Tag Archives: Curry leaf

Salmon Curry with Coconut Milk

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A few weeks ago, Seattle got a shipment of Copper River Salmon, it made the news. The Pacific North-West makes a huge fuss over this firm red fleshed fish. So much so that when I saw a piece of salmon, frozen in the deep freeze I contemplated getting rid of it. What was I doing not eating the freshest tastiest salmon from the markets? Especially the markets that were teasing me with loud, in your face signs telling me that they had “Copper River Salmon”. Instead I decided to make a curry with this salmon, something a little different!

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp. oil
  • 1 small white onion finely chopped
  • 2 green chillies sliced (optional)
  • 1 clove garlic chopped
  • curry leaves
  • 2 tomatoes finely chopped
  • 1 tsp. turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp. unroasted curry powder
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 200g salmon cut into 2 cm cubes
  • 1/2 lime juiced

Preparation

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In a small saucepan, add the oil and wait until heated. To the oil  add the onion, green chillies, garlic and curry leaves. Saute until the onions and garlic are soft and fragrant.

To this fragrant mixture add the turmeric, curry powder and tomatoes. Keep cooking until the tomatoes begin to break down.

At this point add the coconut milk, stir  and  bring the whole mixture to  boil.

When the curry is boiling, turn the heat down to a simmer and add the cubed salmon. Simmer for about 5 minutes until the salmon is just cooked (firm to the touch) and finish with the lime juice.

Serve immediately over lots of soft, fluffy white rice.

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Filed under Fish, Meat/Fish Dishes, Sri Lankan Food, Uncategorized

Beetroot Curry

 

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I still remember walking into my grandmother’s kitchen and finding my Aunty chopping beetroot. I was fascinated by the red stains it left on her hands. She tried to convince me it was blood, I wasn’t so easily fooled. Besides, I remember I was wearing my twirly dress and being able to twirl out of the kitchen and back outside.

Beetroot has always been a favourite of mine. Not least because of the lovely red colour it stains your rice. Beetroot curry feels uniquely Sri Lankan to me, I’ve never seen it in any other cuisines. Feel free to adjust the level of gravy in this curry, you can simmer it a little longer to make a drier curry or add more than the recommended coconut milk to make more gravy for spooning over your rice.

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Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp. oil
  • 3 small beetroot cut into thin batons
  • 1/2 a small onions chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic chopped
  • 1/2 a stick of cinnamon
  • 1/2 a green chilli chopped
  • 1 teaspoon of mustard seeds
  • Sprig of curry leaves
  • 2 teaspoons unroasted (vegetable) curry powder
  • 1 tsp. chilli powder (or to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup of coconut milk (or water)

Preparation

In small to medium pot heat the oil and add the mustard seeds. Once they begin spitting add the cinamon and curry leaves . This should render the oil lovely and fragrant. At this point add the onions and garlic and cook until they are soft.

To the softened onions add the the curry and chilli powder and cook until the rawness of the curry powder is gone. The curry powder will smell lovely and fargrant when it is ready.

Now add the beetroot and coconut milk and stir well until all the ingredients are combined.

Simmer on a medium heat until the beetroot is tender, it should still have a little bite.

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Season with salt and adjust as necessary. Serve hot with lots of steamed white rice.

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Filed under Sri Lankan Food, Uncategorized, Vegetarian Curries

Bandakka (Okra) Curry

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Okra is a very divisive vegetable. I feel you either love the slimy texture or you don’t. I’m a fan. Always have been. So when I saw some fresh, green okra at our local Saturday farmer’s market I grabbed a handful straight away.

It was only when I got home that I thought about Mr Firehouse. You see, he is a hater of all things slimy. So the okra sat unloved, in my fridge, for nearly a week before I decided to tackle it.

During last years trip to Sri Lanka we had stayed at a new beach side resort. One of my favourite things about Asian hotels are the buffets! Love! This one was no different. They served all kinds of impressive Western fare; cold cuts and salads in tiny shot glasses. However, my  eyes and plate never strayed far from the big traditional earthenware pots that had real, homestyle, Sri Lankan food. Breadfruit curry glistening with black curry powder, Kalu Pork curry with tender, spicy pork and the okra curry teeming with dried chillis. I served myself all of the above and was surprised to find that the okra wasn’t its usual slimy self. It tasted the same and had the soft almost gelatinous texture, but the sliminess that offends most people was strangely absent. On closer inspection and a quick chat to the chefs the secret was revealed, the okra was deep fried prior to cooking!

This is exactly what I did to tackle my stash of okra. The extra step made this dish much more Mr Firehouse friendly and I must say, I enjoyed the change too! If you’re not fussed about the okra’s slimy tendencies, just skip the deep frying part.

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Ingredients

  •  200-250 g okra (about 1/2 a pound) sliced on an angle
  • oil for deep frying
  • 1/2 red onion sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic chopped
  • 3-4 dried red chillis
  • 1 tsp. mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp. fenugreek seeds
  • 1/2 tsp. maldive fish flakes
  • 1/2tsp. turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp. vegetable curry powder
  • salt to taste
  • 1/4 cup coconut cream

Preparation

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In a small frypan heat the oil for deep frying and deep fry the okra in batches until they have a little colour. Drain well

In a medium saucepan or pot place a little oil and add the onion and garlic. Fry until the onions and garlic and soft and aromatic.

To the same pot add all of the dried spices and fry for 2-3 minutes until the spices are lightly toasted.

Finally add the fried okra and mix thoroughly coating all the okra in the lovely toasted spices.

Once the okra is well coated add the coconut cream and a little water to cover the okra.

Let the curry simmer for 5 minutes until it thickens. Add salt to taste and serve warm with plenty of fluffy white rice.

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Filed under Sri Lankan Food, Vegetarian Curries

Breadfruit Curry (Del Curry)

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In Sri Lanka there is an expression that goes something like “Ala del vela”. It literally translates to the potatoes have turned into breadfruit. It’s akin to the English; ‘it’s all gone pear shaped’.  What it refers to is that a bad, overcooked potato curry will look like the thicker, more mushy breadfruit curry.  I heard this expression an awful lot growing up, it was one of my dad’s pet phrases. Unfortunately I had no idea what it meant because growing up in Australia I never had del. Not that I remember. As you can imagine this phrase didn’t hold much meaning for me until I finally tried del, then I spent a lot of time regretting my misspent youth and all the missed opportunities to eat del!

This curry, if made with good breadfruit, and believe you me not all breadfruit is created equal, is lovely, thick and slightly ‘slimy’. It’s perfect with rice and is meaty enough to stand on it’s own, unlike the humble potato. If the breadfruit is not ripe enough the curry will not get floury, no matter how much you cook it. In Sri Lanka, this is a lost cause and the dish will often be thrown out. I leave this up to your discretion. Thankfully this has never happened to me with the processed variety.

I’ve made this with frozen breadfruit and you can follow this for fresh as well. If you’re working with the tinned variety, the quantity might be a bit smaller and you’re best off making the curry with the coconut milk and then adding the drained breadfruit to the simmering coconut broth. The tinned fruit is using partially cooked or brined so doesn’t require the softening. You can then temper, as per the recipe below.

One of my favourite ways to eat this curry is with simple store bought paratha and a “salsa” of cubed tomatoes, cucumber and red onions seasoned with a little salt and chilli


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Ingredients

  • 1 tsp. curry powder
  • 500 g frozen  (~ 1lb ) breadfruit, peeled and cut into 3cm pieces
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp. turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp. maldive fish
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 pandan leaf
  • curry leaves
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • For tempering
  • 3 tbsp. oil
  • 1/2 small red  onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp. mustard seeds
  • 3-4 dried red chillis cut into pieces
  • pinch of roasted dark curry powder (for serving)

Preparation

In a medium saucepan add the breadfruit, turmeric, curry powder, maldive fish, curry leaf, pandan leaf and pepper. Cover the breadfruit with water and turn the heat on to medium.

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Cook until the breadfruit it soft and going “floury” around the edges.

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When the breadfruit reaches the floury stage add the coconut milk and simmer for 5 minutes until the curry is thick.

In a small frying pan add the oil and mustard seeds. When the mustard seeds begin to pop add the onions and dried chilli to the pan. Cook on medium heat until the onions have just a little bit of colour.

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Add the tempered onions to the del curry and stir through. Serve with a sprinkle roasted curry powder.

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Filed under Sri Lankan Food, Vegetarian Curries

Garlic

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I have an irrational hatred for cleaning garlic. I hate the way the skin sticks to my fingers, I hate that I can smell the garlic on me for ages afterwards. I hate that all the cloves are different sizes. I also don’t like the taste of smell of the minced garlic in bottles, it never tastes quite right, like lemon juice out of a squeeze bottle. So, I’ve developed a few tips and tricks to avoid the hassle.

A few notes

  • Fresh garlic is always best, so if you can get it fresh and want a potent garlic flavour, go for the good stuff. If I’m doing a lamb roast, or a garlic centred dish, I always forgo the annoyances and get the fresh stuff.
  • Garlic stored at room temperature, in oil or in the fridge can develop botulinum toxin, so please be very careful about how you store garlic

I buy these bags from Costco, but there’s a lot of places you can buy already peeled garlic.

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I then rinse and place the whole lot in a food processor and process until finely chopped (almost a paste). Next I place teaspoons full (about 2 small cloves of garlic) onto a tray, lined with paper and place in the freezer. Once frozen (leave at least 4-6 hours depending on your freezer) I place them in zip loc backs and keep in the freezer. When I need garlic in a recipe, I simply place a frozen nugget in the pot, it defrosts quickly and I have no garlic skins stuck to me!

I also freeze some cloves whole by laying them on a tray and placing them in a Ziploc bag once frozen. This is for recipes that ask for slices or chopped garlic, rather than crushed.

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1  bag of garlic lasts us at least a few months and a few hours work (mainly in the freezer) saves me a lot of annoyance down the track.

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Curry Leaves

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When we left Sydney I had to leave my beautiful curry leaf plant behind. It was so handy being able to pop into the garden, tear off a sprig and run back in to pop it into a curry. I don’t have that luxury here. I suspect the climate gets far too cold for curry leaves to grow. In fact, most supermarkets don’t stock them here. You need to specifically visit an Asian or Indian supermarket to get them and they’re not all that common. I started stocking up last year whenever I went to the Indian grocery but quickly discovered that curry leaves don’t keep all that well in the fridge and just crumble in the freezer. I then took to the drying them and putting them in a tin and now I have curry leaves all year round, except when I forget to go to the Indian grocer or Callum throws them out of the trolley without me noticing.

Here’s how

Simple de-sprig your curry leaves and give them a good wash and drain.

Place them in single layer on an oven tray and put them in a 120 degree celsius (250 fahrenheit) oven for about 20-30 minutes until they’re dry but still green. Make sure there is no residual moisture and all leaves are nice and dry.

Place them in an airtight container. I’ve had mine for about 3-4 months without any issues.

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