Thursday, February 24, 2011

The almost curry

After my visit to the Asian to see the Bali exhibit yesterday, I had a hankering for more exotic food. Well, curry is hardly exotic for me but it was as exotic as I was going to get because I didn't  have the energy to go out and buy a lot more ingredients to make a more authentic Indonesian or Balinese dish. Plus, I had a lot more cooked chicken in the fridge; being single means that I can stretch a chicken a long, long ways.

I started out with a pretty good sized spoon of Thai Kitchen Green Curry Paste and sauteed that with a cup of sliced onions and a glove or two of garlic. The mixture didn't have quite the curry fragrance that I was looking for so I added teaspoons of diced ginger root, black mustard seeds, fenugreek, turmeric and cardamon. While those were cooking, I cleaned and diced two carrots, the rest of a bunch of celery, the last of my small onions, and then, added them to the pan with a cup or two of chicken stock. Oh, and I diced up a small jalapeƱo pepper. I wanted heat but not so  much heat that I couldn't eat it. 

I have sometimes gone overboard with the pepper, so much so that I've had to add a cup or more of cream to tame the incendiary fires. When all the vegetables were softened, I added my pre-cooked, skinned and (now) diced chicken. A lot of recipes call for using breast meat but I prefer the darker meat for curries and stews because it's less dry. I added a cup of green peas on top and a cup of Greek yogurt to make the sauce more creamy. If you want more carbs, you can cook a potato in the broth or add rice. 


Now, the curry turned out decent - mildly spicy and good for our cold, rainy weather. But it wasn't the deeply rich curry flavor that I was looking for so next time I will get the spices to make the real deal.

I guess I'm going to call this Nancy's "Almost Curry." I found the green curry paste disappointing but wondered if it was me and not them; well, apparently it is THEM and not me. I read the reviews on Amazon.com and see that a lot of people are disappointed with it. But then, other people still love it so YMMV. On the other hand, a tablespoon or two of the sauce make my morning egg whites taste delicious and rich, even without any oil or butter.

If you want to make it, the ingredients are:
1 kitchen spoonful of Thai Kitchen Green Curry paste
tsp of black mustard seeds, fenugreek, turmeric and cardamon
Bay leaves
Ginger root, peeled and diced.
One of two garlic cloves, smashed or diced (you decide)
1 cup of sliced onions
Potatoes (I used one small Yukon Gold)
Chicken stock
Bunch of celery
Two or three carrots

1 cup of peas (originally omitted -cookie pointed out my mistake. Mea culpa)
Greek yogurt
Cooked chicken.

Saute the spices in a tablespoon or so of vegetable oil
until you hear the mustard seeds pop. Add the onions and garlic and cook until softened. Then, add all the diced and cleaned vegetables and stir into the mixture until everything is coated with the spices. Add the chicken stock and simmer until the vegetables are cooked to your liking. Add the green peas, cook for a few minutes and then, add the chicken and the yogurt. I like my vegetables crunchy so I don't cook this very long but, as with almost everything coming from Nancy's kitchen, you have permission cook, season and vary to your own tastes. 

BTW, I am gaining a lot more respect for people who write recipes. If you cook by instinct, like I do, measurements and portions are a foreign language. I feel like I should put a disclaimer on every food post - your results may vary and if the dish is a flop, it's probably the fault of she who posted the sort-of-recipe. 

4 comments:

Zoomie said...

I know what you mean about being uncertain in giving directions/amounts in recipes! I don't always follow the recipe, either, just try to warn people if I didn't in what ways I strayed. It gets easier, too - you'll see.

The word verification is "hospit" - ality! :-)

Matty Boy said...

I've tried several curry pastes and none of them are strong enough. Indian or Chinese curry powder is all I use now.

cookiecrumb said...

I did make my own curry powder a couple of times. Made enough for gifts. It was good, but I'll happily buy it premixed.
Your food looks so pretty.

(Oh, we could talk about recipe writing! It's hard. I used to copy-edit recipes for a newspaper. It's much easier for a person who didn't write the recipe to spot mistakes. Like, you didn't include the peas in your ingredients. Heh.)

namastenancy said...

Heh indeed. I added in the green peas and hereby hire you as my copy editor. Payment in kind! I fessed up to my secret for making the curry look good - I cheated by making a faux curry glaze with turmeric and coating a small spoonful of the curry with it. Then, I mixed that spoonful back into the pot of curry and it did improve the taste. At least I didn't color my food with watercolors or ink but I thought about it.