Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Humble Curry


Annie and I both came across this New York Times article last night.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/17/dining/17town.html

And though we’re both amazed at the two young chefs' clear talent, we couldn’t help but wonder if the NYT has lost touch with the average foodie. Don’t get us wrong, we’re both progressive and love the NYT as an institution. But when it comes to the food section, aren’t they just a tiny bit elitist?

Although there is nearly a seven-year age difference between my sister and I, we are in the same stage of our lives in a lot of ways. We’re both still trying to find ourselves in this world, trying to establish our professional lives and money is still tight. But we love food and we love to eat. Despite this love, we don’t think we would make it to that restaurant in Chilhowie or to the $200/person meals at the Inn at the Little Washington (which the article also mentions). What to do? I guess this partially explains our goals in this blog. We want to show you that anyone can eat well. From struggling college students to stay-at-home moms feeding a family of four to want-to-be lawyers with a six figure debt to her name. Anyone can be a foodie.

With that thought in mind, I sought to find the perfect first recipe to share with all of you. To be honest, I’ve been struggling with that task for a while. I wanted it be something special, something show stopping! After all, I have wanted to capture all of you future readers into reading our blog for a long long time. But then it suddenly dawned on me that that is not our goal at all. The NYT article reminded me of that. There will definitely be special occasions in our lives where we go out and try tons of new recipes. But that is not tonight - so I decided to start off my first post simply with what we’ll be having for dinner…

Although it’s the middle of the summer here in D.C. and the humidity is usually unbearable, it’s been raining non-stop all day. So there’s a bit of chill in the air - which makes me a little home sick. Only in Chicago would it still be chilly in the middle of June. But here it is – chilly and rainy in D.C. So today, I wanted comfort food, something warm, something spicy…and something quick (since I should be studying non-stop). My mind settled on a bowl of curry.

There are many different kinds of curries – Chinese, Indian, Indonesian, Thai….and that’s just the Asian specialties. My husband is Indian-American and he’s an expert on all curry related dishes. Although he’s too kind to say so, I don’t think anything I make can come close to the curries that his mom serves us when we go visit in Florida.

So I can’t promise the moon and the stars with the following recipe. But it’s the type of curry I grew up eating. I’m not even sure exactly what kind of curry this is. I just know it’s delicious with a complex, almost nutty flavor. With the onions and red pepper flakes, it has just the right amount of heat. The kind that doesn’t leave you running for a glass of water after each bite, but rather, leaves your tummy nice and warm. It’s a bit addicting. I hope it inspires you to curl up in front of your TV with a bowl of steaming white rice.

Jane’s Curry Dish

Jane is our other sister. She’s the middle sister – smacked in between me and Anne. Although she also loves to eat too, she prefers to keep her foods simple and would really prefer to stay out of the kitchen. The thing about Jane is that once she finds a dish she likes, she has no problem eating it repeatedly. The problem with this habit is that it can be difficult to get Jane to like something – it really is a commitment for her. But Jane likes this dish. I think that’s pretty high praise.

I served the curry with white rice and sautéed zucchini. I ran out of chicken tonight and was too lazy to run to the store. So I made this version without any meat. The only change was instead of water, I added in 1 ½ cups of chicken broth while the vegetables were cooking. It’s still very tasty.

Jane’s Curry

Ingredients

  • 1 pound of red potatoes, cut in chunks
  • 1 pound of carrots, cut in chunks
  • 1 large Vidalia onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, diced
  • 1 tsp of red pepper flakes
  • a few tablespoons of canola oil
  • 1 lb chicken breast cut in cubes
  • 1 – 1 ½ cups of water
  • 2 -3 tablespoons of curry powder or mix*
  • salt and pepper

Instructions

Heat the oil in a skillet or dutch oven until hot. Put in chicken, sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper. Once chicken is brown, remove from the pan. Add another tablespoon into skillet and put in onions and garlic. Add red pepper flakes. Saute until onions and garlic are golden. Add carrots and potatoes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Stir well until all vegetables are slightly brown. Add water and place lid over the vegetables. Let the vegetables cook for about 20 minutes until they’re soft. Check on them occasionally to make sure there is still water left in the skillet. If it looks too dry, add a little more water. After 20 minutes, add the chicken and stir in the curry powder. Allow to cook for five more minutes. Taste and serve with white rice.

Serves 4

*There are many brands of curry powder or mix in the super market, but I prefer the Japanese S&B Brand - http://www.sb-worldwide.com/curry/index.html - that my mom has always used. You can find the mix in any asian grocery story or the ethnic aisles of most grocery stores. If you can’t find it, the McCormick Curry Powder works well too.

Sautéed Zucchini

This is so simple, you hardly need a recipe. The key is make sure you don’t put the zucchini in until the oil is really hot. Then it develops a golden exterior as you’re sautéing.

Ingredients

  • 1 or 2 large zucchinis, cut into semi-circles or strips, however you like
  • A few tablespoons of olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Instructions

Heat the oil in the pan until it’s very hot. Quickly add the zucchini and stir around the pan. Add salt and pepper and leave in pan for one more minute.

Helen

2 comments:

  1. This curry looks absolutely delicious!! What an amazing chef you are.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I must agree. It does look delicious.

    ReplyDelete