Showing posts with label Curry. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Curry. Show all posts

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

A Knock-Off Recipe: Madras Lentils

A close friend (the one who taught me to make potstickers) came to me with a culinary challenge. Her six year daughter is not a particularly adventurous eater, but she loves loves loves one thing: a packaged curry called Madras lentils made by a company called Tasty Bite, sold in shelf-stable pouches. You snip open the pouch, heat the curry and it is ready to eat. My friend wondered if there was a way to make this stuff at home- to avoid the packaging, and there's no doubt that making it at home would be cheaper, and with more control on how much salt, oil and spice goes into the dish. Challenge accepted. I told her we could it quite easily with some reverse engineering.

I've never tasted this packaged curry myself, but a web search gave me the ingredient list- a gratifyingly short and simple one: Water, Tomatoes, Lentils, Red Beans, Onions, Cream, Salt, Butter, Sunflower Oil, Chilies, Cumin. 

Looking at the ingredient list, I'd guess that they cook onions and tomatoes together in some oil, season with cumin, salt and chilies, then add the paste to cooked lentils (whole masoor) and red beans (rajma or kidney beans) and add some butter and cream to finish. By the way, I'm not sure at all why these are called Madras lentils. Just sounded like a catchy name, maybe?

We got together this Saturday evening and cooked it together. Since I had dried kidney beans and a pressure cooker on hand, I just soaked a cup of rajma/kidney beans overnight and cooked them with the lentils. But I'm trying to make this recipe amenable to those who are total newbies to Indian cooking, so the recipe below calls for no special equipment and for no ingredients that you couldn't find in any old supermarket.

Copycat Madras Lentils

1. Soak 1 cup dry brown lentils (sold in supermarkets as lentils and Indian stores as whole masoor) for a couple of hours (see pic above). Rinse and cook in a pot with 2 cups water until tender. Set aside.

2. Rinse 2 cans red kidney beans, drain and add to cooked lentils. 

3. In a pan, heat 1 tbsp. butter + 1 tbsp. oil
4. Saute 2 diced onions until browned. 
5. Add salt to taste, 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper (or 1 tsp. paprika for even milder version) and 1 tsp. ground cumin
6. Add 1.5 cups canned crushed tomatoes and stir fry for 5-10 minutes.
7. Cool the mixture, then blend to a smooth paste in a food processor or blender.

8. Combine cooked lentils, beans and onion-tomato paste in a saucepan, adding some water if needed. Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes. 

9. Stir in 1 tbsp. butter, 2-3 tbsp. cream and serve as a stew or over steamed rice. 

According to my friend, our curry looked just like the real thing, except that the packaged version looks much redder. Maybe they add Kashmiri chili powder- which is mild and bright red? She was delighted that the dish was so simple to make. According to my friend's daughter, our curry was "even better than the real thing, because it is not as spicy". She approved of the knock-off version and ate two helpings. Mission accomplished! 

Now, to my own taste, I would have loved some ginger and garlic in this dish, and perhaps some turmeric and definitely more chili powder. But it is a great starter recipe for anyone new to tasting or cooking Indian food and most importantly, it made a kid and her mom happy, which is all I set out to do. 

Have a great week, friends.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Freestyle Cooking: Vegetable Kurma

As much as I love to read cookbooks the way other people read novels, and to read 200+ food blogs on a regular basis looking for new dishes to try, my daily cooking is quite free-wheeling. It is unfettered by black and white recipe instructions, dictated instead by the current residents of my fridge and pantry. Last night's impromptu creation was tasty enough to make it to the blog.

I soaked urad dal and rice to make Kanchipuram dosa from Aayi's Recipes. A crisp dosa needs a good dunking in some tasty stew, and instead of the usual sambar, I decided to make coconut-based kurma/sagu that I have been on so many blogs. With not many vegetables on hand, I used pantry staples like potatoes, onion, carrot and a half-bag of Surti lilva beans (these are similar to lima beans) lurking in the freezer.

Whenever I find small 5.7 oz cans of Chaokoh brand coconut milk in the international store (half the size of normal cans), I stock up on them. It is so convenient to use an entire small can of coconut milk for a recipe instead of opening the big one, saving half of it in a glass jar, then having to scramble and use it within a couple of days before it goes rancid.

This recipe is an example of how much I love off-label applications of spice mixes. In this case, I spiked the kurma with rasam powder. This particular powder was a gift from Manasi of A Cook @ Heart and I swear it makes everything taste fantastic. I use it often for tomato dal. If I remember correctly, her recipe for the rasam powder is in this post.

Vegetable Kurma
(serves about 4)

1. Heat 2 tsp. oil and temper it with
1 tsp. cumin seeds
1 tsp. mustard seeds
1 pinch asafetida
1 sprig fresh curry leaves

2. Add 1 chopped onion and saute until the onion is translucent.

3. Add the following and stir for a few seconds
12 tsp. ginger-garlic paste
12 tsp. turmeric
12 tsp. red chilli powder
1 tsp. rasam powder
1 tsp. cumin-coriander powder

4. Add the vegetables
2 medium potatoes, cut into medium dice
1 carrot, cut into medium dice
1 cup frozen Surti lilva beans or baby lima beans
Salt to taste

5. Add a cup of water and simmer until the vegetables are almost cooked.

6. Stir in 5.7 oz coconut milk (1 small can) or half a regular can or 1 cup fresh coconut milk. Simmer gently for 5-10 minutes. Let the kurma sit for at least 30 minutes before serving.

This stew would be wonderful with plenty of cilantro if you have some on hand (I did not). Another variation would be to add tomatoes along with the other vegetables.

I don't know how to explain it, but the cooking aroma of this stew was so "authentic" somehow even though the recipe clearly is not. With no grinding and only about 5 minutes of chopping involved, it is the perfect choice for busy weeknights. This stew was fantastic with dosas, but would be equally at home with some bread, rotis or rice.

What about you- do you like freestyle cooking or do you like to follow recipes word for word?

Monday, November 30, 2009

Cashews Are the New Cream

Out grocery shopping this weekend, we spotted a mesh bag of the teeniest tiniest potatoes I have ever seen in my life. Some of them were only a little bigger than chickpeas! V's eyes lit up as he mouthed the words, "dum aloo".

So that is how recipe #32 is Vegan Dum Aloo. The inspiring recipe was this Alu Dum recipe from The Spice Who Loved Me.

There's quite a bit of butter and cream involved in the way most restaurants make this dish. Here, cashew paste takes over and contributes a rich and creamy taste and totally eliminates the need for any dairy products. Paprika is used to add a beautiful color and taste while keeping the curry mild. I chose to roast the potatoes with their skin on; the crackling roasted skin contributes a wonderful smoky flavor to the dish.

Here's my version of the original recipe:

1. The potatoes-
Wash and dry 2-3 cups of baby potatoes. Prick each one 2-3 times with a fork and toss them in olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread the potatoes on a baking sheet in a single layer and roast at 425F for 20-25 minutes (I used a toaster oven to save energy) or until the potatoes are fork-tender.

2. The paste-
a) Chop 2 medium onions in large dice. Saute them in a spoonful of oil until light brown. Let them cool down.
b) Soak ¼ cup raw cashews in hot water for 20 minutes or so.
c) Grind together the soaked cashews and onions to a fine, thick paste.

3. Heat oil and temper it with 1 tsp. each of cumin seeds and nigella seeds (kalonji).

4. Add 2 tsp. ginger-garlic paste, 2 tsp. kasuri methi, turmeric, red chilli powder, paprika, salt and saute for several seconds.

5. Stir in the cashew paste and a cup of tomato puree and cook the mixture together for 10 minutes. Add water as required to adjust the consistency of the curry to your own taste.

6. Taste the curry and add a pinch of sugar if it is too tangy. Finally, turn off the heat, add the following:
1 tsp. garam masala
the hot roasted baby potatoes
handful of minced cilantro

Let the curry rest, covered, for 10 minutes to allow the flavors to blend in. Serve with rotis (or whole wheat tortillas masquerading as rotis) or rice.

Thanks to everyone who took the time to write in very helpful tips regarding rice cookers on my previous post! Y'all are the best!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Going green

This morning, I realized that it is exactly 40 days until the dawn of 2010. Doesn't the year 2010 sound so futuristic somehow? All gleaming spaceships instead of this dusty old planet? To conjure up some excitement for myself, I'm getting started on a mini challenge: I hope to try 40 new recipes by the time the shiny happy new year rolls around. Am I crazy? Can I do it? Watch this space and we'll both discover if I can pull this off.

The countdown begins with a bang: Recipe #40 is Sandeepa's sarson da saag, something I bookmarked just yesterday both for the recipe and for her discussion of the now formalized practice of "unfriending" (read her post to find out more).

I was intrigued to find that instead of the usual mustard greens, she used its cousin broccoli rabe (pic below) to make sarson da saag. This is a flavorful Punjabi dish that makes it to Indian restaurant menus across the globe and as usual, sparks off restaurant envy in me.


My history with broccoli rabe gave me pause. I remember buying it years ago, sauteeing it and making a quick pasta with it, and having to throw the whole thing into the trash because it was too bitter for words. Well, today I gave it a second chance. Using Sandeepa's recipe (given to her by a kind acquaintance), I made sarson da saag that knocked my socks off.

See the original recipe here. Here's how I made the Sarson da Saag:

1. Take ½ large bunch of broccoli rabe. Wash and coarsely chop it to get about 6-8 cups in all (only remove the toughest part of the stems, the rest can be used).

2. Pressure cook the broccoli rabe with 1.5 cups water. 1 whistle worked fine for me.

3. When the cooker is cool enough to open, stir in 1 package frozen spinach and 1 heaped tbsp. besan (chickpea flour) into the cooked broccoli rabe. Use an immersion blender to puree the mixture.

4. In another large pan, heat 1 tbsp. oil and fry 2 large chopped onions until brown. Add 1 tbsp. ginger-garlic paste and stir for a minute or two.

5. Add salt, turmeric, red chilli powder, all to taste and stir for a few seconds.

6. Add 1 cup tomato puree and fry well for a few minutes.

7. Add the pureed greens, bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes.

8. Add a pinch of garam masala right after you turn off the heat.

I did not have tofu or paneer on hand, so I stirred in a package of mock chicken strips (gluten strips) at the end. Because this was a Saturday night dinner where splurges are allowed, I added a dab of butter and a splash of cream at the very end. This recipe was an unqualified success- we loved the pleasant bitterness of the greens and the warmth of the spices. This made about 6 large servings.

In conclusion, I'm friending you, Broccoli Rabe. As long as you don't get too bitter, I won't dream of unfriending you. txt me, k?

By the way, speaking of buzzwords, going green, the title of this post, is on the list of overused words/phrases that some people want to banish this year.

*** Puppy Update ***

Dale got a very very special gift this Diwali, a red scarf with the prettiest paisley design. He wore it proudly on his walks...

and I think he wants to say something:


Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Thursday, August 06, 2009

The Bookmark Project: Tangy Curried Vaal

Well, well, well. I certainly learn something new every day. Usually in the first 15 minutes after I wake up, as I am sipping the first cup of tea and browsing through the latest RSS feeds.

I love all the beans in my pantry (and there are many), but the vaal (hyacinth beans) have a special place in my heart. Sprouted and peeled, they get cooked into two dishes that I have adored all my life. The problem is...the peeling! It is a little labor-intensive and needs a bit of planning, and this is why the poor vaal tend to languish in my pantry.


Shilpa of Aayi's Recipes posted a recipe recently that showed me a new way to cook the vaal- unsprouted (I can live with that) and unpeeled (hurray)! Bookmarked!

And that's how I could make vaal today on the spur of the moment for a weeknight meal. All I did was soak the vaal in the morning for tonight's dinner. I adapted Shilpa's recipe slightly to omit a few spices and make a basic version of this curry. I seem to be genetically programmed to cook goda jevan (food with a hint of sweetness) and that's how a small lump of jaggery ended up in there as well. I loved the way it contrasted with the tangy tamarind and slightly bitter vaal. A simple curry with complex flavors. And no, you can't taste the peel.

Tangy Curried Vaal


Adapted from Shilpa's delicious recipe

1. Soak 1 cup vaal for 8 hours or so, then rinse them and pressure cook them.

2. Soak 1 tablespoon or so of tamarind in a cup of hot water and extract the tamarind juice.

3. Roast the following together, then cool and grind into a fine powder. Add a tablespoon of cooked beans to the powder and grind again to make a thick paste.
1 heaped tsp. cumin seeds
1 heaped tsp. coriander seeds
1 heaped tsp. sesame seeds
1 heaped tsp. poppy seeds

4. In a saucepan, heat 2 tsp. oil. Temper the oil with mustard seeds, a pinch of asafoetida and a sprig of curry leaves.

5. Add 1 small minced onion and fry it for a few minutes. Add turmeric, red chilli powder and salt to taste.

6. Stir in the cooked beans, spice/bean paste, tamarind juice and a small lump of jaggery. Add water as need to thin down the curry. Simmer for 10 minutes. Done!

I served the tasty curry with some freshly steamed rice and a simple subzi of eggplant and potato for a truly sumptuous weeknight meal.

This post goes to the bean-lovin' event, My Legume Love Affair. The 14th edition is being hosted at the home of this event, The Well-Seasoned Cook.

August has started and I find myself in a busy phase, work-wise. But I fully intend to continue cooking the bookmarks and featuring the successes in short posts like this one. See you soon!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Recipe request: Vaalache Bhirde

Suma B., a reader, mailed me a few weeks ago. She had tasted a typical Marathi dish somewhere and loved it and was looking for a recipe for it. Well, it turns out that I love this dish too, so I'm only too happy to share the recipe here. What is the dish? A creamy coconut-based curry made with sprouts of a dal called either vaal or dalimbay, and the preparation is called a bhirde making it either vaalache bhirde or dalimbyache bhirde (quite a mouthful if you don't speak Marathi)!

This curry has a special place in my heart because I associate it with my aji (grandma) in Bombay who makes a delicious vaalache bhirde. It is a truly exceptional dish because it captures five flavors of food in one single spoonful: the spicy heat from chillies, sweetness from jaggery, a tangy note from tamarind, a hint of bitterness that is natural to the vaal; all bound together with a touch of salt. Add to that the creamy deliciousness of coconut and you have yourself a winner!

To make the bhirde, you have to start a couple of days ahead to allow time for spouting. I had talked about the vaal-sprouting process in this post, but will repeat some of it here:
(a) Take dried vaal. These beans are often sold in Indian and international stores under the name "Surti Val" (I spell it "vaal" because I think that is a more accurate transliteration of the word).
(b) Soak vaal in plenty of warm water overnight (8-12 hours): they will swell up.
(c) Drain and place in a colander, covered with a damp cheesecloth. In 36-48 hours, the vaal will sprout.
(d) Peel the sprouts by placing them in warm water; the peel should pop right off. Discard any beans that are discolored.

Peeling the sprouts is a necessary step and can be a little labor-intensive. I personally don't mind doing this task when I am relaxing on the couch watching TV or chatting with friends. Putting the curry together is a snap once the sprouts are peeled and the result is worth all the time spent!

Vaalache Bhirde

1. Take 1 and and half cups of vaal beans and soak, sprout and peel them as above. Set aside.
2. Soak 1 heaping tsp tamarind in 1/4 cup hot water to extract the juice (if you use tamarind paste, it does not need to be soaked).
2. Make a coconut paste as follows: In 1 tbsp oil, fry 1 large onion cut in large chunks until slightly browned. Add 2 cloves of garlic, chopped, and 1 cup fresh or frozen grated coconut and 1-3 (more or less, depending of hotness desired) fresh or frozen green or red chilies. Stir around until coconut is fragrant, then blend to a fine paste using a little water as required.
3. In a saucepan, heat 1 tbsp oil. Temper the oil with 1/2 tsp mustard seeds, 1/2 tsp cumin seeds, pinch of asafoetida, 5-6 curry leaves. Add 1 small onion, minced finely and fry it for a few seconds. Add 1/2 tsp turmeric powder, 1 tsp cumin powder, 1 tsp coriander powder and salt to taste.
4. Add the peeled sprouts and stir well. Add 1/2 cup water, cover the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until sprouts are just tender.
5. Add the coconut paste, tamarind extract and 1 heaping tsp of jaggery. Add some water if the curry looks too thick. Simmer the curry for 10 minutes. Taste for the balance of flavors and add a little more tamarind/jaggery/salt if required.
6. Garnish with minced cilantro. Serve with steamed rice or rotis.

This curry really brings back the taste of home! To make a delicious pilaf with the same vaal beans, try making this dalimbay bhaat.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

D is for Dum ki Arbi

The myriad cuisines of India all love their vegetables! Veggies are diced and sliced, grated and mashed, stir-fried and curried into hundreds of vegetable dishes. In this series, the A to Z of Indian Vegetables, we take an alphabetical journey through the various avatars of vegetables relished in Indian cuisine. For each letter, we will make a tasty vegetable dish that illustrates one manner in which vegetables are savored in India.

The "D" of Indian Vegetables

The letter D inspired nine delectable Indian flavors!

To start off, three D vegetables and four preparations, all vegetables that are relatively unfamiliar to me and that I have never cooked with (what a learning experience this is turning out to be for me).

First up, daikon, the beautiful peppery vegetable that is simply known as radish in India but as daikon in the US and other countries, that was made into a delicious Daikon-Coconut Chutney by Suma of Veggie Platter.

Next up, not the drumsticks that are popular additions to sambar, but the drumstick leaves that are stirred into a nutritious and unusual Drumstick leaves pulao by Inbavalli of Here Now.

The drumsticks themselves were not forgotten, however, and were paired with some tangy mango in a lovely Konkani Drumstick dal by Ashwini of Food for Thought.

Then there is the unusual cucumber called the dosakaya, made into a very creative, sweet-and-aromatic Dosakaya Breakfast Bread by Linda of Out Of The Garden.

Next come two D ingredients that are staples in Indian cooking.

One is dal, the nutritious lentils and pulses that form the basis of Indian vegetarian cooking, made into an tasty Dal Moghlai by Pavani of Cook's Hideout who adds vegetables to make the dal a two-in-one deal.

The other ingredient is dahi or yogurt, cooked into a tangy sauce with potatoes in the Gujarati dish Dahi Batate Nu Shak by Lakshmi of Veggie Cuisine.

Next, there are two D styles of cooking.
One is the handi (pot) style of cooking, used in a royal medley of mixed vegetables called Diwani Handi Sabzi by Latha of Masala Magic.

The other is the dum (steam) method of cooking in my entry below.

Finally, when the kitchen is running short of all vegetables except the pantry staples- onion and tomato- you can still whip up the tasty and comforting Dadpe Pohe by Manasi of A Cook At Heart, a favorite Marathi snack!

Many thanks to all the participants and hats off to their creativity!

D is for Dum ki Arbi: The "Dum" technique of cooking

Dum, dum pukht to be precise, is a slow, time-honored method of cooking that originated in Moghal cuisine. Dum (pronounce the "d' as in the "th" of "them" and not as in the "d" of "dull") actually means steam, and the basis of dum cooking is to seal the pot completely with some dough and let the contents simmer to perfection, infusing the dish with a heady aroma rather than allowing the flavors to escape. I wanted to name this post: "Dum is the new smart" but thought that people were sure to groan and throw their saucepans at me! :) Read more about dum cooking in this article.
In any case, when I started this series, I had two intentions. One was to share my favorite ways of cooking up vegetables with Indian flavors, and the other was to explore ways of cooking vegetables that were unfamiliar to me. Well, this letter presented itself with two opportunities: to try a style of cooking that is new to me (dum) and to cook a vegetable that I have never cooked with before, and only eaten a few times (arbi).
Arbi, also known by various aliases as arvi and taro and colacassia, is a root vegetable. In fact, it is the root of the plant whose giant leaves are used to make those delicious savory rolls called patra or alu wadi. Read more about this delicious but underrated vegetable here.
So off I went, the intrepid cook :) in search of some arbi. I found the smaller variety of arbi in the local international market. Frankly, the knobby, hairy roots terrified me!
Back home, preparing them was easier than I expected. A word of caution: the juices released when arbi is peeled can be slightly irritating to the skin, so one might want to wear food-prep gloves or coat the hands with some oil at the very least. First, I yanked the hairs off the arbi (surreal, I can tell you) and then used a peeler to peel off the tough skin. Then the vegetable is quite easy to dice up.
I had chosen a rich-sounding recipe from the popular Indian chef Sanjeev Kapoor. An easy-going guy with a charming personality, he gets a lot of credit for bringing restaurant-style cooking to Indian homes through his books and TV shows. This recipe, in typical restaurant style, I might add, calls for deep-frying the arbi and then going through several complicated steps to pull the dish together. I took ruthless short-cuts and ended up with good results anyway. For starters, I roasted the arbi instead of deep-frying it. I tasted a piece after roasting it, and loved the buttery taste. Interestingly, arbi is perfect for this sort of slow-simmered dish, because after roasting, the pieces did not fall apart in the curry at all, they stayed intact and yet absorbed all the flavors.

Dum ki Arbi

(heavily adapted from a recipe by Sanjeev Kapoor, serves 3-4)
1. Roasting the arbi: Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees F. Peel the arbi, wash it and cut it into bite-size pieces so you have 2-3 cups arbi in all. Toss it with a tbsp of oil and some salt and pour it on a baking sheet coated with non-stick spray. Roast the arbi until it is golden-brown and tender. This took me 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the arbi from the oven and set aside.
2. Make the yogurt mixture: In a bowl, combine 1 cup yogurt, 1 tsp red chili powder, 1/2 tsp turmeric powder, 1 tsp cumin powder and 1 tsp coriander powder.
3. Make the masala paste: Heat 1 tbsp oil in a saucepan. Fry 2 onions, roughly chopped, until they start browning. Add 1 tsp ginger-garlic paste, 2 heaping tbsp white poppy seeds, and fry for a couple of minutes more. Blend this mixture to a fine paste and set aside.
4. In a small bowl, combine 1/3 cup of atta (whole wheat flour) with some water to make a firm dough (this is for sealing the pan) and set aside.
4. Heat 1 tbsp oil in the saucepan (it is convenient to use the same one that the onion was fried in). Fry the masala paste for 2-3 minutes, then stir in the fried arbi, 1/4 tsp of nutmeg powder, 1 tsp garam masala, 1/2 tsp cardamom powder and salt to taste.
5. Stir in the yogurt mixture and mix well. Add a cup or so of water if the curry appears too thick.
6. Now put a lid on the saucepan. Roll the prepared dough into a long "snake" and press it down firmly to seal the lid on the pan all around, like so:
7. Simmer the sealed pan on very low heat for 20 minutes. Break the seal only when you are ready to eat.
8. Garnish with some chopped cilantro and a dollop of cream, if desired.

The verdict:
Delicious, delicious! I feel good about trying a new vegetable, and we really enjoyed eating it in this rich, royal dish. The "dum" method is a treat because of the heavenly aroma when the seal is broken. When I broke the seal, V was standing behind me, and we both gasped involuntarily at the heady scent that wafted up!
Next time, I will increase the amount of water that I add before sealing the pot, to give the result more gravy...this time, the dish was fairly dry. The curry could also use some acidity, so I might add some tomato puree next time (and there will certainly be a next time).

How do you serve this dish?
I served it with some freshly steamed basmati rice and simple dal fry and the combination was very tasty. This curry would also go well with some rotis or naans (flatbreads) as part of a typical North Indian meal.

Fellow bloggers have come up with many delicious dishes cooked using the "dum" technique:
Dum Aloo (potato) from Food For Thought ,
Another version of Dum Aloo from Recipe Junction,
Dum Bhindi (okra) from A Recipe A Day, and
Vegetable Dum Biryani from Healthy Home Cooking.

Previously on the A to Z of Indian Vegetables...
A is for Aloo Gobi: North-Indian Stir-Fry
B is for Bharli Mirchi: Stuffed Vegetables
C is for Carrot-Cashew Payasam: Desserts

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Global Dinners: Sri Lankan Egg Curry

Dinner today was a tried and tested favorite. I have made it for everyone I know and they all love it. When my dear friend Megha tasted it, her first remark was that it tasted like the beach, which just about nails it.

Sri Lankan cuisine conjures up images of fragrant spices blended with frothy coconut milk. Some day soon I will try my hand at making a full Sri Lankan supper, with appams and all, but for now, let's stick with this egg curry made from simple pantry ingredients.

I got the recipe for the Sri lankan curry powder from Madhur Jaffrey's World Vegetarian, a fat and lovely cookbook full of unusual regional recipes. In the book, Jaffrey calls it Sri Lankan Raw Curry Powder- the ingredients are toasted gently over an hour in a very low oven before being ground. She recommends it for vegetable dishes. I have adapted the curry powder for this coconut-based egg curry.

Madhur Jaffrey's Sri Lankan Curry Powder

To make this curry powder, toast the following ever so slightly and then grind them to a fine powder:
  • 2 tbsp. coriander seeds
  • 1 tbsp. fennel seeds
  • 1 12 tbsp. cumin seeds
  • 4-5 fenugreek seeds
  • 12 tsp. mustard seeds
  • 3 sprigs curry leaves (dried on a low heat)
  • 1 tbsp. dry coconut flakes
  • 1 12 tsp. raw rice

Egg Curry with a Sri Lankan Spice Mix
  1. Saute 2 medium sliced onions and 1 sprig of curry leaves in 1 tbsp. oil
  2. Add salt, pepper, turmeric, red chilli powder (all to taste), Sri Lankan curry powder (entire recipe above) and stir fry for a minute.
  3. Add 1 cup tomato puree and saute for 10 minutes.
  4. Add a can of coconut milk  (about 1 to 2 cups) and a handful of minced cilantro. Simmer for a few more minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, boil 5 eggs. Peel and quarter them, stir into the curry. Taste the curry.
  6. Serve the curry on a bed of freshly steamed rice.
  • To make regular egg curry (without making the spice mix), add ginger, garlic and garam masala instead of the Sri Lankan curry powder.
  • You could use vegetables like peas, carrots, cauliflower and potato instead of eggs to make an equally delicious vegan curry.
  • If the curry tastes a little bitter, balance the flavor with some lemon juice and a pinch of sugar/jaggery.