Tag Archives: curry

Thai Pumpkin and Salmon Red Curry

18 Feb

thai pumpkin and salmon red curry

Pumpkin and salmon might seem like a strange combination, but all doubts will leave your mind once you taste this curry. I first had this curry at Thai X-ing, an amazing DC restaurant, where it was one of a variety of courses on their set menu. While everything there was delicious, this dish in particular stood out and still comes to mind (I spend a lot of time thinking about food). The tender and sweet pumpkin melts into the spicy, creamy, curry sauce, thickening it, and the salmon adds another dimension of richness. This version captured my memory of the dish well and was far easier than I thought it would be to throw together. The most time-consuming part was chopping up the pumpkin (I think what I got was actually a kabocha squash, and it had a particular thick, knobbly skin) and prepping the salmon (it seems to be the trend around here to leave the bones in the fish when selling it). I’ve been eating this curry for just about every meal since I made it, served over quinoa (though rice will be just as good and more authentic), and I’m already planning for when I can make it again.

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Thai Peanut Sauce

8 Feb

thai peanut sauce

I’ve long been enamored of Thai food, and that’s probably no surprise since it’s right up my alley in many ways – strong, bold flavors with no fear of spice, often filled with fresh vegetables and herbs, and, of course, delicious salty-sweet combinations. This sauce is a perfect example. It’s packed with flavor from a generous helping of Thai red curry paste, and the savory richness of peanut butter is well-balanced by sugar. It certainly doesn’t hurt that it’s also ridiculously simple to make and addictively tasty. The sauce can be thinned out with extra vinegar for a salad dressing, or used as is for dipping raw veggies. But, of course, it’s most amazing in its traditional use, alongside Thai satay (I’ll be posting a recipe for Thai chicken satay next week). The recipe makes quite a lot – enough for you to try it in a variety of applications, so long as you can resist eating up spoonfuls plain.

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Chana Masala

23 Jan

chana masala

Despite the lengthy ingredient list, this North Indian chickpea stew comes together quickly and easily. It’s more of a tart curry, rather than some of the creamy ones with lots of warming spices (cinnamon, cloves, etc). Here, acidic tomatoes, tart amchoor powder, and citric lemon juice are strong components, alongside a hefty quantity of spices, of course. But it still manages to feel balanced, especially when served over rice (or quinoa, as I served it). I added cauliflower florets to my version (I think that actually makes this gobi chana masala), which I think are great alongside the creamy chickpeas. A sprinkle of cilantro at the end proved surprisingly crucial in rounding out the flavors (I wouldn’t omit it), and a little yogurt on top helps to quench the heat of hot peppers and ground cayenne pepper. I also topped mine with pickled red onions and thought their crispness was a great complementary texture. This curry, by the way, only improves with a couple of days in the refrigerator, so don’t hesitate to make this large batch even if you’re only cooking for one or two.

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Mulligatawny Soup

30 Jul

mulligatawny soup

A while back, I posted a recipe for a Japanese adaptation of Indian curry. But by far the most well-known adaptations of Indian cuisine come from the British. These fusions have become so widespread that it’s not unlikely that you’re already quite familiar with some of them – such as chicken tikka masala and vindaloo – from your favorite Indian restaurants (and in fact, they are now prevalent in India itself). Mulligatawny soup is a great example, the name itself a British take on an Indian phrase meaning “pepper water.” There are many variations, but they’re usually a rich yellow or orange color from the spices (if you’re using a curry powder without turmeric, make sure to add some) and often contain meat. This particular version, however, is vegetarian, with red lentils and carrots providing the bulk of the soup, and coconut milk (very popular in Anglo-Indian cuisine) stirred in for extra richness.

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Japanese Curry

16 May

japanese curry

Japanese curry is an interesting phenomenon – traditional Indian curries twisted their way through the British to Japan and beget this now widely popular dish. Usually served over rice (or sometimes noodles) and often called “curry rice” as a result, Japanese curry adds extra sweetness over its predecessors (from a grated apple in this recipe – sometimes raisins are also added) and is thickened with a flavorful roux. I can’t help but love every incarnation of curry, from Thai to Indian to British, and Japanese curry is no exception. Usually made with humble potatoes, carrots, and peas, I like to switch out the potatoes for cauliflower and add in mushrooms and chickpeas, resulting in a variety of flavors and textures, as well as quite a lot of food.

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Roasted Curried Cauliflower

23 Apr

roasted curried cauliflower

I’ve been trying to fit a lot into my life. All things I feel quite passionate about (this blog included), but sometimes it really makes me crave simplicity. Something that doesn’t require complicated techniques or rare ingredients or constant attention. So here’s what I threw together when I had a head of cauliflower that needed to be used. Nothing too crazy, just four ingredients and a hot oven. And the result, the aroma of curry as the edges of the cauliflower caramelize in the oven, soon ready as a versatile side.

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Fasoulia (Middle-Eastern Spiced Kidney Beans)

9 Apr

fasoulia

Fasoulia is simply Arabic for beans. Many different dishes go by this name, sometimes there’s meat included, sometimes a splash of pomegranate molasses. But the base of beans and tomatoes with Middle-Eastern spices stays consistent. I used kidney beans here, but other beans (including green beans) would also work, and my dad says black-eyed peas are what’s usually used in Lebanon. Traditionally, this dish would be cooked with baharat, a Middle-Eastern spice mix, but I didn’t feel up to making a new spice mix when cooking this, so after looking at the ingredients typically included in baharat (paprika, black pepper, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and cardamom) settled on using a mixture of curry powder and paprika to come close to the same flavor. This combination worked very well, although if you have baharat, that would certainly be best.

Fasoulia is usually served with breakfast, and I found it tasted amazing topped with a fried egg (or mixed with scrambled eggs) and sprinkled with a little zaatar. But this would also work by itself as a stew for a hearty lunch or dinner. I love how perfectly simple this recipe is while still managing to pack a lot of flavor; it’s really a great reminder how important spices are to a dish, so now is a good time to make sure you’re using fresh spices (ground spices typically don’t stay good for much longer than six months, and you can easily gauge how much flavor is left in your spices by taking a smell – you want a fairly strong aroma).

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West African Peanut Soup

12 Mar

african peanut soup

Despite my love of bacon, I’ve recently found myself cooking a surprising amount of unintentionally vegan food. Meat is sadly quite pricey (especially if you’re like me and have qualms about eating factory-farmed meat with hormones and antibiotics), so I’m turning more and more to filling meals using fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, beans, and lentils. And I’m surprised at the great flavors I can develop using these ingredients. Take, for example, this West African peanut soup. Mostly basic ingredients, but somehow combining peanut butter and tomato paste with aromatics and curry powder yields a nearly irresistible soup. Vegans, vegetarians, and meat-eaters alike rave about this soup. And this could be a great base for a number of variations – sweet potatoes or other root vegetables would be a natural fit in here, as would chicken (if you can’t resist the urge to add some meat).

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Vegetable Korma

24 Feb

vegetable korma

Although Indian food is one of my favorites, I’ve often faltered when it comes to recreating my favorite curries. So after a friend of mine cooked up a very tasty vegetable korma, I knew I had to grab the recipe and make it my own. The use of cashew butter as a thickener adds some extra decadence (and protein) here, and I used my homemade Madras curry powder to make sure the flavors were fresh and strong. Ever since I’ve discovered the magic of roasting cauliflowers and carrots, especially when adding them to stews, I can’t resist so that’s what I’ve chosen here, but this curry would go well with any vegetables you have around (or with chicken or lamb, if you so desire). I served my korma with a quick cucumber mint raita – yogurt mixed with shredded cucumber, mint, and chaat masala – which will help cool the fire if your curry powder is nice and spicy (or if you opt to toss a fresh hot pepper or two in your korma).

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Curried Carrot Soup

22 Feb

curried carrot soup

I cook so many complex recipes that sometimes it’s nice to put together a simple dish. A dish with less than ten ingredients (even including the basics like olive oil, salt, and pepper!). This curried carrot soup builds on the natural sweetness of carrots, enhanced by oven roasting. The trick to the best flavor here is letting the carrots caramelize in the onion while caramelizing onions on the stove top. Using fresh curry powder is crucial (and freshly-ground homemade curry powder is ideal).

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