My first curry (that actually resembled a curry)
Ok, I lie…I have indeed made curries that resemble curries in the sense that they look and smell like a curry…but they’ve tasted less than what I’d call a curry. Before you assume that I’ve reached curry nirvana already, let me assure you that I haven’t made anything “genuinely” Indian. That’s right – I’m not like those pretty frozen meal packets, which promise all sorts of ridiculous nonsense – I promise you only these things about this curry:
1. It ain’t difficult (well…I made it, after all. I’d say if you can boil pasta, you can probably get this to be pretty good).
2. The whole thing is cooked in ONE pot/pan, and because it’s got potatoes, you can eat it all in one bowl, without the need for making rice, getting naan, or any of that finicky business. Goodness gracious, isn’t enough you made curry from scratch already?! Yes. Thank you. Also, the person doing dishes will thank you for this.
3. It actually tastes like a curry (and the texture resembles one too – the thick and chunky kind anyway). See, I do actually decide not to post things that aren’t good, just so you know. This one is quite thick and is very vegetable-dense, ie…it’s not soupy with floaty bits like most of the curry you’ll get for takeout (not that there’s anything wrong with that). I did this to make it more of a complete meal (see promise #2), but if you want you can halve the amount of veges and you’ll get the floaty effect.
4. It is not as expensive or complicated as you think. Invest in some of the spices, ensure you have some of the canned stuff in the pantry, and a curry will never be far away. I’ve tried to make it as versatile as possible, and unscary as possible. Some of the spices may look expensive, but remember: they will last you more than one curry! I reccommend asian supermarkets (even the non-indian ones) or Piko wholefoods in Christchurch for inexpensive yet quality herbs and spices (particularly Piko for the non-ground versions and for really fresh stuff).
5. You will enjoy making it. There’s something about using all the spices on their own that makes you feel all grown up.
I’m going to be specific about the recipe, but that doesn’t mean it’s non-changeable or actually complicated. Before I descend into it, thanks to My Feasts for the basic recipe and inspiration. I toned down the spiciness of it, but even so I find it tests my tastebuds!
Bean and vegetable curry
serves two on it’s own, or 4 as a side with rice and or naan
(stage 1) Prepare the following in a large cold saucepan or deep medium frypan:
1-2 Tbs cooking oil
1 medium/large onion, minced (chopped very very finely)
1/2 tsp ground ginger (or fresh minced ginger)
4 cloves garlic, smashed and chopped very finely
veges: 3 small/medium potatoes, cubed into 1.5cm or smaller cubes, plus some string beans, snapped into 1 inch lengths, and possibly a green pepper, chopped into 1″ squares. See vege guide at the bottom of the recipe.
(stage 2) Prepare the following in the can (or a bowl if using fresh tomatoes) once opened:
1 can chopped tomatoes (or get whole and chop em yourself), or 2 medium chopped fresh tomatoes
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp curry powder (increase or replace with chilli or cayenne if you want it really spicy)
(stage 3) Prepare the following in a medium sized bowl:
1c or 1 can drained cooked red kidney beans (or any other bean you like, really)
1c (250g) plain yogurt (use only all natural, Clearwater organic stuff is nice and mild – perfect), or sour cream, or cream if you’re not looking for a really thick curry.
2 tsp garam masala
Make sure you have everything prepared before you start.
Heat the pan with your veges in on medium heat, and stir everything in the pan constantly to prevent sticking. You can add splashes of water to prevent sticking to the pan, but try to avoid this as much as you can – for example, you can leave things to stick as long as the stuff stuck to the pan doesn’t pass the golden brown stage. Cook and stir (you can cover the pan to make things cook quicker, just remember to stir and unstick at least every minute) until the onions start turning light golden.
Add stage 2 ingredients, and do the same as above – stir, monitor to ensure sticking doesn’t turn to burning, and cover in between. You can add water (rinse out your can and use those juices to get maximum flavour) to make it less prone to sticking, but you still need to monitor. Let everything cook until your potatoes are almost cooked – they should still be sort of firm but resemble a cooked potato in texture.
Add stage 3 ingredients and quick cooking veges, stir well (as above), and bring to a simmer. Continue stirring and simmering (covered or not…you control to determine how watery/thick it is) for about 5 -10 minutes to cook the veges. Once they are cooked (the best way to determine this is to just try one), adjust seasonings (in particular salt levels), and remove from heat.
Serve in bowls, and enjoy!
I’m only going to cover veges I think would actually taste good in this particular curry, but feel free to wander beyond the borders of this guide.
Potatoes – slow cooking, add at stage 1. Dice into 1.5cm cubes or smaller
String beans – medium cooking, add at stage 2 for soft beans and stage 3 for a just cooked quality. Snap into 1 inch lengths
Carrots – slow cooking, add at stage 1. Cut into thick matchsticks (just under 1cm thick)
Cauliflower – slow/medium cooking, add at stage 2. Cut into florets about 2cm wide
Peas – fast cooking, add after stage 3 if cooked (then they only need 2 mins in the pan), or at stage 3 if frozen
Tofu – add at stage 3, dice into whatever size you like
Button mushrooms – fast cooking, add at stage 3, whole if small, halved if more than 1″ wide
Green Pepper – fast cooking, add at stage 3, chopped into 1″ squares
Corn – fast cooking, add after stage 3 if cooked (then they only need 2 mins in the pan), or at stage 3 if frozen
Aubergine/Eggplant – slow cooking,add at stage 1, dice into 3cm cubes