Monday, October 15, 2012

A Couple of Curries

I know, I know. I'm SORRY for the time lapse since my last post! I've been working on more variety to all the essential basics that I've already posted on this blog, and just haven't found the time to plug it all in to share. Thank you for continuing to tune in, despite my absence! 
Since my first basic curry recipe, I've been working on a few variations and flavors. In supermarkets, you can buy ready-made cubes of roux, curry pastes or powders. But these, as well as some prepared curries are very salty and dehydrating. So here are two recipes: one from India, and one from Japan, made from scratch (of course!). Let me know what you think! 

Chicken Tikka Masala

8 boneless free-range chicken thighs, cut into strips

6 Tbsp  plain yoghurt
Juice of ½ lime
1 Tbsp fresh grated ginger
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp paprika (most places use the bright red kind, but it doesn’t matter)
1 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp garam masala
1 tsp sea salt
2 Tbsp gluten-free flour of choice

• Mix the marinade ingredients together well. Add chicken, cover, refrigerate and marinate overnight.

4 Tbsp plain yoghurt
1 Tbsp tomato puree
2-4 Tbsp fresh cilantro/coriander leaves, finely chopped
1 Tbsp paprika
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp ground cumin
¼ tsp turmeric
¼ tsp cayenne pepper (more if you like it spicy!)
¼ tsp sea salt
5 cardamom pods (optional)
5 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion, grated
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp ginger, grated
1 tomato, finely chopped
½ cup water
  • In a small bowl, combine the yoghurt, tomato puree, cilantro, spices and salt. Set aside.
  • Next, in a large stockpot that will hold everything, heat the 2 Tbsp oil and sauté the onion, garlic, ginger and tomato for 5 minutes or until the onion is soft. Remove from pan and let cool.
  • Add remaining oil to the pot. Remove the chicken pieces from the marinade, and sauté for 8-10 minutes, turning over a few times to make sure all surfaces are lightly cooked. Scoop this out and add a splash of water to scrape all the bits that may have stuck to the bottom of the pot.
  • Return the onion mixture and the chicken to the pot. Add the spiced yoghurt, stirring to disperse and coat the meat. Pour in the rest of the water, combine and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for 20-30 minutes.
Variation: I also added a few handfuls of vegetables to the curry – mini eggplant, okra and sweet potato. 

Japanese Curry Sauce(カレーソース karē sōsu)
We have this with breaded
pork or chicken, and vegetables
on the side 

A popular Japanese meal is Katsu Curry – breaded pork cutlet and  mound of rice, served with a dark curry sauce. So this is really all about the sauce, which is thick and mild and has a lot of depth. From adding chocolate to coffee, anything goes to develop the flavor. Here is  my adaptation of everything that my Japanese friends have shared with me. (Thank you!)
1 small onion
½  apple, peeled and cored
1 clove of garlic
a handful of cherry tomatoes
3 Tbsp olive oil, divided
3 Tbsp gluten-free flour of choice
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp sea salt.
1¼ cup water
2 Tbsp honey
2 Tbsp low-sodium tamari
1 Tbsp tomato paste
2 Tbsp 100% coca or cacao powder
  • Roughly chop the onion, apple, garlic and tomatoes.
  • In a small saucepan with 1 Tbsp olive oil, saute this mixture for 5 minutes until soft. Scoop out and set aside. NOTE: You can blend this using and immersion blender with half of the water, or, blend the sauce at the of cooking for a smooth consistency.
  • Next, in the same saucepan, add the remaining oil and flour together, stirring to make a paste. Gently fry in the spices and salt. Add a splash of water first, stirring continuously to transform the paste into a smooth liquid. Gradually add the rest of the water while stirring.
  • Return the cooked onion-garlic-tomato mix back into pot.
  • Add the honey, tamari, tomato paste and cocoa powder.
  • Easy, but full of additives...
  • Bring to a boil and simmer for about half an hour. 
The trick to many curries (especially in Indian restaurants!) is to make the sauce and the contents of the curry separately so that everything is cooked perfectly. The sauce needs time to simmer and maintain the right consistency, while vegetables need to be "just right" so that they aren't too soggy. 

For a great vegetable curry, choose from the colors of the rainbow: 

Orange – Carrots, Sweet potatoes 
White – Cauliflower
Green – Broccoli, zucchini, snowpeas, peas, shelled edamame
Yellow – Summer squash, butternut squash 
Purple – Potatoes or sweet potatoes
Red – Cherry tomatoes

Steam or blanch them in a large pot. Start with the vegetables that take longer to cook, like carrots, squash, potatoes and sweet potatoes boil or steam for 5-8 minutes. Then add the cauliflower, zucchini or summer squash for a further 2-4 minutes. Finally the broccoli, snowpeas, peas or shelled edamame for another minute or so. Drain and set aside. You can either incorporate this into the sauce just before serving, or keep the sauce on the side, so everyone can serve themselves. 

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