Friday, November 14, 2014

Now for the curry!

I cook by taste and ingredients, mostly, but this is a very free-form recipe.  The method is the same as is used for a basic white sauce or pan gravy.  It starts with what you have, and you add things until it's just right.

Chop onions (maybe two; white or yellow, regular or sweet) and garlic.  Put in a skillet with oil and cook over low to very low heat, stirring OFTEN, until all nicely caramelized, which means golden brown.  This takes a while, maybe 45 minutes to an hour, but you don't have to stand over it.
Stir in your curry spices.  A prepared curry powder is fine.  Try 2 T to start.  Stir this around for several minutes to take the raw edge off it.  While that is working, make your slurry.
Make a slurry of water or vegetable stock and cornstarch, or other non-wheat starch such as rice, potato or arrowroot.  You want the translucent look that these starches give.  Try a T of starch to a cup of liquid.  Stir that in, and up the heat until it comes just to a boil.  Back off the heat, and give a taste.
Adjust the seasonings, adding whatever you like.  More curry?  More of any given individual spice, like turmeric, cardamon,  black pepper, bell peppers, sweet peppers, hot peppers?  It won't take long until it tastes just right.  Adjust the liquid using more stock or water until it is the texture you like.

This is a basic sauce.  Pour it over rice and serve with red ginger and pickled garlic if you have them. Put crisp-tender cooked and warmed vegetables -- broccoli is a favorite of mine -- and/or prepared seitan, cooked tofu or hard-cooked eggs over the rice before adding the sauce.  Scallions, peanuts, currants and shredded coconut are Indian-style toppings.  A mango chutney is also excellent with this dish.

It's worth learning to make your own Japanese-style curry because it's easy and very, very good!

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