Curry and rice is a quick, simple dinner. Just don’t offer it to my mom.
[This is a new feature: Dinners you can have ready, start to finish, in 30 minutes or quicker. I’ve gone back and placed some old posts into this category, as well.]
My mother hates curry. HATES it. And lentils; she can’t stand those, either.
When we’re teasing each other, I tell her I’m going to cook her a big pile of curried lentils and she makes the funniest yuckface.
The kid and I, however, LOVE curry. Indian, Thai, whatever. We could eat curry every other day, especially because there are so many kinds to choose from.
One cool thing about having a curry-loving kid is that a pot of curry and a pot of rice can be on the table in 30 minutes, practically fuss-free.
For extra ease, you can buy curry pastes and powders to make your curries with. I especially like the pastes from Mae Ploy brand, but for freshness and cost, spicing your own curries is a better deal. I started out with great basic Indian-cooking books like these two, and gradually came up with my own sense of how much coriander (LOTS), cumin (very little), fenugreek, and turmeric I want for an Indian curry:
An Invitation to Indian Cooking, by Madhur Jaffrey
The Spice Box: Vegetarian Indian Cookbook, by Manju Shivraj Singh
[Proceeds from books bought at Powell’s links on my site go to the Alameda County Community Food Bank.]
Generally, what I do for an Indian curry is this: If any of the spices I am using are whole, I toast them quickly in a pan. Then I grind the spices and fry them up in a little oil, add onions, potatoes, carrots, and enough liquid (water, stock, and/or coconut milk—whatever I have handy) to cover. Bring that to a boil, cook 15 minutes, then add the quicker-cooking vegetables (cauliflower, or whatever) along with a can of garbanzos or some cubed tofu if I have them. At serving time, if the sauce feels too thin, I add a cornstarch slurry or just use a slotted spoon to serve.
The yellow rice is beyond easy. Heat a teaspoon or so of oil. Add a cup of rice and a teaspoon of turmeric. Cook the rice as usual (2 cups of water; 20 minutes on the stove for white rice; 45 minutes for brown; whatever your rice cooker says if you’re using one). At the end of the cooking time, let it sit undisturbed for 5 minutes off the heat, and then add in raisins, currants, and/or nuts, if desired.
This photo isn’t pretty, but it’s one of my faves: cauliflower, tofu, and a little bit of bell pepper.
These are all Indian curries. Clay’s Kitchen, Thaifoodcast, and other online sources are my go-to places for learning how Thai foods are spiced, and these days, I either mix Mae Ploy red curry paste with coconut milk, or I make a green curry paste similar to this one. I’ll take pictures next time I make a Thai curry. The kid likes both Thai and Indian curries, but I tend to fall down on the Thai side, given my preference.
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