Curry Notes From Savi's Kitchen
The most requested dish friends ask me at a potluck is my authentic curry. Let me clarify a few things. Mothers in India do not make curry. It's a very restaurant kind of vocabulary. Mothers in Indian household make MASALA which is a gravy-consistency base depending upon the region they come from. Some Indian families will have a base of cooked down onion and tomatoes, ground up cashews or almonds, milk or heavy cream, ground up coconut and poppy seeds, peanut paste, cooked down greens, or cooked down yogurt.
So many interesting ways can we make a curry!
Some things to keep in mind:
1. Curry has to have a base sauce just like your salsa, marinara or Gravy. Most Indian curry bases are from coconut milk, cashew paste, tomato sauce, yogurt sauce and hundreds more (not kidding)
2. Let;s give some body and texture with veggies, grains, lentils and legumes (or other protein)
3. Now think about aromatics, spices and herbs
4. Select an oil to put all this together
5. Have some time with you to let it simmer
6. This is how a curry begins to evolve
It gets complex as we refine this base recipe according to our tastes like who long do you cook the base sauce, what kind of oil/ghee/butter do you you use, will the vegetables be steamed, fried or sautéed, what kind of spices do you use and what time during the cooking process are these spices and herbs are added and so on.
Each household will have several recipes which is passed on by their grandmother and the mothers will tweak them a little and the daughter will tweak more. That means there is no one single authentic Indian curry recipe, but each community has a basic recipe and tailored to their house again. Because it is an intuitive cooking and not a recipe following one.
I personally make curry twice a week for our family of 4. Once a week, it will be the way I like it - light, crisp with lots of vegetables and once a week the way my husbands likes - hearty, spicy and lots of beans. My kids just have to eat what we make...:)
My tried and tested recipe. Family and friends approved and serves an army :)
CHICKPEA CURRY + BUTTERNUT SQUASH + KALE
in coconut milk
2 TBS. grape seed oil/ any seed oil like sunflower, peanut or olive oil will do.
2 Large onion, finely chopped
4 Garlic cloves, minced
1 Two-inch piece of ginger, finely chopped
2 C. of butternut squash cut into cubes
3 C. of chopped kale
1 TBS. garam masala
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp. ground coriander
2 tsp. paprika/kashmiri chilli powder
1 tsp. turmeric
1 tsp. cayenne pepper or Indian hot Chilli powder
2 (15 oz.) cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed ( ** check out the footnotes for prepping your own chickpeas)
2 (14.5 oz ) cans diced tomatoes or 6 large tomatoes pureed
1 (13.5 oz) can full fat coconut milk (I used BPA-free Natural Value)
Salt to taste
Fresh chopped cilantro
Heat Grape seed oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onions, a pinch of salt, and sauté until translucent, about 6 minutes stirring every now and then.
Add garlic and Ginger and sauté for 1 more minute.
Add Butternut Squash and sauté for a minute and close the lid for about 4 minutes to soften them.
Add The spices and saute for a few second . Be mindful to keep the temperature low so that you do not burn the spices. Add diced tomatoes ( you can gently mash them if you like a smooth gravy) bring to a boil. Add Chickpeas and simmer and cook for 10 minutes.
Check the taste for salt and adjust. Stir in coconut milk and simmer again. Lastly add chopped kale and allow them to wilt before you turn the heat off. Sprinkle some cilantro right before you serve.
Serves 6 to 8 people. So half the recipe if you are cooking for 4. substitute other vegetables of your choice like Cauliflower, Potatoes, green beans, Squash
* *Cooking your own Chickpeas - Buy a bag of dried chickpeas, wash them and soak in room temp. water for about 8 hrs or overnight. (quick soak - bring a pot of water to boil and add chickpeas and cover the lid. They will ready to use in 2 hours). Then rinse the soaked chickpeas and transfer them back to the pot. Cover them with water and cook them with lid on till the chickpeas become soft. If you press them between you fingers, they should easily mash. Or use pressure cooker and they will be done in 15minutes.
From the earth - to your plate - to your life