Saturday, June 18, 2011

Fresh Ground Curry Powder

Reasons to make your own curry powder:

1) This stuff is obscenely fresh. No little foil seal on top of store-bought jars can compete with the bold and vibrant flavor of whole ground spices.

2) Spices have potent healing properties, and grinding your own in small batches ensures that the antioxidants and phytonutrients stay locked in the spices as long as possible.

3) If you're like me (nerdy), you'll jump at the chance to buy some new spices that you don't normally cook with (fenugreek, anyone?)

4) Spices are FREE when you're cooking ten ingredient meals!

5) It's a pretty nifty bit of know-how. If cooking with your own homemade curry powder doesn't impress a date, it's time to get a new date.

To make this curry powder, you'll need a standard coffee grinder à la Walmart and a small airtight jar. The recipe is modified slightly from this one; I cut back a little on the coriander.


Fresh Ground Curry Powder
Total Kitchen Time: 10 minutes. Makes enough for 8-10 curries.

4 tsp. coriander seeds
1 tsp. fenugreek seeds
2 tsp. turmeric powder (turmeric is a rhizome like ginger, so it's the one spice that doesn't work "whole" in a curry powder.)
1/2 tsp. cumin seeds
1/2 tsp. black mustard seeds
1.5 inches of cinnamon bark
5 cloves
1 bay leaf

Combine all spices except turmeric in grinder and grind until very fine. Transfer to airtight jar and stir in turmeric. Use in curries, as a popcorn seasoning, on baked sweet potato fries, etc. etc.!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Uncle Brett's Sweet Ginger Curry


My brother Brett flew in from Boston to meet his nephew last week and took my kitchen by storm! I always knew Brett was a dessert mastermind (this guy can fix a fondant like nobody's business) but I had no idea he had a flair for curries quite like this. Not to sound like a total noob, but Brett's curry tastes just like the kind you get at the Indian restaurant! The secret, he showed me, is patience with onions. Of course! Authentic Indian curries use onions to create that thick, flavorful sauce. Duh. Cooking them down to a stringy paste (tastier than it sounds--for at least 30 minutes) brings a practically unholy sweetness to the final dish. Loads of fresh garlic and ginger added at the end of cooking make this a potent healing stew.

Here I ladled Brett's curry over brown rice next to some steamed broccoli and a few tender deglet noor dates for a total ingredient count that leaves two to spare!

Uncle Brett's 5-Ingredient Sweet Ginger Curry
Total Kitchen Time: 45 minutes. Serves 2, with leftovers.

1 cup brown lentils
2 medium onions, sliced as thinly as possible
1 Tbls. extra virgin coconut oil
3 large cloves garlic, grated
fresh grated ginger root, equal in volume to grated garlic

Free Spice Blend
1-2 tsp good curry powder (home-ground curry powder recipe coming soon!)
dash cayenne pepper
salt to taste

Rinse and drain lentils and set to simmer covered with twice the water.

In a large saucepan, fry onions in coconut oil over medium heat for 30-60 minutes, until they turn to a stringy paste and begin to brown.

Are you keeping an eye on your lentils?

Add garlic, ginger and spices to onions and fry a few more minutes.

Add cooked lentils to the onion pot, along with a little bit of their liquid. Stir and heat a few minutes more to integrate flavors.

Serve plain or over brown rice.

Thanks Brett, for a great visit!