Slow-cooked Karnataka Pork Curry

Serves: 4

This great curry is from the I Love India cookbook by Anjum Anand.

I’ve written up a few of her recipes and nothing I have cooked hasn’t been a success. It is also a beautiful cookbook.

This particular curry has a really nice depth of favour and warmth about it. It is incredibly likeable and if you had to pick a curry to fill a baguette the next day for lunch, this is definitely it.

Certainly feel free to dial up the spice and we add an additional 300gm of pork shoulder.

Otherwise, this is perfect for a lazy Sunday evening with a big bowl of rice and a bottle of red.

Ingredients

For the curry

1 tbsp roughly chopped ginger
7 large garlic cloves
1 tomato, quartered
3 tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 tsp brown mustard seeds
15 curry leaves
2 medium onions, finely chopped
1 – 3 green chillies, stalks removed, pierced with a knife
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder
500 gm pork shoulder, cut into 3cm cubes
4 tsp white wine vinegar
Handful of coriander, leaves and stalks to serve
Rice and Indian breads to serve

For the spice mix

1 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp coriander seeds
3 small cloves
5mm cinnamon stick
1 tsp fennel seeds
10 black peppercorns
Pinch of brown mustard seeds

Method

  1. Blend the ginger, garlic and tomato until fine, adding a little water to help the blades turn. Set aside.
  2. Heat the oil in a large non-stick pan over a medium heat. Add the mustard seeds and, once the popping calms down, add the curry leaves, onions and 1 – 3 green chillies (depending on how many you are using; I recommend 3). Cook until really well browned, ensuring the mixture doesn’t burn.
  3. Add the blended paste, the turmeric, salt, cumin and chilli powder and cook well until all the liquid has reduced and the remaining masala releases oil, around 10 – 12 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, dry-roast the spices for the spice blend for a minute: immediately grind to fine powder.
  5. Add the pork to the masala in the pan and brown a little in the paste. Add 3 tsp of the spice blend and the vinegar as well as a few splashes of water. Bring to the boil, then cover add simmer really slowly, stirring often and checking to see if you need to add any water.
  6. Cook for 1 – 2 hours or until the pork is really tender. Taste, adjust the seasoning adding more of the spice mix if you like, stir in the coriander and serve on rice with Indian breads.

Hyderabad baked herby chicken korma

Serves: 4

This is the second dish we have cooked from the wonderful I Love India cookbook and it really does take the otherwise dull Chicken Korma from zero to hero.

The curry is mild, though it’s aroma and creaminess, the fact it is baked… and the fact that you serve it with some thinly sliced baked potatoes make this so much fun.

Your guests will never see it coming.

Not least because you prep the whole thing the night before, pop it all into a baking dish and 45 minutes later, dinner is served.

Just make sure you brown the top and have plenty of rice to mop it all up.

Yum!

(I have varied the recipe slightly and the method reflects it: all in the name of making it slightly easier the night before.)

Ingredients

1 1/2 tbsp fresh ginger, roughly chopped
6 large garlic cloves, roughly chi
1 cup Greek yoghurt
Salt and freshly ground pepper
8 chicken thigh/breast (around 1.2kg), cut into large pieces
4 tbsp desiccated coconut
Vegetable oil
2 red onions, finely sliced
1 1/3 packed cup coriander leaves and stalks, more to serve
3/4 packed cup mint leaves
1 tbsp garam masala
2 tsp lemon juice
4 green chillis, chopped
4 tbsp light cream

Method

  1. In a blender, blend the ginger, garlic and yoghurt and 1 tsp of salt. Marinate the chicken in the yoghurt mixture for 1 hour. Meanwhile, pound the coconut in a mortar and pestle until it is powdery.
  2. Heat 4cm of oil in a small-ish saucepan over a medium heat, add the onions and fry until golden and crispy. Drain from the oil and set aside.
  3. Set aside a quarter of the onions as a garnish and place the rest in the same blender used to blend the yoghurt. Add 2tbsp of the onion cooking oil, the herb, coconut, garam masala, lemon juice and chilli. Blend until smooth. Pour over the chicken and mix well, leaving it overnight to marinate.
  4. Heat the oven to 180c and place the chicken and marinade in a large baking dish that can take the chicken in a single layer.
  5. Bake for 45 minutes ensuring that the top is golden; adjust your oven or grill to achieve this.
  6. Stir in the cream; adjust the seasoning and lemon juice to taste.
  7. Serve hot, sprinkled with the reserved onions and coriander, sliced baked potatoes and rice.

Meen Molee (Fish curry cooked in coconut)

Meen Molee (Fish curry cooked in coconut)

Serves: 2 – 3

I’ve done a few Molee and this recipe is a wonderful, rustic and rather simple fish version.

It isn’t as complex or subtle as some I have done, though it is the simplicity factor that earns the write-up; and it tastes just awesome too.

Weekday, Saturday lunch, this is a great number.

Ingredients

3 garlic cloves
3 green chillies
5cm piece of ginger, peeled
3 tbsp sunflower oil
1 small onion, finely sliced
6 curry leaves
¼ tsp ground turmeric
¼ tsp salt
200ml coconut milk
160ml boiling water
500gm firm white fish, cut into 3cm pieces
2 medium tomatoes, coarsely chopped
Basmati rice and coriander to serve

Method

  1. Place the garlic, chillies and ginger in a food processor and process until smooth.
  2. Heat the oil in a large frying pan to a medium-heat and fry the onion with the curry leaves for 4 minutes until softening. Stir in the garlic, chilli and ginger mixture together with the turmeric and salt. Fry for 2 minutes and then add half the coconut milk and the boiling water.
  3. Simmer for 2 minutes and add the fish; gently simmer for 5 – 6 minutes. Add half the tomato and remaining coconut milk and simmer for another 3 – 4 minutes.
  4. Garnish with the remaining tomato and serve on basmati rice with plenty of coriander.

Sri Lankan Chicken Curry

Sri Lankan Chicken Curry

Served: 6 – 8

This is a great – really great – curry.

Though it could have ended in tears.

We found it after a coin-toss between staying in or going out for dinner last Saturday, the appeal of the couch, cuddles and some shitty TV shows winning hands-down.

Found on my phone after a few searches and keywords, we had the ingredients, we had our PJs on and we were ready to go.

Except that the instructions were completely unaligned to the ingredients.

We almost had two sets of ingredients: those in the list of ingredients and those in the method.

Normally we would read the instructions or at least give them a glance before cooking, though we were on a phone when we chose the dish, we were still distracted, comprehending our coin-toss and besides, we cook plenty of curries.

We know the drill.

What ghee are you asking for? Marinate what fish? Who’s Fred?

So we winged it.

And the winging came up good. Great in-fact.

Determined not to lose to the madman that pulled the original monster together, we pushed on and here you have that curry.

Neither will you be a loser if you do this number.

It is just great!

Ingredients

1 stick cinnamon
1 tsp turmeric
1 tbsp garam masala
6 tbsp coriander seeds
2 tbsp cumin seeds
1 tsp fennel seeds
4 cloves
4 cardamom pods
5 dried curry leaves
2 dried red chillies
1 kg chicken thighs, cut into 3cm pieces
15 fresh curry leaves
2 tbsp freshly squeened lemon juice
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp garlic, minced
Salt and freshly cracked pepper
1 tsp chilli powder
3 tbsp vegetable oil
2 onions, sliced
2 tbsp tomato paste
240ml coconut milk
1 tsp brown sugar
Yoghurt and coriander to serve

Method

  1. Heat your salamander to high and peel your prawns. (Monster).
  2. Heat all the spices in a dry pan for 1 – 2 minutes until aromatic. Place in a grinder and grind to a fine powder.
  3. Fry the oil in a large saucepan of a medium heat and add the fresh curry leaves and fry for 1 minute. Add the onions and cook for 4 – 5 minutes until slightly browned and soft.
  4. Add the chicken pieces and cook for 5 minutes and add the spice powder, tomato paste and 250ml of warm water. Mix well and cover, cooking for 45 minutes on a low heat, stirring occasionally.
  5. Stir in the coconut milk, bring to the boil and then reduce the heat and cook for a further 15 minutes or until you have a thickened gravy. Add the sugar and salt for taste.
  6. Serve with coriander and a dollop of yoghurt.
  7. Turn off the salamander.

Potato Pallya

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Potato Pallya, about to be folded into a dosai!

Potato Pallya

Serves: 4 – 8 dosai

Lordy, this is a seriously fine dosai filling.

In fact, it is as good as I have had at any restaurant.

The trick is to ensure that the final product is not too oily. If anything is going to kill the delicate shell of your dosai, it is oil.

Otherwise, be as adventurous with the spices as you want with this recipe. Make it sing with flavour, smoke, spice and flavour. And don’t worry that the lentils will be crunchy… that is half the fun.

Boom!

Ingredients

1 tbsp vegetable oil
½ tsp black mustard seeds
½ tbsp split chickpea lentils
½ tbsp split black lentils
1 – 2 dry chillis, torn
¼ tsp Asafoetida powder*
¼ turmeric powder
1 sprig fresh curry leaves
Half an onion, sliced
Salt to taste
250gm potatoes, boiled, peeled and roughly mashed
¼ bunch fresh coriander leaves, chopped

Method

  1. Heat oil in a saucepan. Add the black mustard seeds and allow to splutter.
  2. Add both the lentils and cook on a medium heat, stirring constantly until the lentils turn a light golden in colour.
  3. Add the chillis and the asafoetida powder and cook for a few moments.
  4. Add the turmeric and the curry leaves and cook for a few moments.
  5. Add the onions and salt and cook until the onions turn translucent. Add the mashed potatoes and mix well.
  6. Cook on a medium heat for a few minutes, checking the seasoning.
  7. Garnish with fresh coriander leaves.
  8. Use as the filling of a dosai. Or just eat it because it is seriously that good!

* I know, I had only heard of this once and I didn’t know what it was. Like turmeric which is really only used to enhance colour (and flavour), so too is Asafoetida powder. Though more so to reduce flatulence as far as I can tell. If you can get it, awesome, if not, not to worry.

Dosai

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Nat skillfully folding a dosai. With the hands of Fred Flintstone, it was suggested I photograph. A good suggestion.

Dosai

Serves: As many as you need

If you haven’t had dosai, you’re missing out on one of the better Southern Indian delicacies.

If you have had dosai, you’ll know what I mean.

A wonderful, thin, crispy pancake with a glorious, soft, spiced filling of potato, mince or vegetables; the contrast of the incredibly light, incredibly thin, crunchy pancake against a wonderful filling is just awesome.

So much so, that learning how to cook them was on my cooking bucket list.

And two weeks ago, I ticked that box!

The batter itself is easy enough to prepare. The real trick is in making the dosai pancake, because unlike a Sunday-morning pancake, you need to spread out the dosai batter by hand as opposed to a breakfast pancake that does all the spreading for you.

The more you spread, the thinner the dosai, the better the dosai.

Oh, and the spread needs to be circular. Our boys might eat the strangely shaped pancakes we serve them on weekends, though dosais are about having a round, dinner-plate sized disc.

To do this, pour a ladle of the batter in the middle of the heated, dry pan.

You then spread the batter evenly in concentric circles until it reaches the edges of the griddle. Something with a small, flat-bottom will do this job just fine.

Your first few attempts will leave you with dosai far too small, thick in parts and with tears and holes, though you’ll get the knick of it.

And the batter lasts for 6-months, so you’ll have plenty of time.

It might seem an effort, though once you get the handle of it, you’ll be the master of one of the finer foods you can cook from Southern India. And seriously, the contrast in textures, is to die for.

Ingredients

3 parts fine to medium rice flour
1 part split black lentil flour
Water for the batter
Salt to taste
Vegetable oil or ghee to pan-fry the dosai

Method

  1. Mix the rice and lentil flours with just enough cold water to form a thick, fine paste. Don’t mix too heavily as the lumps will disappear overnight.
  2. Add salt to taste and leave the batter in a warm place overnight to ferment
  3. Mix the batter thoroughly the next morning.
  4. Heat the pan until it is hot; if you can hold your hand for 10 seconds around 4cm from the top of the pan, you’re at the right temperature.
  5. Pour a ladle of the batter in the center of the pan and spread evenly in concentric circles till it reaches the edges of the pan.
  6. Drizzle a small amount of the oil or ghee on the pancake to baste. Cook on a medium heat until the dosai is golden brown.
  7. Place the filling of your choice in center of the dosai and roll or fold the dosai as desired.
  8. Serve hot with fresh (coconut) chutney and sambhar.

(Not) Butter chicken

(Not) Butter chicken

Serves: 4

The last ‘generic’ curry I I typed up, I commented that I had always steered clear of the Indian take-away favourites – Rogan Josh, Tikka Masala, Butter Chicken – because, well, they’re the sold-out, hardly Indian curries. 

In fact, butter chicken was the worst of the lot.

Often a flavourless, nuclear yellow/orange goop, I literally only entertain it because the boys will eat it: validation that it must be bland. (Sorry boys).

So by typing this up, you must have guessed it.

This is a seriously good curry. A seriously good, rich, flavoursome, moorish butter chicken, so much so, that you’d say it isn’t butter chicken.

So maybe after-all I haven’t cooked butter chicken.

Either way, you will love it. Just tell them it’s not butter chicken.

Ingredients

1 kg chicken thighs
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tbsp oil
2 tbsp butter
1 onion, finely chopped
2 bsp grated fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic, crushed
3 stems, curry leaves
1 red chilli, chopped including seeds
1 tbsp garam masala
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 x 400gm can crushed tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato puree
165ml coconut cream
1 tsp golden syrup
½ concentrated chicken stock cube

Method

  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat.
  2. Season the chicken thighs well and add to the pan; cook until golden brown. Set aside.
  3. Add the butter to the pan and when heated, add the onion and cook cover a medium heat until softened. Add the ginger and garlic and cook for 2 minutes.
  4. Reduce the heat to low and add the curry leaves, chilli and spices and cook for a few minutes until fragrant. Add the tomatoes, tomato puree and coconut cream; add the golden syrup and stock cube and stir to dissolve.
  5. Return the chicken and cook on a low heat for at least an hour; several more if you have the time.
  6. Check the seasoning and serve garnished with the fresh coriander and steamed white rice.