Thursday, January 08, 2009

Variety is the Spice of Life

Different regions in India and Pakistan serve curries of vastly different flavours, some hot, some subtle, and so the variety of spices used can be quite a number. Start with just the one below, then learn more about others. This way we can dispense with the cans and jars of curry pastes and sauces and 'do it properly'. Something I am aiming for. Below is my first attempt.

Tomato (balti-type) curry sauce: to serve 3 - 4 (F)
1 tsp ground ginger
1 - 2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp sugar
half tsp ground cardamom (or seeds)
half tsp chilli powder
half tsp paprika
half tsp salt
2 tsp olive oil
2 large onions, finely chopped
1 - 2 tins chopped tomatoes
Mix the spices, sugar and salt together and set aside (at this point the mix can be stored in small containers and kept in the dark). Saute the onion in the olive oil until tender, then stir in the spices and cook (almost dry-fry) for 2 minutes, then stir in the chopped tomatoes, cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove from heat, cool slightly then blitz down to make a curry sauce (this could be frozen). Use in the normal way.

Will leave you today with one really economical recipe that uses cooked chicken scraps and pancakes. The recipe can be made as given, but the filled pancakes could also be dipped into egg and breadcrumbs to shallow fry (similar to those ready-made ones from the freezer cabinet). As the pancakes and filling can be made in advance, they can be reheated through thoroughly in the oven or microwave just before serving.
Chicken Pancakes: serves 4
1 oz (25g) butter
1 onion, finely chopped
1 oz (25g) flour
half pint (300ml) milk
salt and pepper
pinch dried mixed herbs
2 oz (50g) mushrooms, thinly sliced
8 oz (225g) cooked chicken, cubes or scraps
4 warmed pancakes
1 tblsp chopped fresh parsley
Fry the onion in the butter until softened. Stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute then gradually stir in the milk. Bring to the simmer, stirring all the time, then cook for 2 minutes. Season to taste then add the dried herbs and mushrooms and continue simmering for 6 minutes. Add the chicken and heat through.
Divide the filling between each pancake and fold into quarters . Serve immediately sprinkled with the parsley.
If wishing to egg and crumb, the pancakes can be filled in advance, folded over to make a semi-circle, then coated and shallow fried. Make quite sure the filling is heated through before serving.