Sunday, January 16, 2011

Curry According to Al

First, my girls are safely in Sydney and will hopefully complete the final leg of their trip home tomorrow. To give you a perspective of how far from here Queensland is, it's two long days or three comfortable days driving. And the girls have paused a few times on their way.

Tonight I am going to present something totally different to my usual fare (pardon the pun).
Quite some time ago I talked about the curries I cook. A couple of people expressed an interest in the recipe. I am cooking curry tonight so I thought I’d bring you along for the ride.
I have written out a rather long winded recipe and taken a few very bad photos as I have progressed to go with my descriptions. It is surprisingly hard to cook and take photos at the same time.
I would say this is not a curry in any particular tradition, rather it is something like the dishes my Indian Granny used to cook. I’ve modified it a bit for ease and to suit local ingredients (the spices are much easier to get here in Oz than they once were).

Curry According to Al.
1 kg (2lb) Cubed meat
2 Large onions chopped
6 – 8 crushed cloves of garlic
1 – 2 inch piece of fresh ginger peeled and grated
4 teaspoons whole coriander seeds
4 teaspoons whole cumin seeds
4 teaspoons of ground turmeric
Ground Cayenne chilli or equivalent
2 cinnamon sticks
12 whole black peppercorns
10 whole cardamom pods
6 whole cloves
Salt to taste
8 tablespoons of plain (natural) yoghurt (alternately a tin of light coconut milk)
8-10 tablespoons good quality cooking oil (I use olive oil which is not at all authentic but any good oil will work)
1 tin diced tomatoes (you can use fresh if you wish)

First a word about the meat: I usually use lamb or beef, but goat or kangaroo both work well. In fact goat meat is my favourite for this dish but I have to go out of my way to get it.
You could use chicken, but I would dial the spices back a little (except the chilli).

Grind the coriander and cumin seeds. I usually use a mortar and pestle which takes a bit of time (you can use a coffee grinder but don’t expect your coffee to taste right again).

If you have never ground coriander seed take a moment to enjoy the fresh lemony scent when they are cracked, it is simply heavenly. You can substitute pre-ground spices but I would not recommend them. Pre-ground spices very quickly lose much of their flavour and smell. Fresh is best.

Combine with the turmeric and chilli.
With the chilli the trick is to make the amount to suit you palate. If you are a total chilli-wimp half a teaspoon would suit.If I am feeding curry novices I would usually add around a teaspoon of chilli. If you like chilli and are used to hot food two, or three teaspoons would be fine. However I would see this as a fairly mild curry so I wouldn’t go overboard.
To the ground spices add the whole cinnamon sticks, peppercorns, cardamom pods and cloves (you can chuck in a couple of bay leaves as well if you wish).Set this spice mix aside.

Heat the oil in a large heavy pot that you can cover with a lid (DO NOT use a non-stick pan).
Keep the heat high - add the onions and begin to fry.As the onions begin to soften and change colour chuck in the spice mix.
Stir them on a high heat for maybe 60 seconds. Don’t worry if they stick to the pan that is pretty much what you want. Throw in the garlic and ginger and continue to stir.

About this time you will “think this is a real mess”.
Don’t worry, it is meant to be sticky, even caked on to the pan. It should smell really good as the heat activates the spices.

Keeping the heat high, add the meat. Keep it turning as you brown it.
Then as the juices start to come out of the meat use them to help scrape gunk off the pan (I use a heavy wood or bamboo spoon for this).The above piccie shows just how gunky the pan will get

By the time the meat is browned you should have the bulk of the spices scraped off the pan.Add the tomatoes and stir well, keep the heat high until they are well mixed.

Turn the heat down and stir in the yoghurt, one tablespoon at a time.
Alternatively you can use coconut milk. Yoghurt is nicer coconut milk is a bit quicker.

Now add some water (about a cup). If you have used coconut milk you will need less water.
Turn the heat back up slightly and bring the pot to a boil. Then turn it right down to a gentle simmer and cover.
Cook for at least an hour (until the meat is tender), stirring the pot well every ten minutes or so. The longer you cook the meat the more the flavours will infuse the meat. Some people will cook a curry for over 20 hours! I usually cook this dish for between 1 and 2 hours.

When the meat is tender remove the lid and turn up the heat to reduce the mixture a little until the sauce is somewhat thickened.
Add salt to taste and stir in.

Remove from heat and serve with rice.

A word about rice. An Indian style curry should be served with long-grain rice like Basmati.
Add the rice to rapidly boiling water and stir back to the boil.
Rice should not be overcooked 10 – 15 minutes at the boil will usually be heaps. As it gets close keep tasting it until it is just tender.
Then drain and serve, the rice should be light and fluffy and not at all sticky.

So there you go. Curry according to Al.
Hopefully my Indian readers aren’t laughing too hard.


Charmaine Clancy said...

I'm printing this one!
LOVE curry.

Vicki Rocho said...

I have never had curry. In fact, other than knowing it can be very spicy I had no idea what actually went in it. That actually looks kinda good! I've learned something today!

Old Kitty said...

I'm so glad and relieved to hear your girls are on their way home!! Brilliant news!!

Oh I love love love curries!!!! Thanks for this - I'm a veggie and enjoy my veggie curries with rice!! I love your easy to follow steps with pics!!!

Enjoy! Take care

Hannah Kincade said...

I love curry but have never tried to make it myself! Thanks for the recipe! I'm bookmarking this! Thanks!!

The Words Crafter said...

Really glad to hear about your daughters!

I think you did a great job with the photos, btw!

Myrna Foster said...

That looks delicious. Thanks for sharing your curry, Al!

Jemi Fraser said...

Glad the girls are doing well still!

I've actually never tried curry - but I've bookmarked this post! :)

Kathleen Jones said...

This is proper curry Al - I was taught how to do it in the middle east. Sometimes they add a teaspoon of fenugreek (works well with chicken or lamb). I love the sambals they do with it too - particularly one where you chop up tomatoes, onions and cucumber very finely with a few sprigs of fresh coriander. Yum!!

Hart Johnson said...

Man that looks good... I am not usually the cook at my house, but I am going to copy this off and see if hubby wants to try it, or maybe I will give it a go next time I have one of my rare turns.

Elizabeth Mueller said...

Ooh, yummmm! Thank you for sharing this recipe. I know it took a LONG time to write and post the photos. I really appreciate this.

Thank you for visiting my blog!!!

~Elizabeth :)

Al said...

Hi Charmaine,
This is a nice one that isn’t toooo much effort. I hope you enjoy it.

Hi Vicki,
Curry like this is a feast for the senses it smells sooo good. If you aren’t used to chilli and want to have a go follow the recipe but keep the chill very low.

Hi Jennifer,
It is a relief I tell you that they are ok.
You could use the basic spices in this curry with veggies. They are pretty ‘stock standard’ and will work with almost anything.

Hi Hannah,
It isn’t hard to cook, but you do have to have a bit of time in the kitchen. I usually cook curry on an evening when I have nothing else on. Give it a go you’ll have fun.

Hi Words,
Thank you and thank you!

Hi Myrna,
Thank you, and you are most welcome!

Hi Jemi,
Good curry is really nice. It hasn’t become the national dish of England for nothing ;- )

Hi Kathleen,
Sounds yum. I love sambals too, but being a little further north and west in extraction I am more likely to have a tamarind or mango chutney with my curry. What I do some times when I have enough energy is make chapattis to go with the curry and rice, not much work but you have to have another hot pan on the go at the same time. But it is all yummy!

Hi Hart,
Haha, you have your hubby as well trained as I am!
It is yummmm give it a try.

Hi Elizabeth,
You are most welcome. It did take an absurd amount of time to write. Especially as I have never written a recipe before!
I do pop by your blog fairly regularly, even if I don’t always comment.

Kristen M. said...

I'm so glad you finally wrote this up! My grandma's curry that I make is definitely far more mild than yours. I worried the first time I saw those spices cooking on to the bottom of the pan but it definitely does add to the flavor! I'll try and work up my courage and make your spicy curry.