After last week, I felt like I needed a little something to spice things up. Indian food is well known for having plenty of flavor and spice in their cuisine. So why not make Indian food when I am getting a little chili (pun intended). I decided I would give this type of food a whirl by making a coconut-based curry.
The recipe that I used, which I will attach below, called for about a cup of diced onions. Normally I would whip out my good old friends, called my glasses, for a job like this; this time was different, I felt like I could take on the world I was so excited. I was chopping away at what seemed like an unusually large amount of onion and then bam–it hit me, tears were streaming down my face, I was jumping up and down, and ultimately I ended up on the floor groveling in pain (this may be an over-exaggeration).
In an attempt to not feel as rushed as I did last week, I made sure that I had chopped up all the ingredients that were needed before I began. This proved to be an enormous relief in the long run, as I was not rushing around like a lost puppy trying to find food. Now the difficult part for me was that once everything started cooking there was a point when things got a little out of control. There were spices flying left and right and I was just hoping they would make it into the pan. It didn’t stop there, I could only allow the spices to cook without liquid for thirty seconds or they would burn! I felt like I was trying to diffuse a bomb and the slightest error was going to blow the whole thing up. It was a cool relief when I added the coconut milk, I was finally able to catch a break and curry on to the next step.
Now, the moment you have been waiting for, what I actually thought of this exquisite meal. I am a huge fan of spicy foods like I said earlier, I was looking for something that would have a little kick. After all the spices I dumped into this dish I was expecting it to be tear jerking, and leave me reaching for a glass of milk. I was genuinely surprised with how the flavor turned out, it began with a dull sweet taste that morphed into a slight kick that made you keep coming back for more. In the end, I would give this dish a 9.5/10 with it only losing points because it could have been a little bit spicier. Now I will say, this could have been due to the fact that I could not find curry leaves anywhere. Aarti said that if you couldn’t find them it would be better to just leave them out, so that’s what I did
I took this recipe from the cookbook, Aarti Paarti, which you can buy by following the link.
2 tablespoons sunflower oil
1/2 medium yellow onion, finely diced (about 1 cup)
1 sprig curry leaves (about 16)
2 tablesooins minced garlic (from about 5 cloves)
1 teaspoon grated peeled freshh ginger
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
3/4 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (leave out if you don’t like spicy things)
1/2 cup canned diced fire-roasted tomatoes
2(15.5-ounce) cans black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed
1 cup hot water
3/4 teaspoon dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon tamarind concentrate, or 2 teaspoons lime juice
3/4 cup canned coconut milk
Small handful finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves and soft stems (about 1/4 cup)
In a large, preferably nonstick wok or pot, combine the oil, onion and a pinch of salt. set the wok over medium heat and cook until you hear the onions sizzling. Give them a stir, and cook until deep golden brown and sweet-smelling, 10 to 12 minutes. Make sure you stir them (nearly continuously!) in the last minute to keep them from burning, and add a splash of water (carefully!) if they start to stick.
Add the curry leaves, garlic and ginger, and cook for 30 seconds, until fragrant.
Now to add the spice mix. In a small bowl, combine the coriander, cumin, paprika, turmeric, and pepper. If you’re using a nonstick pan, sprinkle away. If not, then dissolve the spice mix in a little water, then add it to the pan. Either way, stir continuously for 30 seconds.
Careully add the tomatoes (they will sputter), and stir well. Cook for a couple of minutes, smashing the tomatoes with your spoon, until thickened and nearly dry.
Add the black-eyed peas, hot water, sugar and 3/4 teaspoon salt. Stir until well combined, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to maintain a simmer, cover and cook for 10 minutes.
Stir in the tamarind concentrate and–my favorite part– that luxurious, creamy coconut milk. Simmer very gently, uncovered, for 8 to 10 minutes, just to thicken it up a bit. Taste for salt and finish with the cilantro.