Welcome to Authentic Curry Recipes

Curry – A Journey

Due to a childhood in the Middle East, I was practically brought up on curry.  My first memories of it are eating curried goat in the fire station of Dubai airport in about 1962.  My dad was the airport manager and the Chief Fire Officer and his family were our good friends and neighbours.  The firemen cooked for our two families – fiery hot curry for the adults and a much milder version for us kids.  Some of the men were of Arabic origins and some of Indian so I think the resulting meal was something of a mixture.

I remember we were offered chairs and cutlery but we preferred to sit on the floor and in the traditional manner, ate only with our right hands.   This posed something of a problem for my mother as she was left-handed – she avoided making inexcusable gaffes by sitting on her left hand until the meal was over.

We learnt to roll rice into balls and with the aid of chapattis (wheat flour flatbreads), scooped up the curry and popped it into our mouths without making too much mess.  I don’t think I ate curry again in that way until many years later when I visited Goa and, at a spice plantation, was once again faced with banana leaf plates and fingers only.  Bizarrely, in a nearby clearing, was a pink porcelain, pedestal hand basin with a hose pipe attached to the tap, fully supplied with soap and hand towels.

During those days of being expatriates in foreign lands, the British developed a liking for curry lunch on a Sunday.  Doubtless this originated in India in the days of the Raj but still found its way to the Middle East and Africa.    A group of friends would gather either at one of their houses or the local club.  There would be beers or gins and tonics first (cola or fizzy orange for the kids).  There wouldn’t be a choice of curries, as I recall, it was always chicken and no matter where we ate it and it always tasted the same.  The accompaniments didn’t vary much either but we didn’t mind.  There would be poppadoms, mango chutney and a variety of sambals – chopped fruits and salad stuff which might include any or all of banana, pineapple, apple, tomato, cucumber, onion, desiccated coconut, peanuts and raisins or sultanas.  With luck there would be chapattis too.

My next curry experiences were back in England.  How different it all was.  Indian restaurants furnished in red velvet with flocked wallpaper in gold.  All sorts of different curries – not only the main ingredient but the mix of spices and flavourings.  There were choices of plain or spicy poppadoms, different breads and vegetable curries and dahls as well, no sambals though!   On the down side, these curries were often rather greasy and we always thought of them as being terribly fattening – naughty but oh so nice!  The saviour, if conscience got the better of us was Tandoori-cooked meats.  These were marinated in yoghurt and spice paste and cooked in a Tandoor (an earthenware charcoal oven), so were in effect grilled and much healthier.

Change again then when I finally visited India in 1988 and discovered that meat curries were the exception rather than the rule.  Many Indians are vegetarians so paneer (similar to cottage cheese) is popular as are the many dishes made with pulses and vegetables.  There was no trace of the greasiness found in restaurants in the UK and the flavours were quite different too.

This voyage of discovery culminated in a determination to learn how to reproduce Indian food in my own home so if that’s why you’re here too I hope you like the authentic curry recipes you can find in the blog posts.  Check out the categories for curries of different types and from different countries.  If you’d like to see more categories, just get in touch from the Contact Us page.

Liz Canham

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Regional Indian Recipes for Curry Powder

Regional Indian Recipes for Curry Powder

Recipes for curry powder vary all over India and are suitable for different dishes, so I’m going to put a couple here and add more as I find them so to keep up to date, subscribe to my feed.

If you intend to grind your own spices, I highly recommend that you invest a very small amount in an Electric Coffee and Spice Grinder, which will save you a lot of time and elbow grease.

Keralan Spice Powder for Lamb

Dry fry or fry in 1 tbsp oil the following spices then grind.

2.5cm cinnamon stick
10 cloves
3 tbsp coriander seeds
5 dried red chillies
1 tbsp black peppercorns
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp fennel seeds
6 cardamom pods

If you don’t want the remains of the cardamom pods in your spice mix, remove the seeds before grinding and discard the pods.

Punjabi Spice Mix for Chicken Kebabs

1 tsp cardamom seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp black peppercorns
¼ nutmeg
5cm cinnamon stick 6 cloves

Mix and grind.

Gujerati Nut and Seed Spice Mixture

2 tbsp raw cashew nuts
2 tbsp charoli (see explanation below)
1.5 tbsp roasted peanuts
1.5 tbsp roasted chick peas or chana dal (yellow split peas)
1.5 tbsp watermelon seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
7 cloves
1 tsp black peppercorns
1 tsp ground coriander
2.5cm cinnamon stick
6 dried hot red chillis
0.25 tsp ground turmeric

Grind to a fine powder in a coffee grinder.

Charoli (also called chironji) are seeds of Buchanania lanzan used as a cooking spice primarily in India. Charoli are tiny almond-flavoured dried seeds of a bush called Buchanania lanzan, which is cultivated across India, primarily in the northwest. (Source: Wikipedia.)

Spice Powder for Lamb Curry from Tamil Nadu

1tbsp fennel seeds
1 tbsp poppy seeds
3 tbsp ground coriander
1 tbsp cayenne pepper
1 tbsp paprika
0.5tsp ground turmeric

Grind the fennel and poppy seeds and add to the powdered spices.

Spice Powder for Steak from West Bengal

1 tbsp ground coriander
1 tbsp cumin seeds
1 tbsp brown mustard seeds
0.5 tbsp ground turmeric
1 tsp cayenne pepper

Grind to a fine powder and mix with the following, ground to a paste

7.5 cm piece root ginger, peeled and chopped
8 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped

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Garam Masala Recipes

Garam Masala Recipes

A much used spice mix, usually incorporated towards the end of cooking time, is Garam Masala (which actually means hot spice) and there are probably as many Garam Masala recipes as there are families in India.

One of my favourite cookery writers is Madhur Jaffrey and in her book Madhur Jaffrey’s Indian Cookery, she recommends the following:

1 tbsp cardamom seeds
A 2 inch (5cm) stick of cinnamon
1 tsp black cumin seeds
1 tsp whole cloves
1 tsp black peppercorns
¼ of an average-sized nutmeg

Finely grind all the spices together and store in an air-tight jar in a cool dark place.

Another recipe uses rather more ingredients as follows:

1 tsp coriander seeds
1tsp cumin seeds
½ a dried chilli
½ tsp nutmeg
1 tsp black peppercorns
1tbsp cardamom pods
1 tsp cloves
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 fairly large bayleaf

Remove the seeds from the cardamom pod and if you don’t want a hot mix, the seeds from the dried chilli. As before, grind finely and store carefully.

For a slightly different, more aromatic flavour, dry roast the spices first in a frying pan.

 

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Recipe for Channa Masala

1 tbsp coriander seeds
2 tbsp cumin seeds
2/3 tsp black cardamom seeds
1/3 tsp yellow cardamom seeds
1 2/3 tsp black peppercorns
2 – 3 dried red chillies
1/3 tsp whole cloves
pinch ground ginger
pinch mace
pinch ground nutmeg
1/3 tsp ground cinnamon
1/3 tsp amchoor (mango) powder

Dry roast the seeds, peppercorns, chillies and cloves in a large frying pan over low heat until they begin to brown. Transfer to an electric coffee grinder with the ground spices and grind to a fine powder.

To buy these ingredients, click here.

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Spices in Indian Curry

Spices in Indian Curry

India – long identified for its spices more than anything else, still stands as a signal post for all that relates to spice today. In the past, many a country gave in to the lure of spice and did their best to invade this country. It is this very lure of spice that led to the discovery of the Americas as well. Rather than go into the ‘spice’ history, I have decided to do a short article on some of the major spices of India with a few relevant details.

Spices, something that none of us can go without these days, have ruled over the minds and hearts of men and women for quite a while now. Even today, spices would be perhaps one of the foremost things that most of the world would associate with the sub-continent.

Here is my list of some of the top 10 spices from India.

Continue reading »

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