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Old 07-19-2006, 10:55 AM   #21
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ah. curry leaves. I'll look into, tho i've never heard of that. Yea i did add the ginger adn garlic earlier then the recipe called for, and it wasn't too bad either. I'll give this another try.
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Old 07-19-2006, 08:05 PM   #22
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With this particular recipe, I'd make some Chenna Dal - using whole garbanzo (chickpeas) instead of the Indian chenna. Soak your ( about 150 gms) dried chickpeas in water overnight then cook in plain water, no salt, with 2 bay leaves and a tsp of turmeric powder. Once cooked, drain and save a cup of the cooking liquid.
Fry 2 medium onions, sliced into half-moons, in plenty of ghee (or butter mixed with cooking oil).When barely soft, add 6 cloves of garlic ( YES! this works with plenty of garlic) and 1" of minced ginger. Stir around once or twice, then add 3 minced fresh green chillies. LESS if you don't like it hot - but this dish works very well slightly hot.
Now add 1/4 tsp asafoetida powder, 2 tsps cumin seeds, 6 green cardamom seeds and a tsp of fenugreek. Stir once or twice, then add the beans (again), the and just enough water to cover. Add 1 tsp salt.
Cook until the mixture boils then add 1/2 cup chopped tomato.
Cook until you have a a thickish sauce - then add 1 tsp Garam Masala, 1 TBSP chopped coriander leaf and the juice of half a lemon.
Mix together, check for salt, then eat!
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Old 07-20-2006, 06:25 AM   #23
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Cliveb - thanks for that recipe - it's right up my alley & except for the dry garbanzos, I (amazingly enough!!) have all the other ingredients in my pantry!

One question - since the green cardamom seeds are added to the dish whole, do you eat them, eat around them, or fish them out before serving?
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Old 07-20-2006, 06:37 AM   #24
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I usually fish them out, although you can eat them if you want. Skins are a bit chewy...!
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Old 07-21-2006, 10:36 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cliveb
I usually fish them out, although you can eat them if you want. Skins are a bit chewy...!
I fish them out to, They are there mainly as a flavor agent.
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Old 08-18-2006, 03:42 AM   #26
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you crush the cardomon pods with the flat of a blade, put them in the simmering sauce for 40 minutes or so, then fish them out.
Then squeeze the little circular bally things back in.
I usually eat the pod bit while cooking because their good roughage and taste good and Im starving
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Old 08-18-2006, 06:23 AM   #27
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I have to say that in all my years of travelling and eating curries all round the world, I've never eaten a curry with minced beef in it!
Larb is minced meats also.
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Old 08-19-2006, 02:19 PM   #28
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I only recently discovered the wonders of cardomon pods when steaming cod in a Thai curry sauce and was pleasently suprised. Nothing like I expected.

I have had a decent bit of experince cooking Thai currys mostly and have my own TNT Thai prawn curry which I am very proud of.

The only thing that bothers me with lot of curry recipes I see on TV and read in books in the excess of ingrediants. Quite often (especially in indian curries) I see 6 or so different spices and a spice mix which may contain at least two of the individual spices previously included. I don't understand this approach, surely just added more of the seperate spices and the extra ones seperate rather then adding a blend. This way you get a more precise control over what you want. Indicates to me when I see this that the author dosn't have a true understanding of perhapes what is even in the blend let alone the understanding of individual spices that takes years to master.

The rule I try and use when composing ingrediants for a curry is "why?" and not "Why not?". It is very tempting with curry to feel the need to add 30+ flavours which can just end up leading to a generic curry flavour which to me is half the fun of cooking curries out the window.
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Old 08-19-2006, 03:26 PM   #29
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I suggest that you look for one of Madhur Jaffrey's superb Indian cookbooks. Check Amazon.com or eBay for good deals.
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Old 08-20-2006, 09:18 AM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Queequeg
...The only thing that bothers me with lot of curry recipes I see on TV and read in books in the excess of ingrediants. Quite often (especially in indian curries) I see 6 or so different spices and a spice mix which may contain at least two of the individual spices previously included. I don't understand this approach, surely just added more of the seperate spices and the extra ones seperate rather then adding a blend...
Indian food is often delicious with one, or maybe just two spices. However, there are recipes with many spices, added at different stages of the cooking in order to provide specific taste experiences. Some dishes, for example, may have whole spices added at the beginning in order to flavour the oil. Others may have spices added at the end ( Garam Masala is a good example) to give an aromatic perfume to the final dish. Or you may find the use of a tarka or bhagar - whole spices sizzled in ghee and added to the dish at the last moment. Tossing in loads of spices just for the sake of it does nothing; adding them little by little or in large numbers is an art which takes many years to develop.
Madhur Jaffrey wrote a splendid little book called " Madhur Jaffrey's Spice Kitchen" which has about 50 different recipes using spices.
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Old 08-20-2006, 11:40 AM   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Queequeg
The only thing that bothers me with lot of curry recipes I see on TV and read in books in the excess of ingrediants. Quite often (especially in indian curries) I see 6 or so different spices and a spice mix which may contain at least two of the individual spices previously included. I don't understand this approach.... It is very tempting with curry to feel the need to add 30+ flavours which can just end up leading to a generic curry flavour which to me is half the fun of cooking curries out the window.
Amen! I think your comments are applicable to many dishes, including things like chili and spaghetti sauces, especially when prepared by inexperienced cooks. It takes a while for many of us to come to the realization that simple is often better.

When I was in college, my roommates and I ate a lot of spaghetti. At first we used those packaged spaghetti sauce mixes (bottled sauce wasn't commonly available, and it was expensive back in the day), but then we began adding stuff, and pretty soon discovered it was cheaper to buy our own ingredients. We started with onion, garlic powder, oregano, and basil, but kept adding more things each time we made it. I think we ended up with about 30 ingredients, including chili powder, Worcestershire, Tabasco, mustard, and 10 or 20 spices. Very Italian, no?
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Old 08-22-2006, 03:11 PM   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cliveb
However, there are recipes with many spices, added at different stages of the cooking in order to provide specific taste experiences. Some dishes, for example, may have whole spices added at the beginning in order to flavour the oil. Others may have spices added at the end ( Garam Masala is a good example) to give an aromatic perfume to the final dish.
This is so obvious now you have explained it, many thanks. I shall have to go back and look at some of those recipes I previously dismissed

I still think that many curry recipes are over complicated though and as FryBoy righty points out this does exist in many other forms of cooking to. I like to try and keep a recipe tight. An ingrediant has to justify it's self.

I have a friend who's cooking is a little suseptable to lenghy ingrediant lists. For example a month or so ago he cooked a Tangine and very nice to it was, only if a little confused IMO. The spice list included Paprika, corriander seed, cumin, cinnamon, Tumeric and fresh corriander. looking at it now the list dosn't seem that extensive but the dish also included some other strong flavours including honey, orange juice and stock. I dare say that dispite his over enthusiam to include many ingrediants he is more of a experimental cook than myself and so probably learns more in the process.
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Old 08-22-2006, 03:19 PM   #33
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Queequeg - just like many Indian dishes, African tagines also use a number of herbs & spices to develop their distinctive flavors. While it might look like a lot, the resulting dish is definitely worth the effort.
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Old 08-23-2006, 05:00 AM   #34
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Originally Posted by BreezyCooking
Queequeg - just like many Indian dishes, African tagines also use a number of herbs & spices to develop their distinctive flavors. While it might look like a lot, the resulting dish is definitely worth the effort.
And you have to be careful of over-condimenting, i.e. using too much of each spice. Cinnamon, for example, is delicious in small quantities but overpowering if you use it in excess. Sometimes I wonder when I see a recipe that says "1/8th tsp ground cloves", but the idea is to use the spices t5o complement the main ingredients, not to mask them.

That's where you're spot on, Queequeg - make every ingredient count in your recipe!
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