Monday, June 4, 2012

Real Curry with Robin

Dear Jess,

Robin and I have longed to take some time together and have her teach me how to make a real Indian curry. At last. The day came. The only specifics I gave her for what type of curry was 'I want it orange, and I want it full of vegetables.'

It was pouring rain as we ran around town picking up vegetables and a blender. Apparently you need a blender (much to my joy! I have wanted to buy one for quite some time.) This was the day. Curry. And a new blender. It made up for the rain that soaked us through before we made it home.

The brilliant part about this day was making spicy food on cold, wet day. The brilliant part about this meal was the lack of a recipe. Robin walked me through each step, and I will do my best to do that very thing for you now.

The first thing we made was something called Pakora. This is essentially vegetables (usually potatoes and hot peppers, though we used greener veggies) deep fried in Besan (chick pea flour.) When I asked Robin where she got her Besan, she giggled and said '... The Indian store... in Brampton...' Looks like I will be making my own Besan in the future.

The vegetables we used were: zucchini, eggplant, onion and green peppers. You need to slice them thinner than thin. Robin says 'They need to be so thin because you don't leave them in the oil for very long. In that short time though, they need to cook.'

Choose a pan/pot that you would like to do the frying in. Drop a lot of canola oil in it. We used a deep frying pan and put about 2 inches deep of oil. We ended up having to flip these over, but if you wanted to do it in a deeper dish, you can fully submerse your Pakora. Turn your element to medium heat and let the oil heat uncovered.

In a large bowl transfer and even mixture of the veggies. (You can do this in batches. We did 2.5 batches) You then add chickpea flour, cumin seeds, paprika and salt and pepper. 

Mix it all together. If you want to add more Besan then you can do so. The 'recipe' is 'whatever feels right'. Take a bunch of the mixture and tip in into your oil.

When you flip it, it should stay in one clump. If not maybe add more Besan to your bowl, or let it sit a little longer. When they are done, place them on a plate with a paper towel. 

We served them with a spicy ketchup we mixed up. Robin says it's usually served with a special sauce that you make. Apparently it takes a long time... so we left that for another day.

When in the grocery store picking up all we needed, Robin asked 'Should we do Rice or Naan bread with the curry?' I gave the obvious answer of 'Both!'  'Good,' she giggled. 'That's what I do too!' It was meant to be. Our main dish I soon after learned is called Aaloo Mutter. It means 'Potato and Peas.' This is the curry I have been waiting for. 

We used 3 medium sized potatoes, frozen peas, 2.5 sweet onions, can of crushed tomatoes, 3 cloves of garlic, a nub of ginger, cumin seeds, paprika, turmeric, salt and pepper, and olive oil. 

Blob some oil into the bottom of your pan. Add a good sprinkle of cumin seeds. Now: enter the blender. Blend your onions, ginger and garlic. Add this to your pot after the seeds have simmered for 5 minutes. 

Add your tomatoes and let simmer for 5 minutes. Add paprika, turmeric, peas and water. Simmer for another 5-10 minutes. Add potatoes and bring to a boil. Heavily simmer until potatoes are cooked. Feel free to add more water if you feel it is necessary.

For your rice: in your pot dump in some oil and cumin seeds. After 5 minutes add your onions and let them soften but not brown. Add some water if you think they will start to brown. 10 minutes later add your peas. Then add as much rice and water as your rice package says to do and cook according to that same package. 

There is one last item that is well worth the small amount of time it takes to make. It's called Raita. I learned it is a jazzed up version of Dahin which is yogurt. We put Greek yogurt in a bowl with milk to make it thinner. We then added some grated cucumber, salt and pepper. Robin then added some Raita Masala (a spice she brought) and paprika. Stir in all together and it's heavenly on top of your curry. (Robin says it is common for people to add onion, tomatoes and hot peppers to this as well)

When all is done, heat up your Naan bread and enjoy!

It was so great to see you again this weekend! Before we know it your wedding will have come and gone and you'll be off on your honeymoon!

So much love,

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