Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A Curry from Scratch

Chemicals, n:  Noxious substances from which modern foods are made.  ~Author Unknown

The desire NOT to eat chemicals is one of the main reasons I cook everything we eat from scratch.  Yet for a long time I was unable to find a recipe for a curry which didn't contain some curry paste, spice mix or blend which was not standard in my pantry.  Now, thanks to inspiration from a recipe of Karen Martini's my search is over.  Originally I cooked this as per Karen's recipe as it is simply so delicious.  However as eggplants increased in price I decided to try the vegetables I had on hand.  As the lamb I purchased contained more fat and gristle than our lovely lean kangaroo meat which I have spoken about previously, I now use kangaroo meat almost invariably.  Of course it may not be readily available in your part of the world so use your meat of choice or try no meat at all and add some chick peas, I usually add these also.

A Curry from Scratch

2½ teaspoons chickpea flour (besan)
600ml water
300ml plain yoghurt
2 heaped teaspoons (tsp) cumin seeds
2 heaped tsp fennel seeds
2 heaped tsp fenugreek seeds
2 tablespoons mustard seeds
2 onions, sliced, lengthways
5 garlic cloves, sliced
3 long red chillies, sliced on the angle
a thumb of fresh ginger, finely sliced
1 heaped tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground turmeric
1½ tsp chilli powder (or to taste)
2 tsp salt flakes
1kg kangaroo, beef, lamb or other meat
vegetables ie 3 potatoes, 1 sweet potato, 1 wedge of pumpkin, 3 carrots (anything you desire)
1 cup diced canned tomatoes
20 curry leaves, optional
chick peas to add bulk, optional

Tomato and Lime Chutney
4 large tomatoes, diced
juice of 2 limes
½ tsp dried chilli flakes
1 tablespoon brown sugar
3 tsp salt flakes
½ tsp celery seeds
1 large red onion finely diced
4cm piece fresh ginger, finely diced
2 tablespoons nigella seeds

1.  Put flour and water in a bowl and whisk to combine. Add yoghurt and whisk until smooth. Set aside. 
2. Heat a large pot and toss in seeds and cook for 1½ minutes or until fragrant.  Add onion, garlic, chilli and ginger with a splash of oil and cook until translucent.  Stir in spices and salt and cook for a minute or until fragrant. Add meat, then vegetables, stir for 2 minutes, reduce heat to low and cook covered, for 10 minutes. 
3. Add tomato and yoghurt mixture and bring to a simmer. Add curry leaves, then reduce heat to low and cook, half-covered, for 55 minutes or until meat is tender.  I am sure this would cook easily in a pressure cooker.  I use my Nutrimax pots for this.  They cook quickly and seal in all the good juices of the meat and veg.

To make the chutney: 
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and leave to stand at room temperature for 10 minutes. Serve curry with chutney and basmati rice.

The chutney really adds to the delicious flavours of the curry with its fresh pungent flavour yet I do not always have the necessary ingredients (ie tomatoes). I have made it with tinned tomatoes which is OK.  Sometimes I simply don't have the time to prepare it and noone complains.

Another great addition would be Julie's Breadmaker Naan.  I will certainly try this with my current batch of curry sitting in the frig to feed us for the next few meals.  This curry definitely improves with age so make it a day, or a few, ahead.

One final word.  This recipe is an absolute hit with my young girls.  Ess likes to eat the meat and rice but not the veges therein, so I cook the corn and greens for her especially.  Little Eee, now a very fussy toddler eater, has not eaten tea for weeks I swear, but devotedly devoured three or four bowls full of carrot last night (thinking it was pumpkin no matter how hard I tried to tell her how yummy the carrot was).  Prior to those "bowls-full" she had downed some kangaroo meat before I had even sat down to eat myself.  Now that is impressive.

Now over to you, let me know of your successes, or otherwise. 


David said...

I am SO hungry right now...and this did not help. :)


Cee said...

So sorry Dave!! Lucky it is nearly tea time. Hey there is heaps here if you want to pop on over! :)

This is very similar to the one I made you and Diane when you were here so I hope enjoy it one day at your house.

Sorry again! I feel the need to apologise for this photo. You will get authenticity from my house - not great food shots!!! Photographing a curry at teatime in dull light with a hungry family is not at all conducive to lovely "blogworthy" curry photographs.

Anonymous said...

This looks delicious I can't wait to try it on my brood. Judy xx

Homestay Mama said...

My homestay students love curry, so I've got to try this. It sounds wonderful!

Anonymous said...

We tried it today and it was absolutely delicious I can't wait to have some more tomorrow although our little munchkins didn't share our sentiments I will be certainly making this again and again. Judy xx

Cee said...

Thanks for coming back to say how you enjoyed it Judy!

Perhaps your little munchkins will enjoy it on second trying.

Cee xx

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