Welcome back to another fun Cooking with Catherine segment! I am having a great time experimenting in the kitchen. While some recipes are old standbys, others are new to my kitchen and probably to yours.
One of those new recipes is curry. For some reason, Americans have this awful stigma against Indian food. This is something that is lost on me, as it is incredibly flavorful, savory and delicious. I don’t care for spicy food – I feel that spice only masks the real flavours – and yet I still enjoy Indian food every time I have it. Curry is an especially delicious dish, no matter how it is served.
In the UK, curry is synonymous with “Asian food take-out,” the same way that Americans say “let’s get Chinese food” when they order sushi and Pad Thai.
Curry has great ties to William and Catherine. When Kate and Wills were living together at St. Andrews, William would try and cook for Kate to impress her. One of the dishes he tried (and notably failed) to prepare was curry. Ah, young love… More recently in their relationship, Catherine dipped into some vegetarian curry cooked by a neighbor of her parents’. While pregnant, Kate stopped by for a visit and smelled the delicious sauce simmering on the stove. When she told the wife how good it smelled, the woman quickly packed her a box to take home.
It was really fun to tap into my rarely-used spice box at home, digging through to find the cumin, tumeric and ground ginger.
I chose Nigella Lawson’s South Indian Curry recipe for my foray into curry. I am a terrible recipe follower, so I omitted the chili flakes and green chili. I also used different vegetables, so I could really enjoy what is in season! Don’t be intimidated by the number of ingredients – it isn’t as bad as it looks! Here’s the recipe:
2 tablespoons garlic oil
1 onion, peeled, halved and cut into half moons
Pinch kosher salt
1 green chile seeded and finely chopped
3/4-inch chunk fresh ginger, peeled and cut into fine strips
1/4 teaspoon crushed chili flakes
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 (13.5-ounce) can coconut milk
1/2 quart vegetable stock
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon tamarind paste
12 ounces cauliflower, broken into florets (about 3 1/2 cups)
12 ounces broccoli, broken into florets (about 3 1/2 cups)
2 ounces green beans, trimmed and halved (large handful)
4 ounces baby corn, halved (about 1 1/2 cups)
6 ounces sugar snap peas (about 2 cups)
Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed casserole or pan over low heat and fry the sliced onion sprinkled with some salt until it begins to soften. Add the chile and ginger strips and stir every now and again while cooking for about 1 minute.
Add the chili flakes, the turmeric, cumin, coriander and ginger. Stir well and let cook for about 1 minute or so. Pour in the coconut milk, stock, sugar and tamarind paste. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil over medium-low heat and add the cauliflower first, then the broccoli. Cook for 10 minutes, then add the green beans and baby corn. Check the vegetables after about 5 minutes or so to see if they are tender, letting them cook for longer if needed.
Once they are tender add the sugar snaps and season to taste, to taste. When the sugar snap peas are hot, serve generously sprinkled with the herbs of your choice. Transfer the curry to a serving bowl and serve.
I served my curry with leftover whole wheat cous cous from the night before. It was such a great experiment and a delicious recipe!