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CURRY IS YUM!

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[Jun. 21st, 2005|05:52 pm]
CURRY IS YUM!

welovecurry

[serpina]
Uh-oh, this community needs to be spiced up again! Surely y'all have some more recipes to share. I'm new here, a gourmet graduate student cook from California living in Hungary until the rest of the summer.

I love curries when the weather starts getting hot. The spicy heat actually cools the body down. So I tried making this lentil/potato/pea curry yesterday, with some minor changes and substitutions, and it turned out quite tasty.


How I made it, based on what I had around and had access to here in Budapest, was more or less as follows:

Lentil, Pea, and Potato Curry

Lentils, peas and bite-size cubes of potato in a richly-spiced tomato and coconut milk gravy.

4 tablespoons oil (vegetable and olive mix)
4 onions—finely chopped
5 cloves garlic—minced (crushed)
4 teaspoons powdered ginger (but I wish I'd used fresh)
2 teaspoons fresh-ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground turmeric
1 teaspoon fresh-ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon paprika
2 dried chilies, crushed
some dried red pepper flakes
A mess of potatoes, peeled and cut into bite-size cubes
1 cup red lentils
a kilo of fresh tomatoes—chopped
1 14-ounce can coconut milk
about 2.5 cups homemade chicken stock
2 teaspoons garam masala
1.75 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon brown sugar
2 cups freshly shelled green peas
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint (though I would have liked coriander if I'd had it
juice of half a lemon
1 cup basmati rice

HEAT the oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat and cook the onions for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. ADD the garlic and all spices except garam masala and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. ADD the potato and lentils and stir to coat with the spice mixture. ADD the tomatoes, coconut milk, stock, garam masala, salt and sugar, bring to the boil and cover with a lid. REDUCE the heat to medium and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. WHILE the curry simmers, cook the rice. ADD the peas to the curry and simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes. REMOVE from the heat and stir in the cilantro and lemon juice. SERVE on a bed of rice.

--

If you make it, I think you'll like it and find that it's nice and easy. But I'd recommend trying it as it is in the original recipe, since most of my substitutions and changes were due to limitations to what I had -- and wanting to double the amount because of my mess of new potatoes wanting to be eaten. But do cook it with fresh tomatoes if you can get them affordably (they're actually cheaper than canned here and so much tastier, of course).

Also, interestingly, I almost like the taste better today -- like with a good soup, it has had a chance for the flavors to merge together overnight. I don't have lots of curry cooking experience, so I'm just learning now.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: sabotabby
2005-06-21 04:54 pm (UTC)
A real-life cook! Squee! Welcome to the community.
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[User Picture]From: serpina
2005-06-21 11:36 pm (UTC)
oops, sorry for the ambiguity. i'm studying east european studies, anthropology, and social work. i cook as a hobby, as a passion, as a way of life, as a means to eating the best i possibly can, and sometimes, perhaps, as a technique of seduction. but not as a profession. :)
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[User Picture]From: enile
2005-06-21 08:14 pm (UTC)
ah, this sounds sooo good! i am going to make it, yes i am!
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[User Picture]From: serpina
2005-06-21 11:37 pm (UTC)
cool, i'd love to hear how you like it! we've really been enjoying it here. the hungarians i've served it to are really surprised; they've never had anything like it.
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[User Picture]From: alagbon
2005-06-21 08:33 pm (UTC)
Substituting mint for coriander sounds rather interesting; I suppose living in Hungary does make the acquisition of some ingredients rather difficult.
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[User Picture]From: serpina
2005-06-21 11:42 pm (UTC)
yeah, it was mentioned as a possible substitution in the original recipe, and since i have a healthy mint plant on my windowsill, it seemed the thing to do. i love cilantro, but it dies every time i try to grow it here, and buying the uncommon herbs fresh is a LOT more expensive than getting, say, dill or parsley, although they are technically available. part of the reason i'm getting more into the idea of cooking indian food is that most of the ingredients are available and in season and cheap here, and it kind of defeats the purpose if i blow my budget on herbs. still, i bought another coriander plant at tesco today, which i'll repot tomorrow -- we'll see how it goes.
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[User Picture]From: _withbellson_
2005-07-26 06:08 pm (UTC)
what could be substituted for garam masala? i am not sure what it is and doubt i could buy it locally. will the recipe suffer if it is left out?
thanks.
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[User Picture]From: serpina
2005-08-12 07:15 pm (UTC)
i wouldn't really recommend substituting for garam masala, but it is a somewhat variable spice mix that can be assembled and made at home and the food will only be the better for it if it's prepared and ground fresh. i have never made it, but here are some recipes:

http://www.recipedelights.com/basics/GaramMasala.htm

http://www.food-india.com/ingredients/i001_i025/i003.htm

http://www.food-nepal.com/ingredients/i004.htm

if you can't get all the elements of it, you can surely still find pepper and cinnamon and some of the basic components. so i'd recommend doing the best you can with what you can find and a mortar and pestle. that's what i do in hungary, too.
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[User Picture]From: noggie
2005-08-12 06:17 pm (UTC)
*flash of realization*

coconut milk-- of course!
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[User Picture]From: serpina
2005-08-12 07:15 pm (UTC)
hmmmm?
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