*****
culinary, home cooking

Curry Worry

– One great project for both of us –

Kat: It would be really silly trying to tell u everything about the curry just as starting to introduce u all the stars in the sky. This is a never ending story. Just too much. That is not my goal anyway – but Marti showed just such a big interest about this yummy food and asking me a lot – so i try to open up her mind a little bit. Just a tiny bit, because she hates soo many things that go with curry… but hope dies last, so lets see our curry trial….

First of all, some basic information: the word  ’curry’ is a Tamil word (kari) which means nothing but sauce. After this u can easily call any food curry which has a sauce. Yes, but it needs to contain spices as well. It doesnt really matter what kind of spice we are talking about – in our mind it means something really really hot – just because our well-known asian stuff is quite hot and spicey for a normal europian stomach. Especially Marti’s palette… anyway, there are sooooo many different variation exist everywhere… lets just claim; doesnt need to be hot like hell. In the acient time people found out, they need a mortar and a pestle to make their loveable food, because the spices need to be smashed somehow to reach the best flavours.

Curry is all around the world – i even found an article, when they called our ’gulyás’ as an eastern europian curry dish. I had a big smile… so all over the word, but mainly in Asian. Its a spicey stew can be made with meat, fish and seafood or vegetables. Of course u gonna find mix curries with everything in it – can be ’dry’ using just as amount of liquid what still can evaporate, and be ’wet’ adding a lot of coconut milk, cream, buttermilk or just stock to make it nice and juicy. Depends on the region as well and your taste.

Three Potatos Curry with Cashew
9/10

Before we jump in our little compatition of curries with Marti i need to mention some main differences between curry and curry. By region of course.

Lets start with the ’biggest’ one…

INDIA…

The base starts mostly with seeds, using coriander, cumin, brown mustard seeds, black peppercorn, chilli powder, turmeric, garam masala… frying them in a bit of ghee (indian clear butter) to get the best flavours than add some fresh ingredients like garlic, chilli, ginger… like use lots of tomato sauce or puree and finish the dish with fresh coriander leaves. Lots of their curries are vegetarian because of their religious so they must have use hell lot of vegetables like potato, lentils, peas, sweet potato, tomato, beans etc etc… A few different variation:

sambar: first course, thick spicy soup

rasam: second course; thin, runny, spicy soup

vindaloo (from Goa): main ingredient should be wine and garlic (thats what its name means), with the  added chilli it becomes even more hot

tindaloo: (vindaloo) × chilli2

phall:  tindaloo2 × ∞; the hottest curry you can imagine
One thing: this is not gonna win the competition i guess…

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Marti: I guess this is the right place to take over from Kat and write about this home cooked curry-project. Since I don’t know much about curries and co., I had to make Kat show me one and other things. For more than a week she cooked curries for dinner at home (thanks to unfortunate and unforseen circumstances that allowed her to do so…), but also making sure that the curry does NOT contain any of the following: fukkking tons of chilli and other hot as hell spices, fresh coriander, too much onion, and heaps of meat – so basically nothing that makes a curry a curry. Us, kids, had to score each dish according to how much we liked them. One basic principle we had: there is no perfect dish on earth exist, so no curry can have 10 points out of 10…

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Oxtail Madras Curry
9,75/10

It was <–this–> close to perfection!!!! Madras is the absolute winner,
which is quite surprising, considering the fact that hardly any of it’s
ingredients I like, such as: meat (especially beef, yukk!),
coriander (double-yukk!), onion, turmeric, and mustard seeds.
B
ut there was lentil in it, so I’m sure that lentil made the magic in here…!

* * *

THAILAND…

They have a ready-made paste mainly from fresh ingredients so this type should be much more aromatic than the indian one. The paste usually contains coriander, cumin and black pepper seeds, nutmeg, turmeric, paprika, shrimp paste, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, chilli, galangal, fresh coriander… using a mortal and the pestle to puree this, heat up and add the rest of the stuff (season with fish sauce, brown sugar, lime, thai basil…) and always finish with coconut cream or milk which makes is soooo creamy and milder (balance the chilli).

Popular thai curries:

Yellow curry (kaeng kari, color: turmeric, ginger, mace, fenugreek – mostly richer and creamier because of the coconut cream which perfectly can balance the spiciness of the dish)

Green curry (kaeng khiao wan, color: green chillies, kaffir lime peel, fresh coriander leaves- roots-stems, lemon grass, lime rind – the name means ’sweet’, but tend to be as hot as red curries with a tiny bit of desired sweetness)

Red curry (kaeng phet – color: red chillies, turmeric, paprika – usually its a ’spicy soup’ when coconut milk is added served with steamed rice)

Jungle curry (kaeng pa – curry of the nature from the northern jungles of Thailand where people use whatever they have – no coconut milk and usually prepared with wild boar)

Sour curry (kaeng som, sweet-sour and spicy fish soup, the base is a normal curry just add more water and use lots of tamarind and palm sugar – no coconut milk)

Muslim curry (kaeng matsaman, influence of Indian Moslem cooking in the use of dry spices combined with Thai fresh pastes and herbs and needs more time to cook cause of the bigger pieces of meet, which can be beef, duck, chicken but never pork)

Burmese curry (khao soi, spicy soup with special traditionally scissors-cutted noodles, similar to the Muslim curry but with a thinner consistency – served with rice or egg noodles, pickled cabbage, fermented soy beans, pork rind, shallots, lime, chilli)

Phanaeng curry (milder than other curries using enough coconut cream and palm sugar – adding peanut to this dish quite popular)

Penang Fish Curry w/ Pineapple and Peanut, Saffron & Vanilla Rice
9.25/10

Just to make life a little more difficult, one of our guests hates pineapple
from the deepest of his heart, so Kat had to camouflage the pineapple juice
in the sauce… she did a great job, nobody could detect the pineapple flavour!
;-)

* * *

INDONESIA…

First of all, i do think that this is gonna be the winner on Marti’s table, just because its so sweeeeet…

The sweetness is mainly in the dry spices (coriander, cumin, turmeric, cardamom, cloves, cinnamon) what has a perfect match with all the fresh ingredients like chilli, lemongrass, ginger, galangal, tamarind, shrimp paste and u can always find something which gives an extra freshness like spring onion or some mint… So this type of curry appears in your palette just in a perfect way – sweet, sour and spicy enough. Always using coconut milk for the right consistency and adding sweet fruits to a savoury dish is quite alright here (pineapple, banana, mango etc etc).

One of the most popular indonesian ’curry’ dish is the ’Rendang’ – which is a really meaty, spicy and quite dry dish. Cooking this dish pretty time-consuming and requires patience, u need to cook your meat so slowly, that it could take 4 hours to make it. First u get your coconut milk, boil it up adding your spices with your meat. The slow cooking process allows the meat to absorb all the flavours and become tender, getting really dark colour. After hours and hours the liquid starts to disappear – boiling period finished, frying period starts till all the coconut milk evaporated and the meat seems totally dry…. u can see 3 stages during cooking: Gulai (ready but still really wet) – Kalio (ready and half of the liquid disappeared) – Rendang (ready and fully dry). Really complex and yummy dish.

* * *

MALAYSIA…

They hardly use any dry ingredients or spices – so their curry carries a different, not that deep but more fresh flavour. The shopping list could look like: chilli, ginger, galangal, tamarind, lemon grass, lime, lemon, palm sugar, fish sauce, shrimp paste, fresh coriander… always goes with coconut milk.

U can find here ’Rendang’ as well – more a liquidy-Kalio stage consistency. They sure to be more busy, cause they are not willing to stand that many hours next to the stove waiting the moist evaporate, their solution is the ’kerisik’, a toasted grated coconut paste – helps to make it thicker easier and faster. Lots of versions of Rendang available in Malaysia: beef, chicken, duck, cattle liver, cattle lung, eggs rendang. It’s definitely worth to try…

Nonya Chicken and Lime Curry
8.5/10

Nonya food is a mixture of Chinese and Malay ingredients with Malay
spices and flavourings. The blending of the two cuisines evolved
because Chinese merchants who settled in trading centres in Penang
and Singapore were unable to bring Chinese women with them,
so they married Malay wives.

This is Life’s Cooking School! :-)

The other most popular ’curry’ u can find here is the ’Laksa’ soup. There are two basic type: curry laksa – spicy coconut soup with noodles – and asam laksa – sour, fish-based soup.

Curry laksa: (include bean curd puffs, fish, shrimps, cockles, sometimes using pork blood, chicken or lobster as a special delicacy)

laksa lemak: fish-based rich coconut gravy (Thai version is the same: Laksa Thai)

laksam: fish-based rich coconut gravy with fish flesh and eel serving with a very thick flat white rice noodles

katong laksa: fish-based rich coconut gravy with small pieces of noodles

Laksa curry soup with clams and mussels
9.5/10

Simply finger-licking goood! :-)
Note to self: baby coriander has the exact same disguisting flavour as “adult” coriander! :S

They have curries (cá ri) just because of the influence of other countries – so if i can use this expression: they take it easy. Dont really worry too much and using too many ingredients – got the heavenly…

’curry powder’ (coriander, cumin, turmeric, fenugreek, ginger, garlic, asafoetida, fennel, caraway, cinnamon, clove, mustard seeds, green and black cardamom, nutmeg, long pepper, black pepper etc.)

…and this is the main ingredient. Just add some fresh chilli, lemongrass, ginger and using more sugar and coconut milk as any other countries.

Two main type of curry exist, one is the creamy ’thai way’ from Thailand, the other is the ’stir fry’ way from the Caribbean with no coconut milk. Most popular is the beef brisket or oxtail curry which served with bread for dipping the delicious sauce.

* * *

BURMA…

They have a very different understanding of curry. Principal ingredients is the fresh onion (which gives the body of the rich gravy), indian spices (turmeric, paprika, cardamom) and red chillies, ginger, fresh coriander and huge amount of ’ngapi’ (fermented fish and shrimp paste). Using surprisingly lot of oil (sesame or peanut) for helping the food to last longer.

* * *

CHINA…

The cuisine of China is soooo huge, but still there is a small room for curries… They using a mildly spicy yellow curry powder to make a kind of watery ’satay’ sauce, and thats what they serve with any kind of meat, veg and a big ball of steamed rice.

* * *

JAPAN…

Even i was surprised when i saw, that this stuff is exist in Japan – one of the most popular dish and its quite sophisticated. Their curry contains onions, potatoes, carrots, celery – just like a normal stew, but avoiding the too spicy using grated apples and honey for the right sweetness.

                karé raisu (curry and rice with pickled veg)

                katsu-karé (curry and rice topped with breaded pork cutlets – tonkatsu)

                karé udon (think noodles in a curry soup)

                karé-pan (deep fried battered bread with curry stuffing in the middle)

Japanese Squid and Chorizo Curry with Black Rizotto
8/10

* * *

There are soo many different countries where we can find curry (Sri Lanka, Korea, Philippines, Pakistan etc etc…) but as i said, its a never ending story. I can not make everyone happy – i want to make Marti happy and that’s it. Soooo… now everyone can have a secret bet, which is gonna be the winner for my dear flatmate…

There’s only one dish is missing to complete the Curry Project, and that is the Marti Curry. It is one oncoming event from my side and it’s special in more than one way: only ingredients I like are allowed to use, like vegetables (cauliflower, green peas and stuff in particular), cool seasoning (to be sorted…) and also it has to be served with rice and poppadoms. Furthermore, I’ll be the cook and Kat’ll be the appointed photographer, so there will be something challenging for her, too… :-)))

All I can say, CURRY UP!

xxx
Marti

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About Marti

Photoholic, simply crazy.

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  1. Pingback: Spicy water | The Cook's Nest - February 23, 2015

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