October 23, 2014

Curry Sauce

This month's Recipe Redux challenge was created just for me. Well, not just for me but maybe with me in mind?

This is the challenge for October: Spooky Spices: You know they are lurking there: Way in the back of your spice drawer. There lie the herbs, spices, or rubs that are getting dusty because you’re afraid to use them… you simply don’t know what to do with them! Well, pull them out and show us a recipe you created to deliciously conquer that fearful spice. (Or maybe the recipe was a flop – and the spice still give you nightmares?!)

Now, please, don't judge me too harshly but they wrote that knowing my secret. I hate curry. Just the smell will chase me away.
I know we are in a small minority here, because curry dishes are loved worldwide and I often wonder what it is about that spice, that makes my face scrunch like a little kids, who has just smelt liver and onions for the first time. Yes, quite the nightmare.

Or is it?
I do know that curry is from India and is actually a blend of many spices, each cook creates their own. Maybe I could experiment and come up with a version that isn't an aversion to my senses.

When it comes to curry, I think a British one is a good place to start so I need to find a proper right Englishman who can cook. So who did I choose? Jamie Oliver.

I have been watching him when he was a single bloke that called himself the Naked Chef and have recreated many of his dishes over the years. Except, that is, his curry. With the recent release and excitement for his new cookbook, I thought it was the perfect place to start. It seems his favourite curry sauce is everyone else's also. He gives the basic mixture of spices, then the appropriate additions, depending on what protein you will be cooking.

Simple enough, even for me. I knew that jar of fenugreek seeds I bought would be good for something. The only thing I had to buy was Serrano peppers and I had to omit the curry leaves (no time to order and nowhere locally). I decided my use would be with chicken.

Wish me luck!!! Aren't I such a sorry arse? You would think I was about to pluck that chicken, geez.

Update: While I was measuring each ingredient into it's receptacle I realized it was the fenugreek that gave curry that unique smell, so what was any good little curry hating girl to do? I reduced the fenugreek from Jamie's teaspoon to 1/4 teaspoon. Yes, I am a wuss, but one that likes my customized version and The Nudge totally agreed with me.

While mine was made with chicken and coriander seeds, I added a few cubes of butternut squash to round out the meal. I served mine with brown basmati rice and we both ate our dinners. I am not sure he even realized that this was the curry, and psssst....I am not going to tell him.

If there are any other curry haters out there, make this sauce (with a smidgen of fenugreek). You will really like it and technically it is a curry sauce and a wonderful Asian sauce, that I might just use with everything, from now on.

Once again, I have to thank The Recipe Redux for showing me that where there is a will,, there was a way.

Jamie Oliver's Favourite Curry Sauce
Adapted from  Jamie Oliver’s Happy Days with the Naked Chef

* 5 tbsp vegetable oil
* 2 tsp mustard seeds
* 1 tsp fenugreek seeds
* 3 green chillies, seeds removed, thinly sliced
* A handful of curry leaves, ripped into small pieces
* 2 thumb sized pieces of ginger
* 3 onions, chopped
* 6 tomatoes, chopped
* 1 tsp turmeric
* 1 tsp chili powder
* 1 or 2 wineglass water (about 10 oz)
* 14 fluid oz can coconut milk
* Salt

Fish version
* 4 (225 g) haddock fillets, skinned and pin-boned
* 1 knob (1 tbsp) tamarind paste or 1 tsp tamarind syrup
* A very large handful baby spinach (optional)

Chicken version:
* 4 chicken breasts, sliced into 1/2 inch (1 cm) strips
* 2 tsp coriander seeds, crushed

Vegetarian version:
* 800 g mixed veg, chopped (potatoes, zucchini, onions, sweet potatoes, spinach, chard, cauliflower, lentil beans)

1. Heat the oil.  When hot add mustard seeds & wait for it to pop.  Then add fenugreek, green chillies, curry leaves and ginger. Stir fry for a few mins.
2. Using food processor, chop the onion and add to the pan.
3. When brown & soft, add the chili powder and turmeric.
4. Using same food processor, pulse the tomatoes & add to the pan.  Cook a couple of mins.
5. Add 1 or 2 wineglasses of water & the coconut milk.  Simmer about 5 mins until it has the consistency of thick heavy cream.
6. Season carefully with salt & take this sauce as the base.

7. To make fish curry:
- 1.  Add the fish & tamarind to the sauce and simmer 6 mins.
- 2.  Add baby spinach at the end of cooking time.

8. To make chicken version:
- 1.  Stir fry chicken strips & coriander seeds until light colored.
- 2.  Add to sauce & simmer for 10 mins.

9. Vegetable version:
- 1.  Simply add all vegetables to the sauce at the beginning when you add the onions.
- 2.  Continue to cook as normal and simmer until tender.