curry

Eggplant and Tomato Curry

by Anne Maxfield on November 11, 2019

I had a pile of Japanese eggplants from our CSA that were supposed to go into a Thai duck curry, but the duck leftovers disappeared. This looked like a good vegetarian/vegan way to use up those lovely eggplants. Serves 6:

  • 1 onion
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 1/2” piece of ginger
  • ½ bunch fresh cilantro
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds,
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
  • 1 handful fresh curry leaves
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 heaping tablespoons chunky peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon mango chutney
  • 2 tablespoons tamarind paste
  • 12 small (Japanese) eggplants about 1 ½ pounds (see my verdict below for using regular eggplants)
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • ½ pound mixed color cherry tomatoes, roughly chopped

Preheat the oven to 375º. Peel the onion, garlic and ginger, place in a food processor with the cilantro stalks and jalapeno and process to a fine paste. Put the spices and curry leaves into a medium ovenproof pan on a low heat with 2 tablespoons of oil and fry for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add the ginger paste and cook for 5 minutes, or until softened, stirring regularly. Stir in the peanut butter, mango chutney and tamarind paste, season with salt and pepper. Put aside in a medium bowl.

Leaving them intact at the stalk, cut the eggplants into quarters lengthways. Rub and stuff them generously with all the paste, then arrange them in the pan.

Place the pan on medium heat and fry for 5 minutes, turning the eggplants halfway. Add the coconut milk, tomatoes, season well with salt and pepper, and bring to the boil.

Cover with tin foil and roast in the oven for 40 minutes, or until thickened and reduced, removing the foil halfway. Season to taste, garnish with cilantro and enjoy!

My verdict: Hot, very hot! I used one small jalapeno and it was killer hot. A little mango chutney on the side and some basmati rice helped, but it was still pretty hot. For future, I’d go easy on the jalapeno and add more in if needed. Once the heat was sort of tamed, these were really good. I thought the cherry tomatoes looked a little lame, so got some Campari tomatoes, quartered them and used them instead.

Although my spice list goes to 120 items on an Excel spreadsheet, surprisingly fenugreek seeds were not on it, so they didn’t go in the curry. Not sure how that affects the final product, but now I’ve got some.

If you’re using regular eggplants, cut them into 1/2” rounds and sandwich the paste between them.

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Salmon and Spinach Curry

by Anne Maxfield on March 4, 2019

Accidental Locavore Salmon and Spinach Curry CookingBecause Frank is not generally a salmon fan, I’ve been looking at this recipe from Meera Sodha’s Made in India cookbook for a while. Since cooking more fish is one of my 2019 goals, I took the plunge and started with salmon. Don’t be put off by the long list of spices–you probably have most of them. Serves 4.

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 6 whole peppercorns
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon brown sugar (I used dark)
  • 8-9 ounces ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 jalapeño or serrano chili, finely chopped (optional)
  • ¼ teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground coriander
  • ¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons salt
  • 1 pound spinach leaves
  • 14 ounces skinless salmon fillets, cut into big (2 ½”) chunks

Accidental Locavore Salmon and Spinach Curry PanPut the oil into a large lidded frying pan on medium heat. When it’s hot, add the cinnamon, peppercorns and cloves. Cook for 1-2 minutes until they start to release their aromas.

Add the onions and brown sugar and cook for 12-15 minutes until golden and caramelized. Stir in the tomatoes, put the lid on the pan and cook for 5 minutes until the tomatoes begin to soften.

Add the ginger, garlic, jalapeño, garam masala, cumin, coriander, turmeric, chili powder and salt. Stir to make sure the spices don’t stick to the bottom of the pan. After about 8 minutes the mixture should thicken and look paste-like. When it does, add the spinach, turn the heat down to low, put the lid back on and leave the spinach to wilt.

Add the salmon to the pan, coating it with the tomato and spinach sauce. Put the lid back on and cook for 5-7 minutes until the salmon cooks through. Serve and enjoy!

Accidental Locavore Salmon and Spinach Curry My verdict: Frank gave it his highest praise (especially for salmon) “you can make this any time” and the fact that it was so good with only okay (January) tomatoes made me think it would be even better with truly ripe tomatoes (hello August).

Made in India has become one of my favorite cookbooks and everything I’ve made from it has been great. I’ll certainly make the salmon again and go on to some of the other fish recipes that have caught my eye.

I cooked the salmon for 6 minutes and it was perfect (medium rare). If you like it more well-done, go for 7 or more minutes.  I served it over basmati rice. Because it was what was handy, I used a mix of regular and baby spinach and cooked it until it just started to wilt.

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Thai Duck Curry with Pineapple

by Anne Maxfield on January 8, 2018

Accidental Locavore Thai Duck CurryDuck curry is one of the things we always order in a Thai restaurant, so it seemed like the perfect use for our leftover slow-roast duck. This feeds about 4-6 and comes together in the time it takes to make a pot of jasmine rice (hint, hint).

Thai Duck Curry with Pineapple:

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
  • 3 tablespoons Thai red or massaman curry paste
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce (more or less to taste)
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 kaffir lime leaves, torn in half, or zest of 1 lime (optional)
  • 8 ounces roast duck in bite-sized pieces
  • 1 Asian eggplant, cut in half lengthwise and then sliced crosswise into wedges
  • ¼ cup bamboo shoots (optional)
  • 2 cups coconut milk
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 1/2 cups diced fresh pineapple
  • 8 small cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • 4 tablespoons fresh Thai or Italian basil leaves
  • 4 tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves
  • 4 tablespoons fresh mint leaves

Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, ginger, and chili and stir-fry until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Reduce heat to medium and add the curry paste, stirring to break it up, about 1 minute. Stir in the fish sauce, brown sugar, and kaffir lime leaves, if using, and cook for 2 minutes.

Add the duck, eggplant, coconut milk, and chicken stock and bring to a gentle boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 5 minutes.

Add the pineapple and cherry tomatoes, simmer for 2 more minutes.

Finish with the basil, fresh coriander leaves, and mint leaves; cook for 30 seconds or until basil is wilted. Serve with jasmine rice and enjoy! 

My verdict: Really good! I used a combination of red and massaman curries because I ran out of the massaman curry paste. Surprisingly, we couldn’t find any Japanese eggplants in the stores, so threw in the bamboo shoots (yes, I know, it’s hardly the same). Mushrooms are also a nice addition.

The great thing about curries like this is that they’re easy and forgiving. You can substitute any meat or fish for the duck and add whatever vegetables you have on hand. And with the leftover pineapple, you can make pineapple upside-down cake.

What’s your favorite curry combo?

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Lamb Curry With Spinach

by Anne Maxfield on May 5, 2016

Accidental Locavore Spinach in CurryOkay, by now you might be getting weary of yet another recipe from Made In India, but the Accidental Locavore is telling you, it’s one of the best cookbooks that’s crossed my path since David Lebovitz’s My Paris Kitchen. This time it’s a lamb stew/curry with baby spinach—perfect for spring! Serves 4.

  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 large onions, sliced
  • 1 3/4” piece of ginger, peeled and grated
  • 6 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • ¾ teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 ¾ pounds lamb shoulder cut into 1 ¼” cubes
  • 1 14 ounce can plum tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt
  • 1 pound baby spinach

Accidental Locavore Lamb for CurryIn a large Dutch oven or casserole (that has a lid) over medium heat add the oil. When it’s hot add the onions and fry for 10-12 minutes until soft, golden and starting to brown. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the chili, cumin, coriander and the diced lamb and turn the heat to medium high. When the lamb pieces have browned all over, add the tomatoes, breaking them up, tomato paste and salt. Stir well. Add ¾ cup of water, stir and bring to a boil. Cover with the lid, reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 1 ¼ hours or until the meat is tender.

Remove the lid and add the spinach in bunches, cook until just wilted. Serve and enjoy!

Accidental Locavore Lamb and Spinach CurryMy verdict: Another winner! Working my way through the freezer, there was a package of lamb stew meat from our CSA so we were all set. I actually made the stew a day ahead, warmed it up and added the spinach just before we ate. You’ll need a pretty big pot as the spinach takes up a lot of room, but it does cook down. Along with (my now perfect) basmati rice, this was a great meal. When no one was looking, I added some mango chutney to mine and it was even better. Instead of grating the ginger, I just chop it really finely in my mini-chopper – it’s so much faster than grating for 10 minutes…

 

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