Sea food curry
Everything I know about Indian cuisine comes from a book called " 50 Great Curries of India " written by Camellia Panjabi. I have a dutch translation of this small book that I frequently take with me on travels. I hardly made anything from this book but it inspired me many times for a lot of combinations and the use of spices in my own food.
This is an attempt to make something closer to Indian cuisine. It may look very elaborate but it is in fact easy to make although it's not a bad idea to switch to zen-mode first... This is totally slow-cooking.
- Start with making a spice mix (aka masala);
I totally improvised but that doesn't mean I chose the spices eyes closed. Most of them are chosen for their fresh flavor, some for adding a bit of body.
So, I start with adding these spices to a pan; red pepper corns, anis, fennel, caraway, all for their fresher taste and finally coriander, fenugreek and very little cumin for more body. By the way, fenugreek is the major ingredient in store-bought curry powder, this is what gives curry powder its specific smell.
Put the pan on medium low and toast the spices for at least 10 minutes until they feel crunchy. Add a good pinch of chili flakes at the very last minutes. Don't let the spices smoke but just before they do, take them off the fire and add to a mortar and grind them into a coarse powder. The toasting has made the spices a lot more brittle and easier to grind.
- The curry itself;
I started with red onion, white onion, garlic, leak (white part only), celery, fresh ginger, fresh red chili pepper (deseeded), fresh flat leaf parsley. Let it all sweat in sunflower oil (no fragrant olive oil!!) on medium for at least 15-20 minutes, preferably a good 30 minutes, stir often.
Add the spice mix and let sweat for another 10 minutes.
Add coconut milk, very little turmeric, a few saffron threads, a pinch of sweet paprika powder, dried dill. Let this simmer on low for 30 minutes , lid askew.
Now taste, taste, taste! Add salt & pepper and do check the acidity, you will need it. I added the zest of a lemon and the juice of half a lemon. Lime would even be better but I didn't have any.
- Add the sea food
I used fillets of cod, cut in bite size pieces, so, these have to cook just a few minutes, no longer. I also added shrimp which have to cook the same very short period.
You're done. You may ask where I got the "Indian" bread? I have a little secret; it's called flour tortilla, brushed with sunflower oil and sprinkled with dried basil, shortly heated in a hot pan until they blow up. Cut in wedges. Don't tell anyone!