There really isn’t anything about Indian curry that I don’t like. And this curry dish, slightly altered from a recipe provided when I recently purchased a package of Aromatic Curry Masala at the Methow Masala shop in Winthrop, WA, is just about as good as an Indian style curry can get. It’s so delicious, that if I had been served this curry dish in a restaurant, I would have wanted to go back for more at my earliest convenience. The only changes I made to the original recipe were to replace tomato paste for diced tomatoes, use my own curry masala blend (the second time I made it), and add sour cream or yogurt right at the end. (Just makes the sauce a little creamier.)
Now if you happen to live near Winthrop, you can buy the curry blend any old time you want. But for those of us who would have to make a special trip, I went to all the trouble of working out what I believe to be an adequate Aromatic Curry Masala substitute. (BTW, Mr. C. loved both curries I made before writing this post. But he did admit that he liked the curry made with chicken better (curry number 1) than the curry I made with shrimp (curry number 2). No mention of the sauce flavor being any different when I used my own curry blend (curry number 2). Just that he preferred chicken curry over shrimp curry.
Now of course, many of you are not going to go to the bother of making your own curry masala powder. And believe me, if I still had 4 kids at home and worked full time, I wouldn’t be making my own curry powder either! But since my kids are grown and I am retired, I take no greater pleasure than trying my hand at what I call “seasoning blend mixology”. (I have kind of a spice and herb obsession if truth be known!) And if I do say so myself, my recipe below for Curry Masala Powder is darned good. But dear friends, even if you don’t have the time, energy, or interest in making your own curry powder, make this delicious dish anyway. Just use purchased curry powder. (There will be no points subtracted or shame attached to using a commercially produced curry powder. The only shame would be if you didn’t give this recipe a try when next you got a hankering for Indian food!)
So grind yourself up some curry powder (or start with purchased curry powder), steam up some rice (remember, brown rice is healthier for you than white rice), and prepare a chicken, shrimp, or roasted vegetable curry for your family in the near future. They will be delighted to have something new and exciting to eat for dinner. And you will have had a new adventure in the kitchen. And isn’t that the real reason many of us love to cook??
- 1 tsp. cumin seed
- 1 tsp. brown mustard seed
- ¼ c. (½ stick) butter
- 2 large onions, finely chopped
- 5 lg. garlic cloves, finely minced
- 1-inch piece of fresh ginger, finely minced
- 3-4 T. Aromatic Curry Masala spice blend from Methow Masala or my version of Curry Masala Powder (see recipe below)
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- ¼ c. tomato paste
- 2-3 med. jalapeño chili peppers, seeds and veins removed, and finely minced
- 4 c. (1 qt.) chicken or vegetable broth (or use 4 tsp. chicken or vegetable base and 4 c. water)
- 6-8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs cut in bite sized pieces or 2 lb. large uncooked shrimp, peeled and deveined or 3 cups assorted roasted vegetables
- ½-¾ c. sour cream or plain yogurt
Toast the cumin seeds and mustard seeds in a dry pan over medium heat until the aroma of the two spices is released. Set aside.
Melt the butter in a heavy covered pan. Add the onions and cook until they start to brown. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for one minute. Add the curry masala powder, salt, toasted cumin and mustard seeds, and the tomato paste. Let the mixture cook for about a minute. Whisk in the jalapeños and chicken broth and simmer uncovered for about 15 minutes. Add the chicken pieces and cook just until the chicken is no longer pink in the middle. If you are using shrimp, cook only until the shrimp turn light pink. If you are using roasted vegetables, add just long enough to heat through. Whisk in the sour cream or yogurt, adjust seasonings, cover, remove from heat, and let sit for 15 minutes. Serve over brown rice. And yes I know brown rice is not usually served with most curry dishes, but it’s healthy and we love it! If you must, you can serve the curry over basmati rice.
Also, since I know many of you are wondering – no this is not a recipe for a really spicy hot curry. The jalapeños truly add more flavor than heat, especially if you carefully remove the seeds and veins. Of course, there is a bit of heat, but I pride myself in not hurting anyone. So if you are super sensitive, you might want to use less jalapeños or none at all.
CURRY MASALA POWDER RECIPE
- scant ½ c. coriander seeds
- 2 T. fennel seeds
- 2 T. cumin seeds
- 1 T. black or brown mustard seeds
- 1 tsp. black peppercorns
- ½ tsp. fenugreek seeds
- 2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
- 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 2 tsp. turmeric powder
- 1 tsp. ground ginger
- 1 tsp. ground cloves
- 1/8 tsp. ground cardamom
In a small pan over low heat, individually dry roast the coriander seeds, fennel seeds, cumin seeds, mustard seeds, peppercorns, fenugreek seeds, and crushed red pepper until aromatic. Don’t hurry the process.
When each is toasted, remove to a bowl to cool. (And yes, it can be the same bowl.) When all of the spices are room temperature, whirl in a grinder until powdered. (It’s OK if there are still tiny chunks. If the chunks bother you, sieve the mixture before proceeding.) Add the ground cinnamon, turmeric, ginger, cloves, and cardamom. Store in an airtight container. Use in any of your favorite recipes calling for curry powder.
FYI: Internet source for dried herbs and spices www.myspicesage.com
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