I’ve written about fun things we’ve cooked with fenugreek leaves before, but always using dried, which is all we’d been able to find at our usual haunts. On a recent foray to the Lynnwood H-Mart for kimchi supplies, while hunting through the vast produce area for scallions and ginger, Jon spied pre-packaged bunches of fresh fenugreek. We bought a pack (only 99 cents!), immediately searched through our cookbooks to find an appropriate recipe, and the following evening we made a curry of cubed lamb simmered with warm spices and the fresh fenugreek, served with rice and fried red onion slices. It was SO GOOD.
The lamb, simmering in its gravy, was one of the best-smelling things we’ve ever had in our kitchen, and that’s saying something. Fenugreek is one of those things that makes curry taste like curry, and the overall effect was of wonderful savoriness. Continue reading
It was a dark and stormy night last night. Here’s what we had for dinner: a rather ugly yellow plateful, true, but very delicious. Following a recipe from 660 curries, I coated rockfish fillets with turmeric, fried them in panch phoran spices (fenugreek, fennel, nigella, cumin, mustard seed), then simmered them with plain yogurt and red onion. This all went over steamed basmati rice and some simple sauteed cabbage with a few spices. The fish had a wonderful fragrance, and all the whole spices exploded in our mouths as we ate. We drank some Chinook Semillon that we had left over from the previous night, then sat by the fire and listened to the rain hammer against the windows.
I’m always looking for things to do with squid. Since we discovered that we could buy big bags of frozen, pre-cleaned rings and tentacles, it’s been a really handy thing to always have available. It thaws quickly and makes a great protein for those days when I really don’t want to go to the store (which has frequently been the case of late). I usually do something Chinese flavored, like the squid noodle I often make, but a couple of days ago I decided Indian flavors would be fun to try. I found a recipe in West Coast Seafood for a squid curry with coconut milk, which included the comment “this fiery southern Indian squid curry is not for the faint of heart”. Um, what? It has one tablespoon of green chile in it. Unless you have a Minnesotan palate, it is not fiery – in fact, when I ate the leftovers for lunch I added rather a lot of habanero sauce just to get it properly spiced. It was, despite this, pretty tasty. Continue reading
We had vindaloo for dinner last night. We were going to make our usual one, bright with vinegar and extremely hot, but then our eyes caught on a recipe in the same book (660 Curries, of course) for a different vindaloo with thin strips of pork and a bit of coconut milk to cut the heat (he explains that the coconut milk is totally inauthentic, but balances the chiles nicely).
The paste was made of onion, garlic, ginger, green chile, dried red chile, turmeric and cumin, and was incredibly fragrant.
All we needed to do after making the paste was saute some onion, pour in the paste to simmer, then stir in coconut milk and thin-cut pork and cook ten minutes. We ate it with basmati rice and mashed eggplant with sweet onions. Fantastic – will make this one again.
This was an extra-nice sort of chicken curry dinner. We (loosely) followed a fairly involved recipe out of the Vij’s cookbook for tamarind-marinated chicken in a rich curry sauce, and it was well worth the trouble.
It’s a beautiful book, but the recipes suffer a bit from what I think of as restaurant-itis, where every part of every dish is complicated. The way I prefer to cook at home usually involves one involved recipe, like a sauce or fancy side dish, with plain vegetables or a piece of pan-seared meat or fish. But sometimes it’s fun to go a bit further and make something as written. In this case both the chicken and the sauce were good (and good together), and I could definitely see making either again on their own.
It’s been very wintry around here the last few days, with snow and temperatures rapidly heading downward from freezing. We’ve been doing a lot of cooking with spices, ginger and chiles to take the edge off, like the udon and shrimp in Thai-spiced broth we had last night, or the Parsi goat curry the night before.
We were so excited when we found frozen halal goat meat at a small Indian grocery in Everett. We’ve thought about sourcing goat locally, but haven’t actually cooked with it before, so this seemed like a good opportunity to try it. When we thawed it out and took a look, though, it appeared that someone with a bandsaw had randomly passed a whole goat through the blade and tossed the chunks in a bag – I couldn’t tell what parts we had to work with, and there were odd pieces of bone everywhere. Oh, well, we were going to be braising it anyway.
For those who have not had a large Rubbermaid container of leftover curried eggs to work through this week, and are therefore not completely burned out on them, here’s a recipe (I omitted to include it in my Easter brunch report, obviously a mistake).
Ideally, this should be done with freshly found Easter eggs, wet with dew, delivered to the kitchen by victorious children, anxious to get back out into the fray. The finished dish will be ready by the time all the hunting is done, assuming you’ve begun the prep beforehand.
If you have no children or Easter eggs available, however, you can boil eggs just for this purpose. You could even make them sometime other than Easter. I won’t tell. Continue reading
Surely we will run out of new shrimp curry recipes any time now. I mean, the shrimp section in our favorite curry cookbook isn’t that big. However, in the meantime, we’ve been keeping a bag of prawns in the freezer – few things make a better quick weeknight dinner – so we’re always up for a new recipe to try.
This curry uses yet another of those ingredients that you pick up in a store, thinking you’ve been seeing references to it everywhere – then once you bring it home you can’t find a single mention of it. This is what happened to us with sumac, although we’re beginning to have a bit more luck on that front. In this case it was fenugreek leaves – we bought a box at a short-lived Indian grocery that ill-advisedly opened in the back of an outbuilding in Burlington, behind the Outlet Mall. Of course, they turned out to be chopped and dried, when our recipes call for fresh or frozen. Sigh. Continue reading
Back during the summer we had been steadily working our way through the stunning book 660 Curries by Raghavan Iyer, but we’ve slacked off a bit of late. Everything from that book has tasted fabulous, but much of it, like a lot of Indian food in general, is very unphotogenic and so not very conducive to blogging.
This week we ended up needing to cook one more dinner at home than we had planned, so I went looking for a recipe that could be made from just what was in the freezer and pantry. This shrimp curry was just the ticket, since we had the last of a bag of frozen shrimp needing to be used, there was a bag of dried grated coconut in the cupboard, fresh cilantro left over from a Thai stirfry, and everything else is a standard pantry item for us. We scaled the recipe down to match the amount of shrimp we had. Continue reading
I picked up a wonderful book last month with my Village Books birthday discount, called Fat. It does my heart good (while, no doubt, clogging my arteries) to look at all the beautiful pictures of pork fat and cracklings. And shortbread. And bacon sandwiches. Mmmm.
I was feeling oddly guilty about having not made anything from the book yet, and decided that I would pick one thing to try, just to start out: butter chicken.