Wow, it’s been a while since I blogged! I received some very exciting news about my writing over a week ago, and since then, everything else has taken a back seat while I fluctuated between floating in a daze and scurrying about while squealing. Kinda like a hamster alternating between weed and crack.
On second thought, a hamster alternating between weed and crack would probably be a dead hamster, so nevermind. Fingers crossed I will soon have official good news to share!
On to the food. I’m probably going to sound like Sandra Lee saying this, but I rarely make curries from scratch. Especially in Oxford, where it’s a challenge getting fresh galangal and tamarind. So I cheat. But before you take out the stakes, I only KINDA cheat. I know, I know, it’s like saying “I only embezzle 50% of what I could have embezzled. . .” but the end result is SO worth the guilt.
Every time I go back to Indo, I make sure to buy a bunch of spice packs like these:
You could probably find similar stuff at your local Asian supermarket. Anyway, the key to a good Cheater’s Curry is to only use these spice packets as a base to kickstart your curry. You still need to add a ton of fresh spices to your paste, otherwise it’ll come out tasting really bland, like an Anglicized version of curry.
Cheater’s Curry Recipe
– About 500 to 600 g of chicken, beef, or tofu, cut into bite-size cubes
– A crapload of veggies of your choice. I love cauliflower in curries because they absorb flavor so well, but zuchinni works just as well, and so do green beans, mushrooms, sweet potatoes, and butternut squash. Mike likes bell pepper, but sometimes I think they’re a bit over-powering. Whatever works for you.
– 4 kaffir lime leaves
– 1 cup thick coconut milk
– 2 cloves
– 2 star anise
– 2 cardamom pods
– 1 cup water
– If you think the pre-made spice mix isn’t spicy enough, you can add fresh chilies
For the spice paste:
– 1 packet pre-made spice mix of your choice.
– 4 cloves garlic
– 1 onion
– 4 shallots
– 2 stalks lemongrass
– 1 inch ginger
– 1 tsp sugar
– Salt to taste
1. Put all of the spice paste ingredients in a blender and blend the bejesus out of them. When all of the ingredients have been blended into a smooth paste, fry them with the cloves, star aniseeds, and cardamom until they’re fragrant.
2. Put the chicken into the pan.
3. Sear the chicken until the outside is cooked, then add your veg.
4. Add the water, coconut milk, chilies, and kaffir lime leaves. Cover and simmer on low heat for 30 min, stirring once in a while and salting to taste.
5. Serve hot with rice (since we’re on a low-carb thing, I just ate it on its own. And I didn’t miss the rice at all.)