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David Ross

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

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Yes, I always do them oil and I do because that is usually the recipe instruction...maybe the oil stops them from jumping to the moon out of your pan🤕

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13 hours ago, Smithy said:

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!

 

I'm following up with results. My husband liked the cauliflower, although he admitted that he liked it more in a "we need to eat vegetables" way than in a "wow! let's have this often!" way. I thought it too salty, even though I'd cut back on the salt in the original recipe. I will certainly try it again, with adjustments. It would have helped if I had been able to find the ginger root that I know is lurking somewhere in my kitchen! I can't wait to see where it turns up.

 

20181202_190854.jpg

 

I'm not showing the whole dinner, because the rest wasn't curry-ish at all. Nonetheless, this was a nice first step into the idea of curries.

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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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1 hour ago, heidih said:

@Smithy  This link provides a nice discussion about the use of spce tempering (tadka) in Indian cuisines.  It discusses both in fat and dry. http://www.onegreenplanet.org/vegan-food/what-is-tadka/

 

Tadka. My new word for the day. :)

 

That article gives an excellent explanation, with a lot of inspiring recipes. I've bookmarked it. Many thanks!


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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1 hour ago, Okanagancook said:

 

You enabler, you! :laugh:

 

Do you suppose it's really 3-1/4 mm?  That sounds incredibly tiny.

 

Edit: never mind, that's the thickness of the metal.


Edited by Smithy (log)

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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I have the one in the link and use it frequently...mainly for toasting spices.  Have not used it for onions/tomatoes, etc.  It's like cast iron....never use soap.

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I finally found the time to try out a couple of recipes from an Indian cookbook I picked up over the holidays. It isn't that I needed another cookbook, but this one jumped out at me from the shelves of a thrift store. What I like about it is that it describes how the cuisine changes from one part of India to another, and each dish is ascribed to its particular area. The instructions are clear and the photography beautiful.

 

20190202_232520.jpg

 

I chose 2 recipes to try: Pepper South Indian Chicken Curry (Murgh chettinad) and Pilau Rice. The book notes that the curry is hot and spicy, and not for the faint of heart. The spices include black mustard seeds, curry leaves, asefetida, cumin, coriander, turmeric, salt, pepper, and freshly grated ginger. The mustard is fried until it pops; the curry and asefetida are added to the frying, and then the chicken is added. After the chicken has begun to cook, most of the other spices are added. Simmer in coconut milk and water. When the chicken is done, finish with the ginger, some lime juice and cilantro.

 

Meanwhile, in another pot I had the pilau going. I don't know that there's anything extraordinary about it, except possibly the addition of black peppercorns (fished out at the end) and saffron, but it worked well for me. The instructions are very clear about repeatedly rinsing the rice until the water runs clear, then soaking it for a half hour before draining and starting the cook. I occasionally rinse. I've never soaked beforehand. This basmati was fluffy in a way mine has never been. My eyes are opened to a new way of cooking rice!

 

20190202_211241.jpg

 

We both thought the finished dish good, and well worth doing again. My darling, who likes dishes slightly sweeter than I do, though a touch of Worcesterhire sauce added to the curry and balanced it nicely. I wouldn't have tried it without his prodding, but in fact I thought a drop or two were helpful.

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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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The curries looks delicious.  Curious the instructions don't have you try the spices after the mustard seeds pop and before adding the chicken. Glad you found the rice technique.  It really does make a huge difference to any rice...save for risotto 🙃

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I found a new (to me) dal this week. It’s called val dal and is a kidney shaped white bean (split and skinned). My Indian grocer said it’s popular in Maharashtra and Gujarat. Some dals are so specific to their area, she never tried some until she married and moved. I gave the val my favourite dal treatment. 

Rinsed and boiled softly with a pinch of turmeric.

CABC5850-CF6A-49AE-8497-32CEEA90945E.thumb.jpeg.12753d095ac8f76b2247894ce69a449b.jpeg

 

Mise for the flavouring. Chopped red onions, chopped tomato, garam masala, chilli powder, turmeric.A5FB9680-FB72-4A87-BE50-A26BD2A77A71.thumb.jpeg.9856d5ea7adde9e94f2a3a8f61d860d3.jpeg

 Please don’t laugh, I love my $4 kiwi brand cleaver, frills and all.

 

In ghee I fry off the onions, add spices, tomatoes and salt and cook until melded well.

50C04864-BFAF-4E18-A937-0EC2FAB0F061.thumb.jpeg.7bd54a70a5ebfd7a02ba7b0cf2d9d8ff.jpeg

 

I add this to the cooked dal, then prepare a tadka.

A dried chilli, half a tap of cumin seeds, a few cloves, a pinch of asafoetida, then crushed garlic, in that order in smoking hot ghee in a small pan. The coriander is for later.

C69118EC-4AFD-4F3F-9112-287653539D08.thumb.jpeg.9d7b5a3a389ad3b3c6ab9f4f50707044.jpeg

 

The idea is to tip the smoking contents of the pan onto the dal, cover and let the aromas absorb into the dal.

2726CD62-AE38-48C8-A10D-06CCE097D84C.thumb.jpeg.c42167c4d9d8ac38594a5eb9eba13e65.jpeg

 

Garnish with coriander. Ta da.

A5DAD18A-744F-45AB-B759-FE177E7B1CD6.thumb.jpeg.5bc0581bb2367deffe29df196a219b15.jpeg

 

Full meal is served over on the dinner thread.

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That is a lovely tutorial, @sartoric. You and @Okanagancook both turn out lovely dishes, clearly explained. Thank you!

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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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I love dahl.  You can't beat a steaming bowl of dahl with fresh chapati.  My favourite is toovar dahl and I found some at our big box grocery last week.  It is split and skinned pigeon peas.

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Seeing you were so nice about it @Smithy, here’s another one.

 

Balti mushroom curry.

These spices are ground together in the spice grinder, coriander seeds, peppercorns, cinnamon bark, chilli flakes, cardamom pods, cloves, dried fenugreek leaves.

CE829E3E-2673-409B-B912-D5A95AC4D4F8.thumb.jpeg.7bbca4e616cd9a0bd680f25549602b14.jpeg

 

 

You get a curry curry powder like this.

2A6B6D42-C7DF-4444-A23C-2A89FDD7E8FF.thumb.jpeg.fcaca9eb6e096b9bbd265d28a5834f88.jpeg

 

The other ingredients are garlic, green chilli, ginger, tomato and mushrooms, so simple.

E58081FA-48DC-4BA7-A72A-19D3C1B98C51.thumb.jpeg.99bdf0cf291626c4ffa8e86d7725a287.jpeg

 

I fry fry off the garlic for a minute, then add a tbs of the powder and stir for a couple minutes.

F8F779AF-BEB0-4CE2-BDF0-F5E3D7E5FDF5.thumb.jpeg.a9b0fdeec0936d3ca2dd4ec5977f7fac.jpeg

 

The tomatoes go in next and cook for five minutes or so until quite mushy.

5DE28113-5BF6-43FF-A56D-02048EC14939.thumb.jpeg.beeb52dc9c8d3776f4ca1e8bd90abd68.jpeg

 

Add the quartered mushrooms, salt to taste and cook covered until they reach your desired tenderness. Garnish with chopped coriander. I often add a few handfuls of baby spinach too.

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The plated meal is over on the dinner thread.

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Mushrooms make excellent curries.  They seem to absorb the spice flavours really well.  Plus they hold their shape nicely.

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What makes something "Balti"? Does that specify a particular flavor profile?

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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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1 hour ago, Smithy said:

What makes something "Balti"? Does that specify a particular flavor profile?

I think it refers to the cast iron pot called a balti in which it used to be cooked, but also the flavours. Balti is frequently used in English recipe books/restaurants.

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On 9/22/2018 at 4:38 PM, 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. 

40EE948C-46F4-4A48-885F-F99FCA476049.thumb.jpeg.871a70c4807a0b7d456e02dd95d53745.jpeg

 

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

FE5703D7-455A-4485-BAA2-70E8D9653ADF.thumb.jpeg.3aa101d13ae758c105bb4d2eb98b7e18.jpeg

 

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.

A02FD13B-6D4B-4504-A82C-764C5496F535.thumb.jpeg.dba1b5a5cedc8cb658b3efb58d4267e6.jpegECEB0290-D2BB-46DD-910E-DC261094B4E5.thumb.jpeg.70809e8d50cd72bb6b3acf07967df798.jpeg

 

Wow Sartoric, 

You put me to shame, I have not managed to grow the curry plant at home, its not hot enough, not sunny enough, not this not that! Your plant looks gorgeous! 

And the garbanzo eggplant looks quite interesting. Not a combination that I have seen often but why not? I make it sometimes as well. But not with the curry leaf. 

Everything looks interesting. Chick pea flower pancakes or Besan Ka Cheela are yummy. In gujarat we call them Pudla (poodlaa) or Puda (pooda). 

Great going!

Bhukkhad

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Posted (edited)
On 9/22/2018 at 11:58 AM, Okanagancook said:

I made tamarind water for my upcoming curry cook.  Tamarind seasoning is used in many curries especially South Indian, Indonesia, etc.

Tamarind:   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tamarind

I had the pulp that can be purchased in blocks.

Charmaine Solomon's books says to soak a walnut sized piece of pulp in 125 ml or 1/2 c of warm water for ten minutes or so; squeeze the pulp with your fingers; and strain through cloth.  Here is the process.  I dated the bottle and it is in the fridge.  

 

While talking about ingredients there is a picture of my spice boxes.  These little things are very handy when making curries.  They seal quite well keeping the spices fresh.  I do have a stash of more of each spice sealed in vac bags for freshness.  https://www.amazon.ca/Philco-Masala-Dabba-Spice-Box/dp/B00G7S201G/ref=sr_1_16?ie=UTF8&qid=1537642590&sr=8-16&keywords=spice+boxes

 

DSC02728.thumb.jpg.23680f62ca4b19016423aa22894c69b2.jpgDSC02729.thumb.jpg.c74c9a9a7b5b1b956a13ae7eedb65c54.jpgDSC02730.thumb.jpg.aec7beef8de6adbd9de9598f670640af.jpgDSC02731.thumb.jpg.43a85ebbe3f1323424917d6e79c4af9a.jpg

Hello Okanagancook, 

Its nice to see your bottle of tamarind juice. So i have two things I would like to point out. 

A. Usually in our indian kitchens, we soak a walnut sized piece of tamarind cut from the ‘pressed block’ of tamarind pods. Lets say we have daal on the menu. Then some daal would go into a pressure cooker while the tamarind would soak in a bowl of warm water. By the time the daal has cooked and the pressure in the cooker has dropped naturally, the tamarind will have finished soaking. Then we would crush the soaked pods between our fingers and press out any pulp into the water. Once this is done over and over, you tip out all the juice and pods into a mesh. NOT a cheesecloth. But a somewhat small mesh sieve (not a very tiny mesh either). The idea is to keep all of the juice as well as the pulp. And only to strain out the pods themselves and any fibers that may have come with the pods. You crush the tamarind pods till they have lost all their fleshy pulp and are bare. 

B. The second thing I want to point out is that we do not store tamarind water in a bottle. It changes taste. So fresh daily. It also becomes very dark as it ages and will tend to make the daal dark to almost black in color. Instead, soaking and using daily tamarind juice keeps the Daal looking light and bright. 

Bhukkhad


Edited by Bhukhhad (log)
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Thank you Dhukkhad.  Makes sense to have freshly prepared tamarind spice.   And I can see how one would get much more flavour using as much of the pulp as possible.  

I think I froze the tamarind after a week in the fridge because it wasn't getting used enough.  Do you think freezing it would alter the taste?

cheers

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I’m lazy and mostly use tamarind concentrate. Having said that, we have a tamarind tree. It’s only small and in a pot, but once it gets planted out in Spring and starts producing, I guess I’ll have to use it.

3BA58397-59B5-436C-AC72-3B917564EFFB.thumb.jpeg.98e37b5231bd489db1ee4b4d24380d13.jpeg

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While I’m on a roll, this is a vegetable curry I made down at our country cottage last weekend. Similar to “what’s in the fridge” minestrone, I used whatever veggies I had (potatoes, cauliflower and tomatoes) and after cooking them with some typical Indian flavourings, added in some leftover “everyday okra” and leftover panchmael dal. This may be a mortal sin to the purists, but we really enjoyed it with raita, pickle and the easiest bread I’ve found. It’s like a cross between naan and chapatti, moist and delicious. To make 6, mix 250g flour (I use atta with a little plain flour), 2 tsps baking powder, a pinch of salt and 250 g plain yoghurt. Knead for a minute or so, divide, roll into 15 cm circles and throw onto a hot tava. Brush with ghee if you’re feeling decadent.

5AB2EF96-F593-4220-A277-24AE4B290AF2.thumb.jpeg.95ccbf22e032cb89a9cf067f4d189f5e.jpeg

 

This bread doesn’t look the best, I don’t have a proper tava at the cottage, so made do with a fry pan.

Here’s a better piece of bread.

AB7F4D3D-ACB5-40D0-B53F-5EB1A0F9F4D9.thumb.jpeg.79c76222630223846b7dc867c5ea18c3.jpeg

 

 

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5 hours ago, Okanagancook said:

Thank you Dhukkhad.  Makes sense to have freshly prepared tamarind spice.   And I can see how one would get much more flavour using as much of the pulp as possible.  

I think I froze the tamarind after a week in the fridge because it wasn't getting used enough.  Do you think freezing it would alter the taste?

cheers

Okanagancook, sorry somehow I lost the reply I’d typed. What I was trying to say was that i have not frozen imli pulp, because we always have some made fresh and you get imli in good supply. But I don’t see why it cant be frozen. 

Thanks

Bhukkhad

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25 minutes ago, sartoric said:

While I’m on a roll, this is a vegetable curry I made down at our country cottage last weekend. Similar to “what’s in the fridge” minestrone, I used whatever veggies I had (potatoes, cauliflower and tomatoes) and after cooking them with some typical Indian flavourings, added in some leftover “everyday okra” and leftover panchmael dal. This may be a mortal sin to the purists, but we really enjoyed it with raita, pickle and the easiest bread I’ve found. It’s like a cross between naan and chapatti, moist and delicious. To make 6, mix 250g flour (I use atta with a little plain flour), 2 tsps baking powder, a pinch of salt and 250 g plain yoghurt. Knead for a minute or so, divide, roll into 15 cm circles and throw onto a hot tava. Brush with ghee if you’re feeling decadent.

5AB2EF96-F593-4220-A277-24AE4B290AF2.thumb.jpeg.95ccbf22e032cb89a9cf067f4d189f5e.jpeg

 

This bread doesn’t look the best, I don’t have a proper tava at the cottage, so made do with a fry pan.

Here’s a better piece of bread.

AB7F4D3D-ACB5-40D0-B53F-5EB1A0F9F4D9.thumb.jpeg.79c76222630223846b7dc867c5ea18c3.jpeg

 

 

Very nice! 

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7 hours ago, sartoric said:

<snip>

...the easiest bread I’ve found. It’s like a cross between naan and chapatti, moist and delicious. To make 6, mix 250g flour (I use atta with a little plain flour), 2 tsps baking powder, a pinch of salt and 250 g plain yoghurt. Knead for a minute or so, divide, roll into 15 cm circles and throw onto a hot tava. Brush with ghee if you’re feeling decadent.

 

I'm sure you've described a tava elsewhere, but please refresh my memory. Is it essentially a massive flat hot surface? Would my cast-iron flat griddle do the trick? Why was your skillet only a fair substitute?

 

Thanks for the recipe. That bread looks delicious, and sounds dead easy. I want to try it. Will it puff the way pita does, or is it not supposed to? 

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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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