I bought when a curry for me was cream based with a teaspoon or two of curry powder. Or (and I shiver as I type this) a white sauce base with curry powder. Enough said. I know curries have been a staple of British cuisine for a long time but in Switzerland, where I grew up, the most exotic curry available was something called Riz Kasimir, which was the above. With added (sometimes tinned) fruit and chicken pieces. I will admit here (but don't tell) that it is a family favourite but I would now not dare call it a curry. I use fried bananas and pineapple slices. There was one restaurant near Bern where one could eat real Indian curries twice a week. It was high dining, white table cloth, silver cutlery and candles. But I digress. The curry I made today is simple but it does take a few minutes to get all the ingredients ready. I like to set them out in small jars (I have a dishwasher). The curry is described as originating in Chettinad and is mild and flavourful.
- First you need to make the curry paste. I do this in a small blender. You can of course use a pestle and mortar if you wish. You need one large piece of ginger (the size of a 5 year old fist), 5 garlic gloves, 2 tablespoons of coriander seeds, 2 teaspoons of cumin and fennel seeds, 1 teaspoon of turmeric, 2 teaspoons of paprika or chilly (your choice, depending on how spicy you like it). Add a few splashes of water and blend all to a smooth paste.
- Heat up 2 tablespoons of oil, add 1 teaspoon of each fennel seeds and fenugreek seeds and a cinnamon stick. Sizzle for 30 seconds, then add about 500g of finely chopped onions. Turn the heat down to gently soften and brown the onions. Then add the curry paste and gently fry for a few minutes longer. If the onion and spice mix sticks to the pan, add a splash of water. After a few minutes (more than five, less than ten), add a tin of tomatoes. You can use fresh tomatoes if you are lucky to have flavourful ones available. I would probably peel those before adding them to the sauce.
- Refill the tin with water and add to the sauce. Sometimes, more is needed. Simmer for about 30 min or until the sauce is thick and creamy.
- Add a tin of coconut milk and add your chosen chewy bits. The recipe calls for boiled eggs. I absolutely love boiled eggs and could eat a whole dozen in a day but I don't. I have used prawns instead, and also cauliflower, which I have steamed lightly before adding it to the finished sauce.
- If you want a meaty curry, adding small pieces of chicken to the nearly cooked sauce works but it turns a little grainy and the sauce separates. It might be better adding the meat together with the tomatoes. I would use chicken thighs or lamb pieces. I haven't tried that yet but I am thinking of making the lamb curry variation soon.
On an entirely different topic, I am very exited to go on a two day tapestry weaving course organised and taught by my friend Emma Jo. She is an amazing artist and I am looking forward to learning her craft. I'll take my camera and hopefully will be able to show you lots of pictures. I hope your weekend plans are nice, too!
Have a wonderful weekend wherever you are. Cx