Currying flavour

Tuesday has become my weekly cooking day, I make something I can take into work for lunch all week. Last week Jorge made his debut processing the dough for tamales, this week it’s just me, my knives, and a ten litre stockpot. The name we give this week’s dish is “Curry,”  for the complex blend of spices I’ll be using. There is a resemblance to some Indian dishes, but this is an “a la Blake” recipe, with international influences.

I’ll be trying a new mix of vegetables this week. My last curry was a dead on Baingan Bharta, my Indian friends at work complimented the smell of the dish but wouldn’t try it, I got that “who does this white boy think he is, making Baingan Bharta?” vibe.  So this week will be my own invention, substituting some ingredients and adding others.

Here’s what you need:

1 medium red onion chopped coarsely

2 medium leeks, rinse well and chop coarsely

1 medium eggplant, cubed

2 bell peppers, one orange, one red, chopped coarsely

1 bunch of cilantro, coarsely chopped

10 oz package of frozen chopped spinach, thawed

1 pound okra, cooked (use ghee or a high temperature oil, cook until crisp)

1 pound paneer, cut in 1/2 inch cubes ( if there is no Indian market near you, substitute queso de freir)

1 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes

1 15 oz can chickpeas (garbanzo beans)

2 Bay leaves

1 cinnamon stick

12 whole cloves

10 green cardamom pods, crushed

Piece of ginger about the size of your palm, diced

6 garlic cloves, pressed

1 tbsp chili powder

2.5 tbsp ground coriander

2 tbsp ground cumin

2 tbsp garam masala

1 tsp tumeric

Olive oil

You’ll want to serve with rice, I recommend Jasmati rice made with one teaspoon of cumin seed per cup of rice.

Prep your work area first. Cook the okra, chop the vegetables, cube the paneer and set out your spices as follows. In one small container place Bay leaves, cinnamon stick, cloves and cardamom. In another small container place the ginger and garlic. In another container place the chili powder, tumeric, coriander, cumin and garam masala.

In a large stockpot, heat three tablespoons of olive oil. Add the leek, cook until tender then add the onion. Once the onion becomes translucent add the Bay leaves, cinnamon, cardamom and cloves. cook for about a minute.

Add the peppers, ginger and garlic, cook until the peppers soften (a few minutes). Reduce heat.

Add the chili powder, tumeric, coriander, cumin and garam masala, stir for about a minute, add the eggplant and tomatoes, stir and cover.

Light the fireplace.

Add the spinach, okra, chopped cilantro, and chickpeas, cover and simmer for half an hour, stirring every five minutes or so. Start the rice, continue simmering the curry.

Sit in front of the fire and open a beer. I chose Nostradamus tonight.

When the rice is done, turn off the heat on the curry, remove the Bay leaves and cinnamon, and add the paneer. Stir well, let sit at least five minutes.

Makes Tuesday night dinner and lunch through Sunday.

This came out a bit bland (for me), next time I’ll increase the chili powder, cumin, and garam masala by at least twenty five percent. There is a pleasant mix of textures and colours, and nutritionally it covers all the bases.

Next week? I’m thinking of roasted vegetables and a soy sauce/orange marinated tofu over cous cous, kind of a Moroccan feel, but anything could capture my imagination. Now if I can just find someone to cook for…



5 comments on “Currying flavour

  1. Cindy Mullins says:

    Definitely a complex mix/blend of of spices. I’m not familiar with Indian spices so seeing cilantro, cumin and chili powder reminds me of Mexican cooking which I am familiar with. (or with which I am familiar) Even the clove and cinnamon reminds me of some Mexican citrus dishes. Hope it turned out delicious!

    Okra. I used to really hate okra. Now I’d like to have some fried up in cornmeal once in a while, but I can never find it at our Farmer’s Market. I’m sure they have it at most markets, just not in Ojai. Not on the Sundays I shop, anyway. I’m a bit surprised because we have a little of everything here and the market has grown greatly since Lynn and I used to take our beer-making products there.

    Have a good week.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Mari Collier says:

    I priced some of those spices you are using. A tad high for my budget, plus I don’t want to eat something all week. Growing up on the farm spoiled me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • kblakecash says:

      This would feed a family of four with some leftovers, I’m living alone and working too many hours to cook every day. I agree spices are expensive, but I have stocked my spice cabinet over the years so I don’t need to buy everything at once.


  3. Mike R says:

    Baingan Bharta sounds wonderful. In better economic times I used to visit a northern-style Indian restaurant here in Fresno. There is no end to the way they mix spices. I supposed I’m blessed in that I can eat the same meal every night, forever, if it is a good meal. The beer sounds great, as well. I very much like the higher alcohol content beers—to get away with it the brewers have to know their art and turn out smooth nectar.

    Blake, I wish that you had someone to share your meals with. I know all too well the preparation of large dishes that I can eat through the week.

    Liked by 1 person

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