I do apologise for not putting up any new recipes for a while, but I have to confess to an over-indulgence in sensible indulgences on New Year's Eve and ... you guessed it ... there was an incident. I will spare you the details, but the result of these shenanigans left me with a bruised coccyx! Brutal pain!
So, we've been eating simple, easy to make food (all good paleo food, don't think a busted tailbone would turn me neolithic) which is not all that inspiring; let alone wanting to photograph it.
But here we are ... 2012!
Will the world end? I don't think so - I seem to recall a fleeting glimpse of 2015 in 'Back to the Future', so we know we get through this year.
First post of the year, and what better than curry?
I love curry! I don't care what's in it, so long as it is meat, fish, shellfish, vegetables and fat, good fat: ghee. Many restaurants are turning to "healthy" oils and there's even one restaurant here in Bradford which does not use any fat or oil at all!
From Goan Fish to Mussel Masala to the heady concoctions from Kashmir, curry is King!
My hometown of Bradford has a sizeable Pakistani population and a notable Kashmiri population. The tastes that I've picked up in forty years of eating curry inspired by the tastes of these countries gives me a rather specific spice blend which might or might not be authentic and might not even look anything like a traditional curry blend, but it's mine and I like it.
Here it is ...
4 cloves of garlic
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 tablespoon Indian black salt
1 onion, caramelised in ghee
Squirt of tomato puree
Inch square of ginger
To caramelise an onion, drop some ghee into a pan, sprinkle the powdered spices over and fry on high for a short while - less than a minute, but more than a few seconds.
Shred an onion and toss it in the ghee and spices. Set the heat down low and let the sugars in the onion darken in the ghee. Ghee has a good smoke point, so can tolerate harsh frying later on, but in this case it's slow and steady - this can take half an hour, or so.
Blend the onions together with the garlic, ginger and chillies. Add a squirt of tomato puree.
Okay, we've got the curry paste ready, let's look at the meat ...
I understand that the Pakistani, Kashmiri and Northern Indian method is to simply drop the raw meat into the paste and let it cook. I have tried this method and it comes out well. In fact, Chef Rick Stein was introduced to this very method at the Karachi here in Bradford.
It comes out as well as any other method, like pre-marinating or browning off.
I like to brown off meat, especially chicken or turkey.
Here, I'm using turkey - a couple of pounds of turkey meat in strips that I've diced. Turkey has a really good meaty texture and here in the UK, we tend to only see it at Christmas, but it is getting more popular as a lower fat alternative meat.
Lower fat? Come on ... man up! You're paleo! Think on ... we're using ghee here ...
In a sauté pan, drop some ghee in, let is soften and drop the turkey meat in. Just colour the meat and then pour the curry paste in. Add some water. Lid on ... done!
Actually, one thing I do like to drop into the cooking at this point is a good couple of tablespoon of dried methi - that's fenugreek leaves.
Let it simmer for a good hour, topping up water when necessary. The paste might look a little anaemic due to the blending, but it will colour back to a nice deep red/brown as it cooks.
This is a basic curry.
You've seen all those exotic descriptions on menus like Korma, Rogan Josh, Jalfrezi, Dopiaza and so on. This basic curry can be made into all these with the inclusion of a few ingredients at the end of the cooking.
Korma - add cream and coconut milk
Dahi - add yoghurt curd
Rogan Josh - add more tomato
Jalfrezi - add some chopped peppers (capsicum)
Dopiaza - fry off some more onion and sprinkle over when serving
You get the picture ...
Once cooked, I like to let the curry sit, cool and then fry to serve. More ghee, spoons of curry and any of these ideas above can be implemented at this point.
Actually, this curry got a few things added. I had some red and yellow pepper sitting in the fridge, so they went in, I also had a pan of poaching liquor from a large salmon joint so the carrots and onion from that went in, too. Kind of a sweet jalfrezi?
I made a lot of this, so one meal was served over white rice and the rest, I ate for breakfast with some shredded chicory. White rice? Yup! I'm happy with it. Cauliflower rice would do just as well, or some greens like tenderstem broccoli, shredded cabbage, anything, really ... curry is awesome with anything.