Advertisements

Tag Archives: Curry

Indian style Borlotti beans curry (with Dhansak masala)

Indian cuisine has the most delicious recipes when it comes to pulses (all kinds including lentils, legumes, dried beans etc…)

This category of ingredients is a staple in almost every household of India, and hence there are zillions of recipes too. The preparation style varies from region to region and sometimes, for the same pulse, there will be different recipes. So that’s a lot of variety!

Today’s dish, an Indian style beans curry is one I prepare regularly. But it’s the first time I am using Borlotti beans for this recipe.

Dried borlotti beans are very commonly used in Italian and Portuguese cuisine. It is also referred to as cranberry beans in US and other countries. Since Italian cuisine is very popular in Melbourne, it’s very easy to find borlotti beans in any supermarket and also in delis.

Usually I prepare this curry using red kidney beans, chickpeas, black eyed peas etc…. but recently tried it with the borlotti beans and the result was a really delicious, hearty and comforting curry. And it’s the kind of dish that most of us crave in winter. Pair it with some steamed rice, Naan or any Indian bread and you have a lipsmacking meal for the family.

Now looking at the photographs, most Indians would think that this dish looks exactly like Rajma masala. Rajma or red kidney beans is very popular in North India especially in Delhi and surrounding regions and a staple meal in most households is Rajma Chawal (red kidney bean curry served over rice). It’s that kind of rustic, everyday dish that reminds most people of home or their mother’s cooking.

Even though this dish looks similar in colour, texture and consistency, the flavours are slightly different because borlotti beans have a slightly different texture to red kidney beans. And also this beans curry is prepared using Dhansak masala, a spice blend that’s traditionally used to prepare a Parsi style mutton curry called Dhansak. It’s such a flavourful blend and quite a versatile one that I love using it in different kinds of curries. Remember the lamb curry with haricot beans that I had posted a while ago, an offbeat adaptation of Dhansak that I made using the same spice blend.

As mentioned earlier, this is a curry I make often with different types of dried beans and pulses but it’s one that you can extend to meats and other veggies too (potatoes would work brilliantly in a curry like this).

Soaking the borlotti beans overnight is always advisable as it helps reduce the cooking time drastically especially if you need a quick dinner after a long working day. You may also use a pressure cooker or instant pot for preparing this dish, both of which will fasten the cooking time.

So let’s get onto the recipe for this delicious Indian style Borlotti beans curry. And if you try it out, do let me know your feedback…

Ingredients:

  1. 1 ½ cups dried borlotti beans (soaked overnight)
  2. 3-4 tbsp vegetable oil
  3. 2 dried bay leaf
  4. 2 dried red chillies
  5. 3 garlic cloves; grated
  6. 1 inch ginger; grated
  7. 2 onions; finely chopped
  8. 2 medium ripe red tomatoes; finely chopped
  9. 1 tsp tomato paste
  10. ½ tsp turmeric powder
  11. 1 tsp red chilli powder
  12. ½ tsp Kashmiri red chilli powder
  13. 2 tsp coriander powder
  14. 1 tsp Dhansak masala
  15. Salt, to season
  16. ¼ tsp raw sugar
  17. ¼ cup milk
  18. 3 tbsp fresh coriander leaves; finely chopped
  19. 2 tbsp plain yoghurt; to serve
  20. Lemon wedges; to serve

Note – Dhansak masala recipe can be found here.

Method:

  1. Soak the dried beans overnight; wash well the next day and drain.
  2. In a large, heavy bottom pot, heat oil to medium and add the dried bay leaf and red chillies. Then add the grated garlic and ginger; sauté for a few seconds till the rawness of the aromatics goes away (take care not to burn).
  3. Add the onions and sauté till softened and takes on a light brown colour.
  4. Next add the chopped tomatoes and continue to sauté till the tomatoes break down and the whole mixture turns slightly mushy.
  5. Add the tomato paste and mix well to combine.
  6. Next add all the spice powders, sugar and season with salt. Mix well to combine and sauté on low heat till the whole masala comes together and oil starts to leave the sides.
  7. Add the drained beans and mix well to combine and add 2 cups water. Cook till the beans are done (the beans must be slightly mushy yet have a bite).
  8. Taste and season accordingly. Add ¼ cup milk and mix well to combine.
  9. Serve with lemon wedges and yoghurt drizzled on top.

Advertisements

Lamb Curry with Haricot Beans

As I had mentioned on my FB page a few days ago, we were crazy busy the whole of last week shifting homes. Things are still a little crazy even now as we are yet to settle down in the new home, in the process of opening out the boxes, arranging, rearranging and all of that jazz.

While the packing part is stressful and not enjoyable at all, I really enjoy the unpacking phase in the new home. I love decorating and doing up my home interiors, so it’s like having a whole new palette to play with.

Since I knew that there is not much cooking that will be happening over the next couple of days, I decided to test and shoot some recipes beforehand (the first time I have actually planned out my work ahead of time). Usually it’s always spontaneous but this year, I have been really working on my time management skills which are great when you have a home based business.

One of the dishes that I had tested out was this delicious Lamb curry with Haricot beans.

Pairing lamb or goat curry with lentils, vegetables etc… are quite common in Indian cuisine. And a great example of that would be Dhansak, a much revered mutton preparation amongst the Parsi Zoroastrian community. A fusion dish that combines elements of Persian cuisine and Gujarati cuisine, Dhansak has come to symbolize the essence of Parsi cuisine.

Not an adaptation, but this lamb curry with haricot beans was definitely inspired by Dhansak; firstly for the lamb and pulses combination and secondly because of the use of Dhansak masala, a really flavourful aromatic spice blend that makes this lamb curry absolutely spectacular.

Lamb Curry with Haricot Beans - thespiceadventuress.com

I have cooked with haricot beans before but always in a vegetarian dish like a stir fry with grated coconut or in combination with other vegetables like potatoes. This is the first time I paired it with lamb and it turned out to be such a great combination.

Haricot beans are also called by other names like Navy beans, Boston beans, pea beans etc… These are small, oval, white coloured beans that have a mild, smooth and creamy flavour when cooked. If you are not too fond of the bigger sized beans, this is a great replacement to make baked beans for breakfast, in stir fries, curries or salads. High in protein and gluten free, haricot beans are definitely a healthy addition to your pantry.

As I mentioned earlier, I used the dhansak masala as the spice blend to make this curry. It’s a really flavourful and aromatic blend that has become another valued addition to my spice collection. Have fun with it and do not restrict to using it in just this curry but as you would use garam masala or any other blend.

So let’s get into the recipe now; and if you do make this recipe, do tag me #thespiceadventuress so that I can see your creations too. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

Dhansak Masala:

  1. 100 g dry coriander seeds
  2. 50 g fenugreek seeds
  3. 50 g mustard seeds
  4. 50 g cumin seeds
  5. 50 g dried bay leaves
  6. 20 gms cardamom
  7. 20 gms cloves
  8. 1 large cinnamon bark

Method:

Dry roast the whole spices on a hot tawa/flat pan till aromatic (take care not to burn). Cool slightly and then blend into a powder. Store in an airtight container.

To make the curry:

Ingredients:

  1. 800gms lamb shank meat (boneless); cut into bite sized pieces
  2. 3-4 tbsp oil
  3. 2 large onions; finely chopped
  4. 1 tsp cumin seeds
  5. 3 medium garlic cloves; grated
  6. 1 inch ginger root; grated
  7. 2 large tomatoes; finely chopped
  8. ¾ ths cup haricot beans (washed and soaked overnight)
  9. 1 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder
  10. 1 tsp coriander powder
  11. 2 tbsp dhansak masala
  12. Salt, to season
  13. ½ cup milk
  14. Fresh coriander leaves; for garnish

Note – Any cut of lamb can be used but boneless is best for a recipe like this.

Method:

  1. Heat oil in a large deep bottom pot.
  2. Add the cumin seeds and allow to splutter and then add the garlic and ginger. Sauté till the rawness has disappeared and then add the onions.
  3. Sauté for 2-3 minutes till the onions have softened and lightly browned at the edges. Then add the tomatoes and cook till the tomatoes are broken down and mushy.
  4. Add the chilli, coriander and dhansak masala; mix well to combine.
  5. Add the haricot beans and lamb pieces. Add 3 cups water, season with salt and mix well.
  6. Bring to boil and then lower heat; cook covered on low heat till the lamb is just about done.
  7. If you prefer more gravy, add more water or if you prefer thicker gravy, increase heat and reduce the gravy.
  8. Finally add milk, mix well and adjust seasoning.
  9. Garnish with fresh coriander leaves
  10. Serve warm.

Note – Adding the milk lends creaminess to the gravy, a much better alternative to adding cream or yoghurt. It is optional and can be skipped.

Lamb Curry with Haricot Beans - thespiceadventuress.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chicken Drumlette Curry (with potatoes)

I am not much of a gadget freak especially when it comes to my kitchen.

Now it’s true that I have a few extra equipments due to the nature of my work (many of which were sent to me for professional reasons) but I am pretty old school and prefer to use only a few basic ones. And instead of buying the latest appliances, I would rather invest in high quality knives and cookware that are better for my family’s long term health and also for the environment.

But having said that, there was one appliance that I have wanted to buy for a long time now; a modern pressure cooker.

If you are from India, you would understand how integral a pressure cooker is to our cooking. I cannot imagine a day without using the PC in some form or the other. After moving to Australia, I became less dependent on the PC as I started experimenting with slow cooking, baking, roasting etc… but the pressure cooker held a very special place in my kitchen.

Once the blog started, many of the pressure cooker recipes would make it here. And one of the constant questions I would get from my non Indian audience is about the Indian pressure cooker and how they can adapt those recipes to suit their modern versions. The Indian PC is an alien appliance to all of them and they find it quite intriguing and exciting.

That’s when I became aware of the fact that what the rest of the world calls PC is quite different in appearance and performance to the Indian version though the basic technology is same. I started researching more about the modern version especially when my Indian one began to give problems and there was no way I could get it repaired here. I don’t travel to India often so the first time, I had to ask my parents to courier a spare part (the courier charges turned out triple the cost of the original part).

And while all this research was going on, I got the biggest surprise when I was sent the Philips Deluxe All-in-One-Cooker for a collaboration. My wish was granted triple fold, because this premium appliance can pressure cook, slow cook, bake, sauté…basically multi cook including making yoghurt!

Chicken Drumlette Curry (with potatoes) - thespiceadventuress.com

What I love most about this appliance is that it is a multi cooker which means I can use a lot of functions, some of them for the same dish itself. For eg: I can sauté and then pressure cook or sauté and slow cook or do all three if necessary. There is an add ingredient option which means mid way pressure cooking, I can open and add ingredients which is absolutely fantastic. There are pre programmed options for lentils, poultry, rice, beef/lamb etc… which means I don’t need to worry about undercooking or overcooking the dish.

One of my favourite curries to make using the pressure cooker is this simple Chicken drumlette curry with potatoes. It’s a super simple mid week curry that needs very little time especially since drumlettes are used. Just basic spices and aromatics, this is a rustic curry that can be paired with any kind of bread or rice. Any sort of curry tastes better when meat on the bone is used. And drumlettes are super affordable, easy to eat and tastes absolutely delicious when cooked in a curry sauce like this.

Note – This chicken drumlette curry can also be made in a traditional PC or slow cooked on the stovetop.

Chicken Drumlette Curry (with potatoes) - thespiceadventuress.com

Ingredients:

  1. 600gms chicken drumlettes (skinless)
  2. 3-4 tbsp vegetable oil
  3. 1 inch cinnamon bark
  4. 3 cloves
  5. 3 green cardamom
  6. ½ tsp cumin seeds
  7. 1 red onion; finely chopped
  8. 2 sprigs curry leaves
  9. Masala paste
  • 1 medium red onion; cubed
  • 2 large ripe tomatoes; cubed
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 inch ginger
  • 3-4 fresh coriander leaves (stalks and root included if available)
  1. ½ tsp turmeric powder
  2. 1 tsp red chilli powder
  3. 2 tsp coriander powder
  4. ½ tsp garam masala
  5. Salt, to season
  6. 2 potatoes; cubed
  7. Coriander leaves; for garnish

Method:

  1. Select the Sauté/Sear function for 12 minutes (lid open); add oil and the whole spices (cinnamon, cloves, cardamom and cumin seeds)
  2. As the spices begin to sizzle, add the curry leaves followed by the onions; mix well and sauté for 5 minutes till the onions turn light brown.
  3. Then add the ground masala; mix well and continue to cook for another 3 minutes. There will be some amount of spluttering so stir continuously.
  4. Mix the spice powders (turmeric, red chilli, coriander and garam masala) in 2-3 tbsp water and add this to the masala. Mix well to combine and cook for one minute.
  5. Add the chicken pieces and season with salt. Also add 2 cups water and mix well to combine.
  6. Select the Pressure cooker (poultry) function and close the lid. Set the timing for 15 minutes, pressure at 40.
  7. After 5 minutes, select the add ingredient function. Open the lid once pressure has dropped and add the potatoes. Mix well and add more water if you desire more gravy.
  8. Close lid and continue pressure cooking process for the remaining 10 minutes.
  9. Once cooking is complete, open lid and garnish with coriander leaves.

Note:

Traditional PC – The steps remain same but cooking times will change. More water is release when cooking chicken in a traditional PC, so add only 1 cup water.

Stove top – Follow the same steps. After adding the chicken pieces and water to cook in Step 5, bring to boil and then simmer on low heat till the chicken is half done. Then add the potato pieces and cook covered till both the chicken and potatoes are cooked through and tender.

Chicken Drumlette Curry (with potatoes) - thespiceadventuress.com

 

My Recipes as Fresh Meal Boxes – a Collaboration with Feastively

2018 has been such an exciting year for me on the work front. So many interesting opportunities and collaborations have come my way this year, most of which has pushed me clearly beyond my comfort zone but enabled me to take my food dreams one step further.

And one such exciting opportunity has been this collaboration with Feastively.

My Recipes as Fresh Meal Boxes – a Collaboration with Feastively; thespiceadventuress.com

My Recipes as Fresh Meal Boxes – a Collaboration with Feastively; thespiceadventuress.com

Feastively specializes in fresh meal boxes that are designed to help you cook a delicious dinner in three easy steps and just 15 minutes. Based on the meal plan and dishes that you choose on a weekly basis, all the prep work is done, packaged and delivered to your home.

Earlier this year, the company got in touch with me to find out if I would be interested in transforming some of my signature recipes from the blog into a fresh meal box format. I was surprised but couldn’t be more excited. This was almost like cooking personally for all of you (nothing could give me greater joy)!

Since I had tried out Feastively meal boxes last year, I was already aware of the quality of their meals. And I was quite impressed with the taste of many of their dishes. But making the decision was still hard because I wanted to be sure that my recipes delivered the same flavour as how I would cook at home, when it gets transformed into a fresh meal box.

But Feastively provided me with the kind of support to enable this and make the project a reality. A lot of testing and tweaking has taken place behind the scenes on their end as well as mine to ensure that each signature dish that is showcased has my stamp of approval and will deliver in terms of freshness, quality and flavour.

And finally the day has arrived; Indian Kheema Masala (Beef Mince with Potatoes, Peas and Rice) is now available through Feastively.

My Recipes as Fresh Meal Boxes – a Collaboration with Feastively; thespiceadventuress.com

One of the most popular recipes on my blog, I am so glad this was the first dish that made it to the meal box. If you were to make this dish from scratch, it will easily take 45 minutes to an hour. But now with the Feastively fresh meal box, all that you need to do is three easy steps and dinner ready in 15 minutes.

The whole spice infused caramelized onion and aromatic base is what takes the longest to cook in an Indian dish like this which has already been prepared for you. All that you need to do is cook the potatoes, peas and beef mince, add it to the mildly spiced sauce followed by yoghurt to get a delicious beef mince masala in no time at all. Serve it with a side of steamed rice for a hearty, flavoursome dinner. A glass of red would just make it perfect.

My Recipes as Fresh Meal Boxes – a Collaboration with Feastively; thespiceadventuress.com

It’s pretty simple to use Feastively. First, you opt for a meal plan based on the size of your family. And then add the recipes from the week’s list to your plan. The recipes are changed on a weekly basis so that there is something new to try and boredom doesn’t kick in from eating the same dishes. The dishes are also spread out across several different cuisines, all of which are Aussie family favourites.

The biggest advantage of using a fresh meal box service like Feastively is not just the amount of time you save but also the fact that it is way healthier than your local fast food or takeaway. There are no preservatives or additives, just fresh and seasonal ingredients prepped and put together for you to reduce cooking time.

While the Indian Kheema Masala is the first one to be launched, there are others being tested which will soon be introduced into the weekly menu. And if you have any dishes or recipes from the blog that you would like to see on Feastively, please do comment below and we will try our best to incorporate it.

So please do try it out and let me know your feedback; it would mean a lot to know what you think about the dish.

My Recipes as Fresh Meal Boxes – a Collaboration with Feastively; thespiceadventuress.com

 

Dahi Bhindi (Indian style Okra/Ladysfinger in a Yoghurt based Gravy)

Okra/bhindi/ladysfinger – my absolute favourite vegetable. In fact if you ask me what would I like my last meal on Earth to be, I would say chappathi, lentils and okra (just the way my mom makes).

I have loved every single okra preparation I have had till now in my life. Guess I love this veggie so much that even a bad dish wins approval from me. My love for okra is quite legendary at home that my siblings often tell my mom not to ask what I would like to eat (when on vacation) as I would say an okra dish.

While I enjoy every style of okra preparation, one of my all time favourites is the stir fried one with lots of onions, garlic and chillies. This okra/bhindi raita is another favourite of mine; pairs so well with a simple pilaf.

But today, I am sharing an okra dish that I have had only at restaurants till now. Dahi Bhindi or okra in creamy yoghurt based gravy is a popular dish in the Northern parts of India. Best paired with chappathis (Indian flatbread), this dish is an absolute winner if you love okra.

Dahi Bhindi (Indian style Okra/Ladysfinger in a Yoghurt based Gravy) - thespiceadventuress.com

Most people are put off by the slimy texture of okra and there are a few tips by which you can prevent this. The first tip is to wash and dry the okra well. After draining the excess water, I use a kitchen towel to completely dry the okra before cutting it which greatly helps to reduce the slimy texture.

Also, lightly frying the okra before adding it to the gravy helps to prevent it getting slimy. In a non stick or cast iron pan, add the okra pieces and lightly fry with no oil (or with just a tsp of oil) on low heat. I always follow this method if I am using the okra especially for curries or gravies.

Another tip is not to stir the okra around too much while cooking. Always cook on medium heat and stir only occasionally.

Dahi Bhindi (Indian style Okra/Ladysfinger in a Yoghurt based Gravy) - thespiceadventuress.com

Ingredients:

  1. 400gms okra/bhindi/ladysfinger, remove head and cut into half
  2. 1 Spanish onion; finely chopped
  3. 1 tsp mustard seeds
  4. ½ tsp turmeric powder
  5. Salt, to season
  6. 1 cup thick yoghurt
  7. 3-4 tbsp vegetable oil
  8. 2 tbsp coriander leaves; finely chopped
  9. Ground masala
  • ¾ cup freshly grated coconut
  • 3-4 green chillies (adjust according to heat preferences)
  • 1 inch ginger
  • 3 large garlic cloves
  • 5 shallots/small onion or 1 small red onion; chopped 

Method:

  1. In a non stick pan/kadai, heat 1 tbsp oil and lightly fry the okra till half done. Remove and keep aside.
  2. Grind all the ingredients given under the ground masala to a fine paste like consistency and keep aside.
  3. In the same pan that the okra was fried, heat the remaining oil and add the mustard seeds. Once it begins to crackle, add the chopped onions. Sauté till softened and translucent.
  4. Then add the ground masala, turmeric powder and season with salt. Cook on low heat till the rawness of the ingredients has gone away and oil begins to appear at the sides.
  5. Beat the curd well and add this to the masala; mix well and add enough water to get thick gravy.
  6. Then add the okra and cook on low heat till done.
  7. Remove from heat and add the coriander leaves; mix well.
  8. Keep for atleast 15 minutes for the flavours to develop.

Note – The gravy can thicken on standing or when refrigerated. Add a little water while reheating to get the desired consistency.

Dahi Bhindi (Indian style Okra/Ladysfinger in a Yoghurt based Gravy) - thespiceadventuress.com

Kerala style Stingray Curry

When you are a native of another country living abroad, shopping for many ingredients can be a real chore. Often you would know the name of ingredients in your local or native language and it can sometimes be a difficult task to find the English name for it while shopping here.

And with Google and Wiki being my best friend in most instances, I still find it hard sometimes especially while shopping for seafood.

That’s what happened last week at the market. I had taken my parents out to the Dandenong Market, to show them around as well as pick up some seafood and other ingredients. I was quite curious when their faces lit up at the sight of a particular product. And I was so surprised to hear that it was one of my absolute favourites, a local variety that is often called ‘therendi’, a fish species popular in some parts of Kerala.

Therendi (also called therachi) is actually a variety of Stingray which is quite famous for its unique cartilaginous structure.

Kerala style Stingray Curry - thespiceadventuress.com

I have often seen this at the markets but never could identify because it was always cut up and kept in chunks rather than the whole fish and also I had no clue of its English name. And I was always under the impression that stingray was not for human consumption!

To cut a long story short, I was quite ecstatic that one of my favourite ingredients is so easily available here. Stingray is a common or popular fish in many Asian countries; it is a very affordable one often being dubbed poor man’s fish. But I love its cartilaginous flesh which has a really unique texture when you bite into it.

There are many delicious ways of preparing this fish, but one of my favourite preparations is the spicy curry using chilli, coconut and kokum that is quite famous in the Kottayam region of Kerala. A lipsmacking, fiery preparation that is best enjoyed with steamed red rice and tempered buttermilk curry, or perhaps with steamed tapioca.

Kerala style Stingray Curry - thespiceadventuress.com

Kerala style Stingray Curry - thespiceadventuress.com

The defining flavours of this curry are powdered red chilli and kudampuli (black kokum). As I mentioned, it is a fiery one but you can always adjust the heat level to your preferences.

And remember, this curry always tastes better when allowed to sit for a while especially overnight. So prepare ahead if time permits.

Ingredients:

  1. 600gms stingray; cut into cubes
  2. 2 shallots/small onion; finely chopped
  3. 1 inch ginger; finely chopped

This post was bought to you in collaboration with Supreme Seafood, so head over to their website for the full recipe.

And do not forget to tag me #thespiceadventuress if you try it out. 

Kerala style Stingray Curry - thespiceadventuress.com

Celebrating the ‘Great Australian Curry’ with a Delicious Jaffna style Goat Curry

Curry and Australia are inseparable, all thanks to the multicultural diaspora of this beautiful country. But can a curry change the world?

Maybe not. But a curry can definitely help and contribute towards putting food on another family’s table. Isn’t that ironic? Yes, it is and that is why we need to join hands with Opportunity International Australia in its annual fundraising campaign ‘Great Australian Curry’ to help and raise funds to help give a hand up to families living in poverty.

Celebrating the ‘Great Australian Curry’ with a Delicious Jaffna style Goat Curry - thespiceadventuress.com

I had collaborated with Opportunity International last year on their fundraising ‘Food for Thought’ campaign, which gave me an insight into how this organization works. As I mentioned in last year’s post, I am not a big believer in giving away a few dollars (or more) to an NGO or charity organization and think I have done my bit for the society. I like to be involved in campaigns where I know the exact reach of that money and if it is being used in a truly positive manner i.e. is there at least one person whose life I have touched in a positive way.

Opportunity works through a unique system of microfinance, community development, training, local presence, technology and rural outreach programmes. And this year’s ‘Great Australian Curry’ campaign is a great way by which food lovers like us can contribute in a meaningful manner towards poverty and diminishing its impact.

Opportunity International Australia - Celebrating the ‘Great Australian Curry’ with a Delicious Jaffna style Goat Curry - thespiceadventuress.com

This year’s campaign is extra special because it is being backed by three-time Olympic gold medallist, Stephanie Rice and former Australian test cricketer and fast bowler, Michael Kasprowicz.

Michael Kasprowicz said: “I recently visited Opportunity’s work in Delhi, India. Seeing firsthand the impact of small loans, empowering parents to meet the needs of their children, was so rewarding. Kids can dream of becoming whatever they want in the future, whether it be sportspeople or teachers, because they know their parents can afford to give them an education. It’s the way it should be.”

Stephanie Rice invited Australians to get behind the Great Australian Curry. “By simply getting together with some friends and family and cooking up your favourite curry, we can help raise much needed funds and give people in Asia a hand-up,” she exclaimed.

The ‘Great Australian Curry’ was officially launched last week with a fun curry cook-off between Stephanie and Michael. You can watch all the action here and get inspired to cook up some curry.

Great Australian Curry cook-off with Stephanie Rice and Michael Kasprowicz - thespiceadventuress.com

So how exactly can you help?

Plan – Decide on which curry you would like to cook (that’s where I come in with ideas and recipes) at home or maybe a fun cook-off with friends/colleagues or simply head over to your nearest curry offering establishment sometime in October or November.

Set up your goal – Start your unique fundraising page here and mention the goal you would like to achieve.

Donate and spread the word – Get everyone you know onboard and encourage them to not only share the curry with you but also contribute towards this campaign to help families living in poverty in Asian countries like Philippines, Indonesia, India etc….

Ofcourse I cannot leave you guys without a curry recipe so today I have a very special dish for you – the Jaffna style goat curry.

Celebrating the ‘Great Australian Curry’ with a Delicious Jaffna style Goat Curry - thespiceadventuress.com

Adapted from a Peter Kuruvita recipe, this curry is a rather simple one. And with this, I added yet another spice blend to my collection – the Srilankan roasted curry powder. Garam masala has taken a backseat forever!

In traditional Srilankan cooking, two forms of spice blends are common – the roasted and the unroasted variety. While the former is reserved for the rich curries and nonvegetarian dishes, the latter is milder and for seafood and vegetarian dishes (exceptions ofcourse). The key to a good roasted curry powder is getting your hands on good quality whole spices and then roasting it yourself. The roasting is taken right to the edge without burning it, so watch over it diligently.

I read up a lot of recipes and articles on how to make both the versions and ended up using this one I found on YouTube; seemed the most basic and authentic version. Also just as with many traditional spice blends like the garam masala, the Srilankan roasted curry powder also varies slightly between households.

Unroasted Srilankan curry powder - thespiceadventuress.com

Srilankan roasted curry powder - thespiceadventuress.com

The Jaffna goat curry uses both the roasted and unroasted curry powder which is liberally used to marinate the meat along with a few other aromatics and thin coconut milk. Another interesting thing about the recipe is that it only uses the thin and not the thick coconut milk so you still get that rich dark curry opposed to the creamy coconuty one.

As I mentioned, this is an adaptation of the traditional curry (which uses blood and offals); I have not done both, choosing to keep it simple and easy to make by all.

Celebrating the ‘Great Australian Curry’ with a Delicious Jaffna style Goat Curry - thespiceadventuress.com

And before we get on to this recipe, here are five other curries that would be perfect to host the ‘Great Australian Curry’

  1. Thai Massaman Curry
  2. Indian style Chickpeas and Mustard Leaves Curry
  3. Cambodian (Khmer) style Chicken Samlâ Curry
  4. Gosht Durbari (Lamb Curry slow cooked with Yoghurt, Fried Onions and Spices)
  5. Burmese style Prawns with Tomatoes Curry

Jaffna Goat Curry

Ingredients:

  1. 1 kg goat curry pieces (with bones)
  2. 1 tbsp Jaffna unroasted curry powder (recipe given below)
  3. 1 tsp roasted cumin powder
  4. 5 green cardamoms; crushed
  5. ½ tsp fenugreek seeds
  6. 1 cinnamon stick
  7. ¾ tsp turmeric powder
  8. 1 ½ tbsp red chilli powder (adjust to heat preferences)
  9. 2 tbsp Srilankan roasted curry powder (recipe given below)
  10. 2 tbsp tomato paste
  11. 200ml thin or 2nd extract coconut milk
  12. Salt, to season
  13. 4-5 shallots; finely sliced
  14. 3 garlic cloves; grated
  15. 1 inch ginger; grated
  16. A few sprigs of curry leaves
  17. 3-4 tbsp vegetable oil

Method:

  1. In a large pot, add the goat curry pieces along unroasted curry powder, cumin powder, cardamoms, fenugreek seeds, cinnamon, turmeric powder, red chilli powder, roasted curry powder, tomato paste, salt and thin coconut milk. Mix and keep aside for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Heat oil in another vessel (earthenware if you have) and add the curry leaves, shallots, garlic and ginger; sauté till the onions are soft and translucent.
  3. Then add the marinated goat pieces into this, season with salt and mix well to combine. If there is extra marinade in the first pot, add a little water to it and rinse it out into the curry so none of that lovely flavour is lost. Add more water to the curry if necessary and cook covered on low heat till the goat pieces are tender and falling off the bone. Stir occasionally and add water if more gravy is required.
  4. Garnish with curry leaves and serve warm.

Note – It is best to make this curry ahead and let it sit for a while for the flavours to develop.

Ingredients for unroasted curry powder:

  1. 2 tbsp coriander seeds
  2. 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  3. ½ tbsp fennel seeds

Method:

In a grinder, add all the whole spices and grind to get a fine powder. Store in an airtight container and use as required.

Ingredients for Srilankan roasted curry powder:

  1. 3 sprigs curry leaves
  2. 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  3. ½ tbsp fennel seeds
  4. 2 tbsp coriander seeds
  5. 10 dried chillies
  6. ½ tbsp black peppercorns
  7. 5 cloves
  8. 5 green cardamom
  9. 1 stick Ceylon cinnamon (not cassia)
  10. 2 dry bay leaf

Method:

Note – Roasting the spices has to be done in steps as some of the spices need to be roasted longer than the others. Some versions of this blend also use fenugreek, mustard and pandan leaves.

Add the coriander seeds to a pan and allow to roast on low heat for about a minute and then add the peppercorns, cloves, cardamom, bay leaf and cinnamon. Roast for another 15 seconds and then add the curry leaves. Mix regularly and keep the heat low to avoid burning the spices. Continue to roast for another 30 seconds and then add the chillies. Allow to roast for a minute and finally add the fennel and cumin seeds. Roast for another 15-30 seconds and remove from heat. Allow to cool completely and then grind to a fine powder. Store in an airtight container.

Celebrating the ‘Great Australian Curry’ with a Delicious Jaffna style Goat Curry - thespiceadventuress.com

Massaman Curry

It’s Friday guys! Time to put up the tired feet and get some much needed rest or catch up time with family and friends. Not so much for me as we are currently house hunting and the whole thing is slowly beginning to get on my nerves. We just can’t seem to find a decent place especially with the zillion demands we have. Hopefully something comes up soon and then the herculean task of moving houses will begin. Telling you guys, I have amassed a ton of props and I know I am going to freak out during the packing and shifting process.

I am sure you will hear me whining more about that later but for now, let’s just feast on this deliciously comforting Beef Massaman Curry.

Massaman Curry - a sweet, spicy and highly aromatic curry from Thailand - thespiceadventuress.com

If you are familiar with Thai food, then you would have definitely heard of Massaman curry. It’s a staple curry from the region and often made with chicken, with beef and lamb not being far behind.

Massaman curry has a very interesting history to it. Also known as Matasaman curry, it is believed that this dish was introduced to Thailand by Persian merchants and soon became an integral part of the Thai Muslim cuisine. Infact, historical writers believe that the name Massaman could also have been originated from the word ‘Mussulman’ which is another word for Muslim. But there are many others who believe that it is more of a Southern Thai dish with influences of Malay and Indian cooking since the curry relies heavily on the use of spices and coconut.

Traditionally, this curry was always made using chicken given the Islamic dietary laws. Beef and mutton were also popular but hardly ever made with pork. But in the West, you can find all sorts of protein being used including pork. Personally, I prefer lamb or beef; hence I have made a Beef Massaman Curry today.

The recipe I have used today has been adapted from the Chin Chin cookbook (remember the copy I won for last year’s Social Feeds competition). The recipe is not just detailed out well but more importantly; there is also a recipe for making the Massaman curry paste from scratch. Now this paste is where the magic lies – a medley of spices and aromatics blended together to create a spicy, sweet and heavily aromatic blend.

Massaman Curry Paste - a spicy and highly aromatic curry paste from Thailand - thespiceadventuress.com

Massaman Curry - a sweet, spicy and highly aromatic curry from Thailand - thespiceadventuress.com

Let me tell you straight ahead, this is not your ordinary quick fix weekday dinner. The Massaman Curry takes time, effort and a whole lotta love to make it from scratch. But believe me guys, it’s so worth it. And when you make the curry paste, make sure you prepare a larger quantity and freeze in small batches.

Coconut cream is another main component of the Massaman curry. Though I generally prefer to use homemade coconut milk, the weather at the moment made me quite lazy so I used store bought ones. Also look out for coconut cream rather than milk when you are buying for that thicker and creamier consistency.

The braising liquid for the beef is another crucial step for this dish. The meat is just so tender and once strained, this flavourful liquid becomes the stock for the curry. The whole recipe is about adding layer after layer of flavour to yield that rich, sweet and spicy curry that warms your souls and tummies.

Do not get put off by the long list of ingredients or steps involved. Prepare the curry paste one day ahead so that you have enough time on the day of cooking the curry. Substitute with lamb shanks or chicken or even mixed vegetables with tofu for a vegetarian version. Make it folks, I promise you will love it.

Massaman Curry - a sweet, spicy and highly aromatic curry from Thailand - thespiceadventuress.com

Massaman Curry - a sweet, spicy and highly aromatic curry from Thailand - thespiceadventuress.com

Ingredients:

Massaman Curry Paste

(yields more than 2 cups)

  1. 60gms large dried red chillies, seeded; soaked in warm water and roughly chopped
  2. 1 medium red onion
  3. 1 ½ heads garlic
  4. 1 large galangal knob
  5. 3 stalks lemongrass (only the pale part)
  6. 4-5 coriander roots with a bit of stalk
  7. 60gms roasted peanuts
  8. 1 ½ tbsp coriander seeds
  9. ½ tbsp cumin seeds
  10. ½ tbsp cloves
  11. ½ nutmeg
  12. 3/4th tbsp mace powder
  13. 1 large cassia/cinnamon bark
  14. 3 green cardamom

For the braising liquid:

  1. 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  2. 1 large knob galangal; roughly chopped
  3. 1 stalk lemongrass (pale part); roughly chopped
  4. 2 large red chillies; seeded and sliced
  5. ½ red onion; chopped
  6. 300ml coconut cream
  7. 2 cups water
  8. 1 cup homemade chicken stock
  9. 1/3 cup fish sauce
  10. 100gms palm sugar

For the curry:

  1. 1 kg beef (chuck steak); cut into 5-6 large pieces
  2. 1 cup kecap manis
  3. 6 tbsp vegetable oil
  4. 200ml coconut cream
  5. 5-6 tbsp massaman curry paste
  6. 2 shallots; diced
  7. 70gms pineapple; diced
  8. 1 tbsp palm sugar
  9. 2 tbsp fish sauce
  10. 2 large potatoes; boiled and cubed
  11. 1-2 tbsp tamarind water
  12. ½ cup toasted peanuts; crushed
  13. Crispy shallots; for garnish
  14. Coriander leaves; for garnish

Method:

Massaman curry paste:

  • Blitz the chillies, onion, garlic, galangal, lemongrass, roasted peanuts and coriander root to a coarse paste.
  • Grind the spices and add this to the paste along with a good pinch of salt.
  • Blitz again to get a smooth paste (you may need to add water).
  • Freeze in small batches.

To make the curry:

  • Marinate the beef pieces in kecap manis for a few hours or overnight.
  • Wipe off the excess sauce and keep aside to be braised.
  • To get the braising liquid going, heat 2 tbsp oil in a large vessel and add the onions, chilli, lemongrass and galangal. Cook to release the aromas for a couple of minutes and then coconut cream, water, stock, fish sauce and palm sugar.
  • Bring to boil and add the beef pieces to this. Cover and slow cook on the lowest heat possible till the beef has become really tender (took me about 1 ½ hours). Alternately, braise in the oven at 150°C till the meat is tender.
  • Meanwhile, 2 tbsp oil and coconut cream along with a good pinch of salt in another heavy based pan. As the cream separates and the oil starts to split, add the massaman curry paste and cook on high (with frequent stirring) for about 10 minutes. The aroma as the paste starts to cook is so aromatic. Reduce heat a bit and continue to cook the curry paste with frequent stirring till the oil starts to separate. Takes a fair bit of time so be patient.
  • Once the meat has cooked, allow the pieces to cool in the liquid, remove and cut into bite sized pieces. Strain the braising liquid and reserve the stock.
  • In another pan, heat the remaining oil and cook the shallots till golden. Add the pineapple pieces and continue to cook until it has softened and cooked out. Then add the palm sugar to get a caramel like mixture.
  • Add this to the curry paste and continue to cook till the oil starts to separate again. At this stage, add half of the strained braising liquid along with the fish sauce and tamarind water. Taste and season with salt if necessary; also balance out seasoning with fish sauce, tamarind water etc….
  • Add the boiled potatoes and the beef pieces and simmer on low heat. Add the remaining braising liquid and simmer till the meat and potatoes have warmed through.
  • To serve, spoon into a large bowl and garnish with crushed peanuts, crispy shallots and coriander leaves.

Massaman Curry - a sweet, spicy and highly aromatic curry from Thailand - thespiceadventuress.com

 

 

 

 

Chickpeas and Mustard Leaves Curry (with East Indian Bottle Masala)

My Instagram journey has so far been a highly delightful and inspiring one. I have been able to interact with a wonderful bunch of creative friends there and some wonderful human beings too. And a friend that fits that bill is Natasha (or Nats, as I sometimes call her). Nats is known as @thegutlessfoodie to the Insta folks and if you are curious as to why that name, check out her profile.

Apart from being such a darling, Nats has a whacky sense of humor that always brings a smile to my face. And if you follow her, you would get truck loads of inspiration for everyday dishes. Like I did, for this Chickpeas and Mustard Leaves Curry (with my special East Indian Bottle Masala).

Chickpeas and Mustard Leaves Curry (with East Indian Bottle Masala) - a comforting, nourishing chickpea curry with the goodness of homegrown mustard leaves - thespiceadventuress.com

This recipe is my adaptation of Natasha’s dish since I added mustard leaves and also used my special East Indian Bottle Masala to spice up the curry.

Mustard leaves are super healthy greens that are used extensively in North Indian cuisine especially states lying near the Himalayan belt. I wanted to try and grow these in my balcony garden but that meant trying to grow it in a pot. An experiment that yielded good results.

The only thing about growing mustard leaves in a pot is that you get only baby leaves and not the large one that is typical when grown on the ground. Also, since I was trying to grow it the first time, I planted the seeds in a small pot; next time I would try in a larger pot to see if the size of the leaves get bigger. If you live in an area where you can easily find mustard leaves in the market, then go ahead with that or substitute with any other greens if growing it in your garden is not an option for you.

Anyway, I found that the baby leaves tasted more refreshing than the larger mature ones which meant that I could use it for garnishing my salads and also in pasta dishes. In fact, I was planning on a salad when Natasha’s chickpea curry caught my attention.

For my East Indian Bottle Masala story, you need to read this post (which also tells you another delicious way to use this spice blend).

East Indian Bottle Masala - a traditional spice blend from Eastern India - thespiceadventuress.com

This chickpeas and mustard leaves curry is a simple, everyday dish that can be paired with flatbreads or rice and with a simple salad on the side. How I love these simple yet delicious and healthy almost one-pot meals that are just so comforting and nourishing at the same time.

The leaves wilt quickly even when added right at the end of the dish so you will hardly notice it in the photographs. But it’s there peeps…all the goodness and flavour is there.

Ok, so let’s get cooking….

2

Chickpeas and Mustard Leaves Curry (with East Indian Bottle Masala) - a comforting, nourishing chickpea curry with the goodness of homegrown mustard leaves - thespiceadventuress.com

Ingredients:

  1. 1 cup chickpeas; soaked overnight
  2. ½ cup mustard leaves (roughly chop if you are using the bigger ones)
  3. Coconut spice mixture
  • ½ tsp crushed cinnamon
  • 10 black peppercorns
  • ¼ tsp fennel seeds
  • 2 green cardamom
  • 1 tbsp roasted gram flour/garbanzo bean flour/besan
  • ½ tsp almonds; crushed
  • ½ cup grated coconut
  • 2 large garlic cloves
  • 1 ½ tbsp East Indian bottle masala
  1. 3-4 tbsp vegetable oil
  2. 1 star anise
  3. 2 dry bay leaf
  4. 1 black cardamom; crushed
  5. 2 medium red onions; finely chopped
  6. ½ tsp red chilli powder
  7. A pinch of asafoetida
  8. 1 tbsp tomato paste
  9. Salt, to season
  10. 3 sprigs fresh coriander leaves; finely chopped

East Indian Bottle Masala:

  1. 12.5 gms dry Bedki chilli
  2. 12.5 gms dry Kashmiri chilli
  3. 45 gms turmeric powder
  4. 30 gms coriander seeds
  5. 14 gms cumin seeds
  6. 10 gms white sesame seeds
  7. 10 gms poppy seeds
  8. 7.5 gms fennel seeds
  9. 25 gms mustard seeds
  10. 2.5 gms black cumin/shahjeera
  11. 3 green cardamom
  12. 5 cloves
  13. 2.5 gms black pepper
  14. 3 gms cinnamon bark

Method:

  1. To prepare the bottle masala, dry roast all the spices till aromatic and fragrant. Cool and grind to a powder. Store in an airtight bottle or container and use as necessary.
  2. To prepare the coconut spice mixture, grind all the ingredients given under No.3 with a little bit of water to make a thick paste.
  3. Heat vegetable oil in a pressure cooker (or pan if you don’t have a cooker). Add the star anise, cardamom and bay leaf; after a few seconds when the spices have becomes fragrant, add the chopped onions.
  4. Sauté till light brown and then add the red chilli powder. asafoetida, tomato paste and coconut spice paste. Cook on low heat till the masala comes together and the rawness of the spices and coconut have gone.
  5. Then add the chickpeas and cook till done (around 2-3 whistles would be enough if using a pressure cooker).
  6. Finally, add the mustard leaves, stir through and remove from heat. Since these are baby leaves, it does not require any cooking time but if you are using the bigger ones, you may need to cook it for about a minute.
  7. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and serve warm.

Chickpeas and Mustard Leaves Curry (with East Indian Bottle Masala) - a comforting, nourishing chickpea curry with the goodness of homegrown mustard leaves - thespiceadventuress.com

Chickpeas and Mustard Leaves Curry (with East Indian Bottle Masala) - a comforting, nourishing chickpea curry with the goodness of homegrown mustard leaves - thespiceadventuress.com

 

Cambodian (Khmer) Chicken Samlá Curry

I have been quite ignorant about Cambodian or Khmer cuisine till very recently. Somehow the cuisine of this tiny country never featured in my vast list of Asian cooking.

When we have never travelled to or know much about a region, we often make the mistake of generalizing the cuisine of that land. I made the same mistake too of generalizing Cambodian cuisine with its Thai and Malaysian counterparts. But as I am learning (more frequently these days), that is not true. Just like the cuisine of India or for that matter, any other large country or continent, the cuisine of a region can vary widely from its neighbouring lands inspite of using similar ingredients.

So my first brush with Khmer cuisine happened via a friend and avid travel blogger Svetlana of Maverickbird. This girl has travelled around the world (mostly solo!) and if you are nurturing the travel bug within you, then you must check out her blog.

The last time she was in Cambodia, she decided to attend a Khmer cooking class. Now Svetlana is a big fan of eating but not really of cooking and apart from having a great culinary experience, she enrolled in the class so that she can get me some authentic traditional recipes from the region. Well, what can I say about such friends except that I am damn lucky!

Are you planning to travel to Cambodia or want to know more about Khmer food? Then check out Svetlana’s article.

I will have to be content with just cooking Khmer food for now since travel is not on the cards yet. But the most awesome aspect of living in Australia (yes, I have said this before) is the availability of most ingredients that enables me to recreate most of these recipes at home.

So today, I am going to teach you a classic dish from Cambodia – Chicken Samlá Curry.

Cambodian (Khmer) Chicken Samla Curry - deliciously creamy, highly aromatic and fragrant chicken curry - thespiceadventuress.com

Some of the ingredients that are central to Khmer cooking are lemongrass, wild lime/kaffir lime, pepper, shallots, coconut, galangal, thai red chillies etc…. Like I mentioned before, all of these are central to many other Asian cuisines also but it is the way these ingredients are bought together that makes the cuisine of Cambodia unique.

The Chicken Samlá curry is basically a soupy kind of curry and one that is found quite commonly in Cambodia. It is either served as a soup or as a stew poured over rice. The thick, soupy coconut milk broth is what makes a Samlá stand out. It strongly reminds you of the Thai yellow curry but the flavours are different.

Lemongrass is the key ingredient in this curry and the primary flavour and aroma that greets you. I have made a few modifications to the recipe in terms of ingredients and measurements to suit my preferences which I think is important to make any dish a pleasurable experience for you. Instead of dry Thai chillies, I have used fresh ones and also more than what the traditional recipe calls for. It does not make the dish hot or spicy but adds more depth and flavour to match the sweet richness of the coconut milk.

Shrimp paste is another key ingredient of this dish and I know your whole neighbourhood will smell it too. You could omit it but then you won’t be getting the real deal. But yes…the smell!!!

It is the unique blend of spices and aromatics (traditionally called the kroueng) that forms the base of this dish. The flavours are created here; you could choose to pound away in a mortar and pestle if you have the time and patience (a great stress busting exercise too) or a grinder will do the job in a fraction of the time. And since you will be spending a certain amount of time making this, I strongly recommend making a large batch and freezing in portions for quick weekday meals. I mean making everytime from scratch is great, but who really has the time anymore.

Kroueng or Cambodian curry paste - aromatic and fragrant - thespiceadventuress.com

Cambodian (Khmer) Chicken Samla Curry - deliciously creamy, highly aromatic and fragrant chicken curry - thespiceadventuress.com

Enough talking; let’s go ahead and re-create this deliciously creamy, highly aromatic and fragrant Cambodian Chicken Samlá Curry. And if you happen to try it out, make sure you tag me #thespiceadventuress in your social media posts so that I may see it too.

Ingredients:

  1. 1 whole chicken (approx 1.2 kg); cut into medium sized pieces
  2. 3-4 lemongrass stalks
  3. 1 tbsp lemon flesh
  4. 1 tsp turmeric powder
  5. 3 tbsp chopped galangal
  6. 6 large shallots; coarsely chopped
  7. 6 large garlic; chopped
  8. 8 fresh Thai red chillies
  9. 1 ½ tbsp shrimp paste
  10. 2 cups thin coconut milk
  11. 1 cup thick coconut milk
  12. 3-4 tbsp vegetable oil
  13. Salt, to season
  14. ½ tsp sugar

Note – The proportion of all the spices and aromatics is approximate and should be adjusted according to the size and freshness of the ingredients and also your taste preferences.

Method:

  • To prep the lemongrass, cut off the tough and dry roots and top ends. Peel off the outer tough layers and use only the soft part of the stalk. You will need approximately 3-4 stalks (depending on the freshness) to get about 1 ¼ cups of chopped lemongrass.
  • If using a blender, place all the ingredients from 2-8 and grind to a fine paste. If you are using a mortar and pestle, then add each ingredient, crush well and then follow with the next ingredient till the whole mixture comes together to a fine paste like texture. If you have a small mortar and pestle, then you can grind the ingredients in separate batches and then finally mix all together in a bowl.
  • Place the shrimp paste on a piece of aluminium foil; spread it out evenly and then fold the foil into a small packet. Place on a medium hot tawa or pan for 2-3 minutes, turn over and heat for another 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat, open the packet and crumble the shrimp paste into the prepared curry paste and mix together.
  • Heat the oil in a deep pan; add the curry paste and cook on low heat till the rawness of the ingredients goes away and oil begins to separate from the curry paste. This will take at least 8-10 minutes and sometimes more. But this is the step that is most crucial to the flavour of the overall dish so be patient and let the heat do its job.
  • Next add the chicken pieces and cook on medium heat for about 6-7 minutes without adding any water or coconut milk. Take care to stir at constant intervals so that the spice paste does not get burnt or stick to the bottom of the pan.
  • Add the thin coconut milk, season with salt and add sugar; cook on medium heat till the chicken has become tender.
  • Then add the thick coconut milk and cook for another 5 minutes; remove from heat.
  • Serve warm with rice and garnish with coriander leaves.

Note:

  • If you want the dish to be more soupy, you may add more coconut milk.
  • You may also add vegetables to this dish.

Cambodian (Khmer) Chicken Samla Curry - deliciously creamy, highly aromatic and fragrant chicken curry - thespiceadventuress.com

Cambodian (Khmer) Chicken Samla Curry - deliciously creamy, highly aromatic and fragrant chicken curry - thespiceadventuress.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

%d bloggers like this: