In a departure from my normal practice, and because of the annoying weather… I thought I’d share my dish of the day!
Fatbirder’s Vegetable Curry
2 Teaspoons Cumin
1 Teaspoon Cardamom Powder
1 Teaspoon Coriander Powder
½ Teaspoon Ground Ginger
½ Teaspoon Fenugreek
½ Teaspoon Chilli Powder
1 ½ Teaspoon Turmeric
½ Teaspoon Asafoedita
1 Kallo Low Salt Vegetable Stock Cube
1 bay leaf
8 Green Cardamom Pods
1 Black Cardamom Pod
10 Black Peppercorns
Teaspoon Mustard Seeds
3 Garlic Cloves
1 Red Chilli
1 Red Pepper
Half Small cauliflower
Half Small Turnip or Swede
Half a small cabbage (or even less if you used a tightly packed one)
3 Medium Potatoes
6 Medium Mushrooms
Small Tin Plum Tomatoes including juice
Tinned Chick Peas
NB ALL of the ingredients can be varied according to your taste or available vegetables. I am heavy with Cumin and light on Ginger etc for my personal preference. How you make up your curry paste is up to you… but do not be tempted to use Garam Masala or other pre-mixed spices. Learn the flavours of the spice and experiment with how much or little to use. I was taught the basics half a century ago by an Indian friend whose mantra was use whatever you want and constantly experiment with ingredients and amounts.
Curry Day Two
- Prepare your stock cup – For the stock use a mug to dissolve a stock cube in boiling water and add the other ingredients – I tend to use a pestle and mortar to bruise the seed pods without grinding them small, just to ensure flavour is released. Put to one side.
- Prepare your spice mix – Use a mug and add the dry spices to it. Add a little water and mix until you have a thick paste. Put to one side
- [Before you start cooking] clean and finely chop half of the onion, the garlic cloves and the chilli. Put to one side.
- Open a small tin of plum tomatoes and put to one side.
- Separately roughly dice the other half of the onion, the pepper, mushrooms and any other vegetables leaf vegetables. Put to one side.
- Steam the potato, turnip and swede for 15 minutes. For another five minutes add the cauliflower. Take off the heat and drain. Leave to one side.
- Add two tablespoons of Ghee to a large pan (I use a metal casserole dish on the hob, as it has a lid to use later) and the coconut cream (I use about ¼ of the block. Allow these to melt on medium heat. When liquid, add the finely chopped onion, chilli and garlic. Allow this to cook but not caramelise.
- Add the spice paste and stir well, allow the spices to cook, but as they begin to brown take the pan off the heat. (Cooking the spice is VITAL to the taste, it is this process that creates the flavours of the dish.) Add garlic paste and tomato paste to taste. I use about two teaspoons of garlic paste and at least a tablespoon of tomato paste. Put back on the heat and add the mango chutney (leave this our if you don’t like a sweet background… I use it to take away the harshness of chilli and as I do not use any salt in cooking it helps bring out the flavour of all the spices). As the ingredients begin to thicken add the stock cup and thoroughly stir. Allow to cook a little.
- Add the raw vegetables and stir well. Put the lid on the dish and turn the heat to the minimum. Allow the vegetables to cook for five minutes then add the tinned tomatoes and stir in well, put the lid back for another few minutes.
- Add the cooked vegetables (and chick peas if wished). Sir in well. Put the lid back on and take off the heat.
- Leave the curry to cook in its own heat.
- When you wish to eat, re-heat the curry and serve with rice of your choice, lime pickle and mango chutney.
There is enough here to fill up four healthy eaters or three fat birders. As Maggie is a carnivore I eat the lot over the course of three days. Each day the flavours intensify.
There are myriad variations according to personal preferences. Some would not pre-cook any ingredient except for the potatoes and swede. I often do not precook the cauliflower and ALL of the measures of spice are variable, I never cook the same curry twice as I never use anything other than a teaspoon and my fingers to add herbs or spices. Sometimes (as in the illustration) I cook the potatoes separately as Bombay Bhaji using a limited spice mix of turmeric, cumin, coriander, fenugreek, chilli and mustard seeds.
Carnivores can add raw peeled prawns to the curry before reheating (once they are pink they are cooked). If you want to use any meat it is simply a matter of cooking the meat separately and adding at any stage, or dicing the meat then adding as soon as the spices are cooked the spices are cooked, and cooking for 10 minutes before you add the raw vegetables.
As they say on all the TV cooking shows… enjoy!