So my little excursion at the Indian restaurant got me all excited to cook one of the things I like the most: a curry.
Being in lent season of course I had to draw a little inspiration from what I had at the restaurant; I always used to resort to mushrooms as my favorite mean substitute.. however, when I had the potato plate at the restaurant I was mesmerized.
A few years back, my friend Rania trusted me with her go-to curry recipe… she used to make tons of chicken curry and feed a whole crowd at work just out of sheer love for cooking.
When she shared her recipe, I tried it as is and it did not yield the same result.. it came out good but it was quite not the same. So I started tweaking it a little and adding my touches.
Later on I was watching an old episode of Madhur Jeffery’s cooking show (one of them, can’t remember the name) and it had an episode showing home cooks from Punjab cooking their mothers’ recipes. That is where I learned a new technique that renders the curry so flavorful and radiant with layers of flavors.
So without further due, here’s my recipe:
- 7 potatoes (medium sized)
- 5 carrots (medium sized )
- 1 bell pepper
- 1 medium onion
- 1 can of coconut cream
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp ginger
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 cardamom pods
- 1 – 2 tbsp curry powder
- 1 tsp minced garlic (1 clove app.)
- 1/2 – 1 cup boiling water
- 1-2 tbsp neutral vegetable oil
Step one: cooking the potatoes
cut the potatoes and carrots into bite sized pieces and simmer them over a medium heat for around 15 minutes until they are fork tender, but not too soft
while this is happening, move on to the next step.
Step two: the curry base:
Here’s where the whole technique happens.
First, start by toasting the very finely chopped onion and all the spices except for the curry powder.
use a little salt too to extract all the water from the onion and cook it off.
Once the mixture is quite toasted, add some boiling water
I tried to catch this picture in action, so as to show you exactly what you should be looking for.
Once a paste is achieved, you let it dry out again, stirring every now and then
Dry the mixture out and add water again. You will keep doing this at least three times: wet the mixture until it’s pasty, toast it off until it’s dry. This is what extracts all the flavor out from the spices.
With the last time, add the fresh garlic. The reason why we add it now and not earlier on in the recipe is that we don’t want it to toast too much and actually burn, otherwise it will infuse a very bitter taste all into the recipe. No good.
Now, remove the bay leaves and cardamom pods
Look at those: very bright green.. they have sort of come to life because of the extraction procedure.
Step three: add the veggies:
the veggies go in gradually. First, add in the diced bell pepper, so as to fry it up a little
Once done, add the boiled and strained vegetables:
stirr them very well in the mixture to make sure it gets absorbed by the potatoes.
Now add the coconut cream with a little water and let simmer on low for 20 minutes
once it has reduced enough to your liking, add the curry powder and give it a very good stir in.
Let it boil for a few minutes, serve and enjoy with a side of plain white basmati rice.