Sunday, 11 July 2010

Curry Powder

This is in keeping with my last DIY post as I mentioned that I come from a long line of people who can't look at a pattern or recipe without automatically making plans to change it.

For many years, I was unsatisfied with store-bought curry powder.  Too yellow.  Too bland.  So I started doing some reading and research, and learned that curry powder is actually a BLEND of tasty seeds and spices.  Well!  That called for experimentation!  I have gradually arrived at my OWN blend, which I shall now share with you.

Before you run screaming for the hills ... this curry mix is safe for spice weenies! Although I love anything hot enough to clear my sinuses and make my eyes water, I also love sharing food I prepare ... and the majority of my friends and acquaintances are spice weenies. If you seriously have a heat problem, you could decrease the amounts of chili pepper and ginger to suit your own palate ... experiment a little! That's how I arrived at this particular blend!

First, you will need a small dry cast iron fry pan (DO NOT turn heat on yet!!!), as well as 2 measuring spoons ... one 1 tablespoon, and one 1/2 tablespoon.

Second, measure 1/2 tablespoon of each of the following ingredients into the fry pan  (sorry about the shaky photos ... hard to measure and snap pictures with shaky hands all at the same time):  dried chili pepper, whole allspice, and fenugreek seeds.

Third, measure 1 tablespoon of each of the following ingredients into the fry pan:  mustard seeds, coriander seeds, and cumin seeds.

Fourth, turn heat under fry pan to medium-LOW and slowly toast seeds and things ... stirring constantly .... until lightly toasted and the seeds start to pop.  Trust me ... the smell will be divine!

Fifth, remove from heat and let cool, then grind to powder.  I use an old fashioned cast iron mortar and pestle for this. 
Please note, this method takes time and muscles. You can use a clean coffee grinder. You could probably also use a food processor or blender. I happen to enjoy using a mortar and pestle! The gradual release of all those toasty yummy smells is INCREDIBLE!!! I just don't believe you get the same effect using an electrical appliance.

Sixth ... once ground to powder ... pour into storage container.   

And finally, seventh, add to your ground mixture:

1/2 tablespoon ground ginger         1 tablespoon turmeric

Eighth, label your mixture ... it's now ready to enjoy!  I use a ziploc baggie which I keep inside a glass jar in the fridge.  This amount makes enough for 4 or 5 uses.  I use my curry mix quite often, so make this up every few weeks, sometimes more often.

So I'm sure you're wondering what kind of recipes I use this curry powder in ... right?  One of my favourite "quickies" is Dal.

Begin by sauteeing some chopped onion and garlic in a bit of olive oil.

Once the onion and garlic has softened, add a generous tablespoon of curry powder.
NOTE:  a generous tablespoon of "grocery store" generic curry powder would be bitter and overwhelming, so if you're not making your own curry powder, tread carefully!

Then add some fresh grated ginger ...
... followed by 1 to 1 1/2 cups of split red lentils.
Add about 3 cups of vegetable stock (I used boullion cube ... but I do freeze veggie cooking water and often use that instead).
Cook about 10 minutes, or until lentils lose most of their red colour and the mixture feels "slodgy".  Add more water if necessary ... you don't want it too dry.  Think thick stew.  That particular day, I enjoyed the dal over some coconut rice (brown rice cooked with coconut milk instead of water) with some garbanzo beans and chopped fresh tomato.  Yummy dinner in a hurry!

NOTE:  leftover dal thickens up and becomes "stodgy" instead of slodgy ...
... which becomes a very good thing slapped onto a flour tortilla with a bit of fresh lettuce and salsa!  Lunch to go!

It's definately time for quick and simple recipes here right now as it's very hot.  Miss Boots is trying to live on my dining room table directly under the overhead fan.  I don't approve ... but it's too hot to fight about it!

Have a good weekend, y'all!


The Quintessential Magpie said...

That's neat! I would never have thought to make my own. I love curry, so this sounds good to me.

I popped over from Deborah's blog to say, "Hi." Hope you'll come visit me, too. I love company.


Sheila :-)

Lynne's Somewhat Invented Life said...

Hi, came here from Karen Deborah's. Do you know what you are? An overachiever. Definitely. I loved that you said some people look at a recipe and figure out how they are going to change it. It's so true. I do it all the time and sometimes the result is NOT GOOD. Oh my, the tales I could tell.

Angela said...

Came by to meet the lady Karen has introduced..I LOVE your profile.I'm me..unique..LOVE IT!!