of chickpeas and it’s liquid, the eggplant and tamarind paste. Garnish with coriander.

 

Next to it is a mallum (mallung, or some other spelling) of kale. Another Sri Lankan dish, almost any green leafy veggie can be mallumed. In a saucepan put finely chopped onion, chopped leafy green of choice, chopped green chilli, 1/2 tsp turmeric, 2 tsp Maldive fish powder, salt and juice of half a lemon. Moisten with water if necessary, cook over medium heat for 5 minutes or so, then add a few spoonfuls of desiccated coconut. This dish works well cold as a salad too. 

 

Seen here with some of yesterday’s dal, ghee rice and a blob of pickle.

 

7F38F578-C28D-486E-A217-DDC3C55C5687.thumb.jpeg.733ea1c28e22595f34dbf9e92cec1e35.jpeg

 

 

A kale by any other name would smell as sweet...

 

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6 hours ago, sartoric said:

...2 tsp Maldive fish powder,...

 

I wonder whether I have any fish powder in the jumble that is my pantry. Hmm, may need to do an assessment. How different would the results be if shrimp powder were used instead?

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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8 hours ago, Smithy said:

 

I wonder whether I have any fish powder in the jumble that is my pantry. Hmm, may need to do an assessment. How different would the results be if shrimp powder were used instead?

I think it would work fine. When presented with missing ingredients and possible substitutes, I say to myself “what would an impoverished Indian do” ?..and then use whatever is available.

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On 10/7/2018 at 10:30 AM, Smithy said:

Y'all have forced helped me add to my cookbook collection.

 

20181007_112800.jpg

 

I think both of these books are going to be fun. I especially like the fact that there's a glossary in the back of each books, describing and giving alternate names or spelling for many items. 

GREAT purchases.  We shall have to start a "Cooking with Charmaine Solomon's Complete Asian Cookbook" thread seeing there are a few new owners.  I have not seen the Complete Curry Cookbook....going to Eat Your Books to check it out.

 

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On 10/5/2018 at 1:16 PM, Okanagancook said:

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

Looking in Prashad Cooking with Indian Masters, I note that most of the recipes calling for saffron are lamb or chicken dishes.  Most call for a small amount, so adding a little colour and aroma.  Charmaine Solomon's Complete Asian Cookbook has a nice recipe for Saffron and Lemon Sweet Pilau on page 25 that is pretty nice.

In Paula Wolfert's The Food of Morocco she advises to crush the saffron threads and soak in hot water to get the full flavours of the saffron extracted.

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@sartoric   Lovely looking dahl up thread.  I love dahl.  With regard to the dosa, our neighbour is Celiac and we tried to make dosa one morning.  I did the traditional ferment from scratch and made up some packaged batter to compare the two.  The commercial batter was easier to make dosa...the homemade batter was too thin I think.  We really liked them, nice and light but they do take a bit of practice, in fact I think I looked at your post way back showing how you made yours.  Definitely need to try again.  Made the traditional potato side to go with.  Thanks for posting all you meals.  They all look delicious.

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Many curries use nuts as thickening agents and a way to add more richness.

 

At a client of mine works a lovely Indian couple.  The wife and I have talked about food many times and about a year ago she so thoughtfully brought me all the ingredients needed to make one of their favourite paneer curries.  Interestingly it included a little jar of ground cashews.  This was to be added towards the end, after the cream, to thicken the dish.  The garam masala and chili powder she uses were also killer so I had to barter some Ramp oil for a larger batch, which she happily swapped.

 

As an aside, I wrote a 2 page manual teaching hubby to make Risotto (he has cooked only a handful of times in his life) for a special occasion for his wife!

 

 

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47 minutes ago, liuzhou said:

I'd be interested to know what people (curry cooks and instant pot users) make of this,

The “Butter-Chicken Lady” Who Made Indian Cooks Love the Instant Pot

 

 

 

 

Thank you for that reminder! Urvashi Pitre's Indian Instant Pot TM Cookbook is sitting on my Kindle bookshelf, thanks to this article some time ago, but I don't think I've cooked anything from it except the Butter Chicken. (That was excellent, by the way.) I need to organize my Kindle collection by topics more narrowly defined than "cookery" so that I can remember and retrieve these books more readily. 

 

The article itself is an entertaining one. What especially sold me on the book was the series of stories about traditional Indian cooks and eaters who say the recipe results are authentic but much quicker and easier than by traditional means.

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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2 hours ago, liuzhou said:

I'd be interested to know what people (curry cooks and instant pot users) make of this,

The “Butter-Chicken Lady” Who Made Indian Cooks Love the Instant Pot

 

 

 

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.

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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/ 

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2 hours ago, liuzhou said:

I'd be interested to know what people (curry cooks and instant pot users) make of this,

The “Butter-Chicken Lady” Who Made Indian Cooks Love the Instant Pot

 

I've made several of her recipes, including this one. It's pretty good. Granted, I am not a scholar at nor expert on curry, but the recipe is easy, the seasoning is not too aggressive, and I've been pleased with the results. It's a good use of the Instant Pot and a quick dinner. I've made her chicken biryani as well as a couple of dals.

 

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Don't ask. Eat it.

www.kayatthekeyboard.wordpress.com

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39 minutes ago, David Ross said:

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.

It takes just a few minutes to fry the spices to release their flavour!  No wonder people don't get excited about curries. 

 

 

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Yesterday I made a simple shrimp curry from South Indian out of my new cookbook.....thanks to @robirdstx 🤩

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A very simple recipe.  I love cookbooks which give an introduction to each recipe.  The one for this recipe says it is a popular dish in the local bars.

First one fries the onion (and there is quite a bit of onion and sliced too), cumin seeds and curry leaves until golden.

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Then the turmeric, chili powder, tomato paste, sliced tomatoes, sliced ginger and a little salt is added and simmered for about five minutes until the masala looks cooked.

 

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At the very end the shrimp are added and cooked until just done.  Finished with some chopped cilantro.

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I heated some chapati over an open flame and brushed with a little clarified butter and served with some leftover rice and dahl from the freezer.  A quick delicious dinner.  I am looking forward to making more curries from this book..  The flavours were very fresh and the onions still had a bit of a bit to them.

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I decided to break open the Mae Ploy Red Curry Paste. I just followed the directions on the tin, very simple, the veg I chose was what I had available - Capsicum & Bok Choy the protein was chicken. 

Was nice. Was hot. Authentic? No bloody idea. A lot 'runnier' than curry I am used to.. but I grew up with British Indian Currys so I'm hardly a judge. 

 

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20181014_211923.thumb.jpg.180b6d5238fcab3465bc7ea3532ddc5b.jpg

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On ‎10‎/‎10‎/‎2018 at 6:56 AM, David Ross said:

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/ 

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.....

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    • By Chris Amirault
      Welcome to this second anniversary eGullet Recipe Cook-Off! Click here for the Cook-Off index.
      A click on that index shows that, while the Cook-Offs have ventured throughout the globe, but they've never stopped in Africa. One could say we've passed through -- gumbo, for example, is widely acknowledged to have roots in Africa, among other places. So, for the first Cook-Off rooted in African cuisine, we'll be cooking up mafé, otherwise known as peanut or groundnut stew.
      Mafé is a traditional west African dish that can be found in the kitchens of Senegal and Mali. It's often served with a starch of some sort (rice, most often) to soak up the nutty stew juices, or, alternately, the starch is part of the stew itself, resulting in a drier braise. While there are a few mentions of mafé in eG Forums, there are no discussions of actually preparing it that I can find except this brief post by yours truly. There are a few recipes elsewhere, including this stew-like one and this more braise-y one, both of which are from the Food Network.
      Mafé is a forgiving cold-weather dish, and one that, like most stews, benefits from reheating (read: swell as leftovers). I'm convinced that mafé is one of the great one-pot dishes in global cuisine, built on a solid base of sautéed onions, peanut-thickened stock, and hearty meat. Like other classics such as gumbo, cassoulet, and bibimbap, it affords tremendous variation within those guides; it would be hard to find very many vegetables that haven't made an appearance in a mafé pot somewhere, and there are lots of possibilities concerning herbs and spices. (I like to increase the heat quite a bit with cayenne, which I think plays off the silk of the nut oil just perfectly, for example.)
      Finally, it's a pleasant surprise if you've never had a savory peanut dish before, and kids in particular tend to think it is the bee's knees. The kitchen fills with a heady aroma -- browned onion, ground peanuts -- that's hard to describe and resist.
      So: who's up for mafé?
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