Thursday, January 5, 2017
On Finding an Old Cookbook, and revisiting the recipes
This Bill Veach cookbook has been in my life for decades, but I hadn't realized I still had it till I suddenly wondered if it would be good to make a curry. I make a lot of spicy food, but not specifically curried this and that.
So I found it behind something else on the cookbook shelf, and set to work. This is a lovely book, on Indian food preparation by a longtime resident, made for Western cooks to follow. Not sure if it's still available but if so, well worth the finding. It's friendly, chatty, and very well presented, lovely cover, typeface and all that.
And I found my old favorite, Buckingham Palace Curry. Plan on making that soon, with roast turkey I have lurking in the freezer.
You can easily tell this page was a favorite in our house.
Meanwhile, I also looked up chutneys and curry powders. I used to go the whole way when I cooked this stuff, making my own ghee (my Indian friend, who has eaten it all her life, never made it, was very impressed, but said, well nowadays we buy it made!)
I also made my own chutneys, unless we were going for Major Grey's Mango Chutney, than which there is nothing better. And I made my own coconut milk, grating and squeezing fresh coconut. I must have been hyper enthusiastic.
Today, I decided, after noticing that I have all the spices needed to make Bill's No. 1 curry powder, that all I needed to was assemble them and set to work.
This started out as just a recipe, but became a wonderful aromatherapy session. The scent of newly opened green cardamom seeds is heavenly, and all the other spices, as you spoon them out, are wonderful. On top of the jar on the left you see a cardamom seed, hull and contents. You need to get the seeds out for use.
I don't have a scale, so I went with his suggestion to sub teaspoons in the same proportions, easy, and it makes a nice small supply.
Ground it up in the coffee grinder, and here's the result
The grinder needs serious wiping and cleaning and airing after this recipe, so that my next nut flour won't be curry flavored.
And here, in a jar is how my personal Curry Powder No 1. will be on the shelf. Glass jar, tightly capped. All the proud parents looking on at their little product.
I compared it to what's left of a jar of commercial curry powder, and found they use more cumin, but my mix is very good. This is not sizzling hot, just very spicy flavor. And I can always adjust as I go, after trying it a few times.
So I now have a dish of curried baby bella mushrooms in the freezer for when I need an interesting vegetable side, and a piece of flounder marinating in milk and a curry rub, in the fridge probably for tomorrow.
The mushrooms were easy, just slice and chop, and wait till the mixture of butter and oil has stopped foaming in the pan, add in the curry powder, just a half teaspoonful this time, and let it cook a while to release flavor, then add in mushrooms. Cook till you like them, then stop! Cool, label and freeze. Done.
It's usually a good idea to cook spices first, in the hot oil, before you add other items, better flavor that way. I do this all the time, even salt is better this way. So if you happen to have a raft of spices, here's a great recipe which reminds you why you got them in the first place.
I can now take my proud place alongside Indian women who make their own curry powder, and masala and all that..and I'm looking at the banana chutney recipe now, too. Bananas are great with curry.
Next I need to sit a while. I'm doing better, antibiotics taking hold, but I'm amazingly tired after a bit of activity. Might even take on Handsome's Son tactful text this morning: "maybe you can take time to rest.."