JOANNA'S FOOD: family cooking, from scratch, every day

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Curry sauce and a korma

I'm chucking out recipe books at the moment, ones I'm never ever going to use again. Tricky, though, because there's often one dish lurking in there. These two books are a case in point, Brit Spice by Manju Malhi ... good, but I don't use it at all any more, and Real Fast Indian Food by Mridula Baljekar. Horatio and I bought them when he first got keen on curry, and we cooked quite a few curries. H is sharing a student house now (in Buckingham Street, so known - inevitably - as Buckingham Palace). He lives with an acknowledged curry master, so he doesn't want the books. Off they go to Sue Ryder. But first ...

Madras Curry Sauce

We used to make vats of this together, so that Horatio could use it to simmer chicken with his friend Christian. It sounds more complicated than it is, but that's only because the ingredients list is so long. Promise.

5 tbsp vegetable oil
55g root ginger, peeled and chopped
16 cloves of garlic, peeled
8-10 shallots, peeled
3 tbsp dried curry leaves (2 tbsp if fresh)
1 1/2 tbsp ground cumin
2 tsp chilli powder
2 tsp ground turmeric
85g tomato puree
1.2 litres water
1 1/2 tsp sugar
15g fresh coriander leaves, chopped
3 tbsp lemon juice

Heat the oil and gently fry the ginger, garlic and shallots. After three or four minutes, add the curry leaves, cumin, chilli and turmeric. Fry for a couple of minutes, then stir in the tomato paste. When it's amalgamated, add the water, sugar and salt. Simmer gently for 20 minutes.

Add the coriander and lemon juice. Remove from the heat. Leave to cool. Blitz until smooth. Pack in airtight containers and store in the freezer or fridge. It will keep in the fridge for at least a week.

Chicken Korma with whole spices
for 4

This is a lovely aromatic curry ... but Horatio likes it better without the cloves.

55g ground almonds
150ml boiling water
3 tbsp oil
5cm stick of cinnamon
6 green cardamom pods, bruised
4 cloves
2 bay leaves
one small onion, finely chopped
3cm cube of peeled and chopped ginger
4 large cloves garlic
1 tsp crushed black peppercorns
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp mild chilli powder

700g boneless chicken pieces, cubed
85g plain yoghurt
2-3 tomatoes skinned (or half a tin)
salt (unless using tinned tomatoes)
2-3 tbsp chopped coriander

Soak the almonds. (The original recipe calls for blanched almonds, which you later process, but I could never get them smooth enough.) Gently fry the cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and bay in the oil (if your cardamom is green, stop when the pods puff up; chances are, you'll be splitting dry old pods to use their fragrant sticky black seeds). Add the onion, and fry til golden. Then add the ginger, garlic and the rest of the spices.

Add the chicken cubes and brown all the surfaces. Then add the yoghurt, salt and tomatoes. Stir, cover the pan, and simmer gently for 10-12 minutes.

If you've used whole almonds, process them with their soaking water until you get a smooth paste. Either way, tip the resulting mess into the pan, stir well, and cook for another 10-12 minutes.

When the chicken is cooked through, add the coriander and serve.

Links to related posts

None of these are hot, unless you want to be heavy-handed with the chilli. They're all quick, easy, cheap and delicious.

Chickpea and spinach curry
Aromatic prawns

PS the Indian recipe book I've kept is The Essential Madhur Jaffrey


matt said...

Throw in some more photos here and there, I'm dying to see how these end recipes turned out - just reading through the ingredients list is enough to make oneself salivate.

Joanna said...

Hi Matt ... I'm afraid I posted these recipes purely for myself - I'm not planning on making them at the moment, but I know I'll want these recipes because they were a part of a particular stage of our family life - and because they are delicious. So no pictures. Sorry.

But I feel compelled to add that I have recently noticed that all my favourite recipe books, without exception, have no photographs, only line drawings and good writing. Elizabeth David, Jane Grigson, Elisabeth Luard, Claudia Roden, Geraldine Holt, etc etc. And in the course of my recipe book throw-out I've noticed that lots of the books which are full of photos base their recipes on these great writers.

Also, these two Indian books are photo-free.

Sorry, I didn't mean to lecture - but DO try these recipes and post the photos on your blog ... and I'll do a link