Friday, October 29, 2010

Curry in a Hurry

When craving comfort food, my mind often turns to curries. I believe that there is a misconception in thinking that curries are difficult to make. However, I do believe that the difficulty lies on the fact that most people do not have the required spices readily available. Once you build-up your spice rack, with a few simple spices, India will be at your fingertips.

Here is my take on a curry using okra (a.k.a. lady's fingers).

I begin with rinsing/washing some okra.

You may use fresh, frozen or canned okra for this recipe. In this case, I used a canned variety by Phoenicia. I think this product is great, as it doesn't contain any harsh preservatives.

You will also want to keep aside approximately 1 cup chopped carrots. I find that carrots compliment the okra very well, mainly due to their sweetness. As an alternative, you may want to use potatoes or even sweet potatoes.

Now you will begin to create the base for your curry. You will need approximately 1 teaspoon of black mustard seeds.

Place the mustard seeds in a pot with approximately 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Cover the lid and set the temperature to high. You will begin to hear the mustard seeds pop like popcorn. This process ensures that their magnificent flavour is released.

Once you hear the popping stop, remove the pot from the heat and open the lid.

Now place inside some puréed tomatoes.

Note: You can use any type of tomato for this dish (e.g., fresh tomatoes, crushed tomatoes or even tomato paste). If you decide to use alternatives, you will have to adjust the amount of water added.

Here come the spices. In a small bowl, I set aside the following:
- 2 teaspoons turmeric
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 2 teaspoons coriander
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- chili flakes to taste (this ingredient can be omitted)

Literally dump the spices into the tomato purée. Add salt to taste.

Give it a bit of a whirl, cover and let it sputter away on the stove, for approximately 2-5 minutes.

You have now created a base for your curry.

Mix in the pieces of okra and carrot.

Top off the mixture with a little water, so that you have enough moisture to cook the vegetables well. Cover and simmer until your carrots ready (approximately 20 minutes).

This hearty and spicy dish will leave you wanting more. Enjoy it with bread, roti, or on a bed of basmati rice.

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