I haven’t always had a love affair with curry, especially Indian curries. In fact, when I met Tony and we began our long distance, (7,253 miles or 11,671 km), year long courtship between Seattle, Washington, and Wellington, New Zealand via email, I learned Indian food was his favorite. The thought crossed my mind that we might not be as compatible as we had seemed in person. I now realize my Indian curry experience had been quite limited.
Hundreds of emails in 12 months where his burning question EVERY day was, “What are you having for dinner?” made me realize the way to this man’s heart was through his stomach. It wasn’t until after we were married and he moved many jars of assorted spices, seeds, pods, sticks, peppers and leaves into our spice cupboard that I learned he was quite serious about his curries. I made a mental note that to have harmony at our dinner table, I should learn to embrace Indian curries. As it turned out, he introduced me to my first homemade Indian curry via his favorite recipe book “Indian Curries” by Madhur Jaffrey. Timatur Murghi (Chicken with tomatoes and garam masala) was delicious! This dish is what I now call my “comfort curry.”
With curry peace achieved, my husband cooked about two curries a week. I started reading curry recipes but felt intimidated by the long lists of ingredients. It’s not unusual for a curry recipe to call for 10 to 15 spices PLUS another five or more other ingredients (meat, tomatoes, onions, etc.). Most curry recipe instructions are fairly precise of when to add each ingredient and the duration to stir, cook or simmer each before adding the next which makes them seem complicated, but once I got brave enough to cook the first few, the steps became logical.
I don’t remember which curry recipe I chose first to prepare on my own and without a pre-made curry mix, but I found cooking Indian curries quite enjoyable. That led to our next step, our 50 Curries Project, where we are cooking our way out of a curry rut of preparing the same 6-8 recipes. We decided to stretch our apron strings and are experimenting with different curry flavors by cooking our way through Camellia Panjabi’s “50 Great Curries of India” cookbook. The photos in the cookbook are mouth watering.
We are cooking the curries at random, and a few weekends ago we prepared our eighth curry from Panjabi’s book, Malabar Shrimp Curry (Konju Curry). The photo of this curry graces the cover of the cookbook and is a beautiful combination of red and orange accented with green curry leaves and hot peppers. We made this curry with U15 prawns. The most interesting and different preparation step from other curries we have cooked was heating two teaspoons of oil in a ladle over the stovetop burner and adding sliced shallots and curry leaves to infuse the oil which we poured over the prawns just before serving. We rated this dish 8/10 and will indeed be preparing this curry again.
Next weekend we invited friends to dinner for the ninth curry. I’m pretty sure we will delay making the egg curry, (I’ve got to get my head around hard boiled eggs and curry), or the Aab Gosht (Lamb Cooked in Milk). The photo of Aab Gosht shows white meat, apparently from the milk, served on white rice which doesn’t look too appetizing. But every curry in this cookbook has surprised our taste buds, so stand by for the next curry post and the rest of this book. We are committed to cooking all 50!
Do you enjoy preparing and eating Indian curries? Check out our Curry Crazy Project on our 50 Curries Project page where we are cooking our way through Camellia Panjabi’s 50 Great Curries of India cookbook!
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