Thursday, March 22, 2012

Recipe Time: Monkey Curry

I have a post on the way, but I won't finish it today. Instead, please consider this curry recipe, which I have bastardized until it only reflects the way my family used to do it, and not really any region of India. 
Makes lots, and freezes really well. 

Update: There were no monkeys hurt making this curry. It's by a Monkey, for Monkeys like you all, and you can monkey around with it. If you put monkeys in it (or bats) you're on your own.* 

*You'd want to increase the cumin, pepper & ginger, for one thing. 
I mean, I would guess.

The Recipe:
It's not simple, and it takes a while, but it is my favorite dish in the world. I prefer to put the garlic into the saute last, not as directed, for only about 30 seconds. You'll smell when it's done. 
Then add the tomatoes to stop it burning.

Make it with chicken and chickpeas, or just chickpeas. Add partly-boiled potato cubes before baking if you like. 
I prefer brown basmati rice, although it takes an hour longer.

Please don't put fruit in it. I just don't understand that.

Monkey Curry
Serves 4-6
- 3 hours preparation -

Requires one 4-litre covered casserole/baking dish (if not element-safe then ALSO one 10-inch frying-pan)


1½ teaspoons salt (maximum)
¼ teaspoons ground cayenne pepper, (maximum)
5 teaspoons medium curry powder (minimum)
2 tablespoons (total) ground coriander and/or fresh minced cilantro (maximum)
½ teaspoon freshly ground cumin seed
½ teaspoon freshly ground fennel seed
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamon
1 teaspoon Garam Masala

Main ingredients

1 kilogram chicken breast, in approx. 1 inch square pieces (maximum) or pork or lamb.
vegetable oil
1 tablespoon garlic, chopped (minimum)
1½ teaspoons fresh ginger, minced (minimum)
1½ cups onion, chopped
1 medium-large zucchini, finely chopped
14 ounces (minimum) canned tomatoes (1 can) plus liquid or fresh tomatoes (canned is preferred)
11 ounces tomato paste (two small cans)
1½ cups plain yoghurt (minimum)
1 tablespoon lemon or lime juice (or concentrate)

Preheat oven to 350º Fahrenheit.

In a 10-inch frying pan or 4-litre element-safe baking dish:

1.   Fry chicken lightly in oil -- just until white and slightly firm, about 3 minutes, setting aside pieces as each is done. DO NOT BROWN. Cover and set aside all chicken for later in recipe.

2.   Sauté onion, garlic and ginger in oil -- medium heat, about 6-8 minutes total. After about 3 minutes add zucchini. DO NOT BURN (brown) THE GARLIC OR THE ONIONS. The onions should just get transparent.

3.   Reduce heat to low. Add curry and 1-2 tablespoons of the tomato liquid (or juice, if fresh). Sauté for 1 minute then add tomatoes (breaking each to avoid burstings). Stir in tomato paste. Add coriander, cumin, fennel and cardamon. Stir in yoghurt. Add up to ½ teaspoons cayenne and up to 1½ teaspoons salt, tasting to confirm amount required.

Heat up to medium.                                        
NOTE: frying-pan may be full now.

4.   Either add chicken to pan or put contents and chicken in element-safe baking-dish sprayed with non-stick oil.

Bring to a boil, stirring constantly.

5.   Transfer contents (if not already in) to covered casserole/baking dish. Add lemon/lime juice and stir. Sprinkle with Garam Masala.

Bake at 350º F for 1 hour.

6.   Stir and serve with (or over) turmeric rice and peas.

Provide chutney and roti (or substitute warm, buttered pita bread, whole-wheat or white).

Turmeric Rice
Serves 4
- 40 minutes preparation -
1½ teaspoons ground turmeric (absolute maximum)
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon butter
2 cups raw basmati rice

Wash the rice well in cold water. Soak it in a bowl with 5 cups water and ½ teaspoon salt for 30 minutes.
Drain out the water.
Melt the butter in a rice pot (heavy or copper bottomed with a tight lid) over medium heat.
Pour in the drained rice and stir for a minute or so.
Add 21/4 cups water and the remaining salt.
Bring to a boil.
Cover, lower heat to very low and cook for 20 minutes.
Lift lid, mix rice gently with fork.
Cover again and cook for another 10 minutes or until rice is tender.
Sprinkle with parsley or fresh coriander leaves and serve.

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