Posts Tagged 'curry'

Classic Lamb Curry

I have been terribly remiss about posting to Perpetual Feast. It’s not that I haven’t been cooking, photographing, and yes, eating over the past many months, it’s just that I haven’t had time to write about what I have been cooking, photographing and eating.  I have been trying to sell my house and buy another one across the country, both life-enveloping and time-consuming tasks. But I have folders full of recipes to clean out, both on my computer and at my desk.  So, in the interests of cleaning my desk (and desktop) I am going to make an effort to post regularly.

It has been miserably cold and snowy here in the inland Northwest. Although the snow on the ground is beautiful looking out over the countryside, the temperature hasn’t topped 30 degrees in weeks, descending to single digits (extra socks weather) some nights.  This lamb curry, originally from Cooking Light, was a substantial and warming meal. It isn’t terribly hot, so if you like your curries incendiary, you can add some chilies or more red pepper when you are sautéing the spices.  I first served the curry with store-bought naan – with non-fat yogurt and some spicy lime pickle.
classic lamb curry served
I have since eaten it over rice, and today, trying to use up what’s in the refrigerator, over leftover boiled potatoes (better than it sounds). The curry freezes well, and if you feel like you want a bigger serving, you can add some peas or green beans to it when you’re reheating the leftovers.

Classic Lamb Curry

Cooking spray
2 pounds boneless leg of lamb, trimmed of all fat and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
5 whole cloves
3 cardamom pods
2 bay leaves
1 (3-inch) cinnamon stick
1 tablespoon ground coriander seeds
1 tablespoon paprika
2 tablespoons minced peeled fresh ginger (I used bottled)
2 teaspoons Garam Masala (I used Spice Islands)
1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups finely chopped plum tomato (about 1/2 pound) (see note)
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro, divided

Ingredients waiting for cooking

Ingredients waiting for cooking

Coat a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray and heat over medium-high heat. Add lamb, and cook for 5 minutes on all sides or until browned. Remove lamb from pan. Add the oil to the pan and heat over medium-high heat. Add onion and next 4 ingredients (onion through cinnamon); cook for 4 minutes or until onion is browned. Stir in coriander and next 6 ingredients (coriander through garlic); cook 1 minute.
classic lamb curry saute
Add lamb, tomato, water, and salt; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 1 1/2 hours or until the lamb is tender.
classic lamb curry cooking
Stir in 1/4 cup cilantro. Serve and sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup cilantro (I actually stirred all the cilantro in at the end, since I knew I was going to freeze the leftovers.) Makes 4 servings at 11 grams of fat/serving

NOTE: It was too snowy to go out and get tomatoes at the grocery, so I used an available can of diced tomatoes, drained and chopped in the food processor. It worked out great.

SECOND NOTE: I thought it was strange to cook with whole bay leaves, cloves, etc. After the curry was cooked, I pulled these whole spices out and discarded them so no one would bite into one by mistake. The recipe didn’t say to do so, but you should.

YET ANOTHER NOTE: You could also make this recipe with buffalo or with skinless chicken parts, lowering the fat accordingly.


Curried Chicken Saute

Often on my frequent trips to Costco I purchase the bag of six sweet peppers in multiple colors – usually red, orange, and yellow. Usually, I cut a couple of the peppers up and sauté them with onions and cut up Italian chicken sausage.

This preparation doesn’t even need oil, just a quick spray with cooking spray and the peppers and onions are caramelized as the sausage cooks. And I usually make some non-fat dip so I can take the remaining peppers along for lunch.

But I had defrosted some chicken tenders – and not defrosted the chicken sausage, so I decided to combine peppers and chicken. The original dish, from Cooking Light, called for using whole chicken breasts, which were to be placed on top of the sautéed peppers. This didn’t seem totally logical to me, so I improvised.  I also mixed the lime juice in with the curry rather than serving lime wedges.
Curried Chicken Sauté

1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder, divided
1 pound chicken tenders
8 ounces mixed bell peppers (packaged and presliced in ok)
1 cup light coconut milk
1 lime

Spray a nonstick skillet with cooking spray and heat over medium-high heat.

Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of the curry powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper over the chicken tenders, rubbing it on so that the tenders are evenly covered. Add chicken to pan and cook 10 minutes or until done, stirring occasionally. Remove chicken from pan; keep warm. Add bell peppers and remaining 1/2 teaspoon curry powder to pan; sauté 1 minute. Return chicken to pan and add coconut milk, and bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer 4 minutes or until mixture is slightly thickened. Squeeze juice from 1 lime and 1/4 teaspoon salt into bell pepper mixture. Serve over rice. Makes 4 servings at about 6 grams of fat/serving.

This is one of the photos I had to retake after my camera died, so you are really seeing leftovers over brown rice mix.

Slow Cooker Pork Vindalooo

Vindaloo is a curry dish from the western coastal area of India known as Goa.  It is famously quite hot, and often somewhat sour or tangy. The dish was first brought to Goa by the Portuguese, and in its original format was a dish of pork with wine and garlic. The dish evolved into the vindaloo curry dish when it received the Goan treatment of adding plentiful amounts of spice. Potatoes were not usually common in vindaloo, but were added later as a means of stretching expensive meat (pork, lamb, or chicken) when the dish was served at celebrations.

I really did not eat Vindaloo dishes in my Mumbai neighbors’ homes. Meat dishes were a rarity, although many of my neighbors ate fish, and occasionally chicken. Rather, vindaloo was something to be eaten at one of the many Goan restaurants in Mumbai.

This pork vindaloo stretches a small amount of pork to make dinner for 4 when served with rice and perhaps vegetables.  Although many recipes I have looked at cook it more rapidly on the stovetop, it takes well to the slow cooker where the long cooking allows the meat to become tender and the spices to blend.  I did not make my vindaloo super hot, but use your discretion.  Add more chillies and you can have an incendiary dish worthy of a corner Goan restaurant in Mumbai.

Slow Cooker Pork Vindaloo

I large potato, peeled, and cut into large chunks
2 medium onions, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced lengthwise
1-2 green chillies, seeded and finely chopped
½ pound pork tenderloin, trimmed of all fat and cut into 1 inch cubes
½ cup malt vinegar (sometimes called fish and chips vinegar)
1½ teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1½ teaspoons chilli powder
¼ teaspoon ground tumeric
1 teaspoon crushed garlic
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1 teaspoon salt
1½ teaspoons paprika
I Tablespoon tomato paste
¼ teaspoon fenugreek powder
2 cups of water

Place potato pieces and onions in the bottom of the slow cooker.
Sprinkle with chillies.
Mix next 12 ingredients (malt vinegar through water) in a medium bowl. Add pork cubes and mix well. Pour pork mixture over potatoes and onions in the slow cooker.  Cook on low for 4-5 hours, or until pork is tender. Makes 4 servings at 2 grams of fat/serving.

Serve over rice. I served this with yogurt to cut the heat (a traditional Indian accompaniment) and with chopped mangoes.

Big Veggie Curry

Big Veggie Curry is what I call a foundation dish.  It can be eaten “as is” over rice, which makes a delicious low fat meal.  Or you can add various things to it, such as shrimp or chicken. I freeze it in serving size containers to have on hand when I have a bit of leftovers that might mix in well. This curry is also a whatever-you-have-in-the-house recipe.  I often make it when I am cleaning out the refrigerator and discover odd and ends of vegetable, or perhaps a bag of vegetables in the freezer that is getting old. One of the times I make this curry is when I’m about to travel  long enough for vegetables to go bad when I am gone. I make up a pot of it, divide it in serving size containers, and freeze it, thus not wasting the produce and having something inviting to eat when I get back.

In many ways, this curry is more like the curries my neighbors in Mumbai made on a daily basis – less a formal recipe and more a way of cooking, each cook adding her own touch to the process. Women would come back from the bazaar across the railroad tracks from our apartment building carrying a tote bag full of whatever was fresh in the market and combine it with onions and garlic and the spices that were the staples of the Mumbai kitchen.  The beauty of this curry is that it doesn’t require specific vegetables or fruit. I sometimes add 1/2 a cup of raisins or some sliced peeled apples.  This time I had half a bag of frozen cranberries left from an earlier dish, so I threw them in too.  It was delicious. I don’t know why I didn’t think of it before.

This is not a “hot” curry, although you could add a couple of peeled, seeded chopped jalapenos to it, or some red pepper.  I tend to want to add heat when I am serving it if I’m in the mood, with a few drops of hot pepper sauce.

Big Veggie Curry

I Tablespoon Canola oil
2 teaspoons black mustard seed (optional, but it tastes more authentic with it)
1 teaspoon cumin seed
2 Tablespoons good quality garam masala or curry powder
1 big onion, coarsely chopped
4 cloves of garlic
2 cups of low fat vegetable broth (you could also use chicken broth, but then it wouldn’t really be “veggie” curry)
1 15 ounce can chopped tomatoes, undrained
8-10 cups vegetables, cut into about 2 inch pieces (you can substitute up to 2 cups of fresh fruit or 1/2 cup of dried fruit)
2 Tablespoons chopped cilantro

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium high heat. Add the mustard seed and cook until you hear the seeds start popping. Add the cumin seed and garam masala and cook for about another minute, or until the spices smell fragrant. Lower the heat to medium and add the onion and garlic.  Cook until the onion is soft, stirring occasionally.  Don’t let it burn. Add a little of the broth if you need to to keep it from burning.  Add the broth and tomatoes. Add the vegetables (and fruit if you are using it.)  Bring to a boil, cover, and lower the heat. Cook for 1–2 hours until the vegetables are tender. The timing will depend on what vegetables you use. Stir in the cilantro and cook for 2 more minutes. This makes about 8 servings at 2 grams of fat/serving.

This is served over brown rice mix, with Greek yogurt on the side. My vegetables this time were potatoes, cauliflower, a box of frozen green beans, a bag of frozen mixed vegetables, and half a bag of frozen cranberries.

Madrasi Shrimp Curry in Black Pepper Sauce

My “alternate daughter” came over to help me with an upholstery project. Actually, she mostly did the project while I refinished window sills. She loves curry, so I made this fairly quick shrimp curry from Cooking Light in between coats of stain and finish.  The curry is not too spicy, just pleasantly warm.  Since Madras is in South India where food can sometimes be rather incendiary, I was pleasantly surprised.

Madrasi Shrimp Curry in Black Pepper Sauce

1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
1 cup finely chopped onion
1½ Tablespoons  ground coriander seeds
1½ Tablespoons  grated peeled fresh ginger
1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper (or more if you want more heat)
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
2 garlic cloves, minced
½  cup  fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
2 Tablespoons tomato paste
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
¾ teaspoon salt
1½ pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined
¼ cup finely chopped fresh cilantro

Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the mustard seeds; cover pan, and cook 2 minutes or until seeds stop popping. Uncover pan. Stir in the onion and the next 5 ingredients (onion through garlic), and cook for 5 minutes or until the onion is golden, stirring frequently.

Reduce heat, and stir in broth, tomato paste, juice, and salt. Cook until thick (about 1 minute), stirring constantly. This is important.  It can burn easily. Add shrimp; cook 4 minutes stirring occasionally or until shrimp are done. Sprinkle with cilantro. Makes 4 servings at 5.4 grams of fat/serving.


Gadjar Kari (Carrot Curry)

Carrots are a sweet vegetable that can be used in many ways – think carrot cake.  In India, they make a candy called gadjar halwah, which is soft and sweet, and often studded with pistachios, topped with edible silver foil, and served for special occasions. Because of their sweetness, carrots combine well with other sweet ingredients, even if the end result is not a dessert.  This curry is a little unusual because one of the sweet ingredients is a banana.

For potlucks I often like to bring a vegetarian dish, since everyone can usually eat it.  This curry, adapted from The World of Jewish Cooking, came out unexpectedly spicier than I thought it would, but the people at the potluck thought it was just right.  In the picture below, I tempered it by serving it with yogurt – a fairly common accompaniment for my Mumbai neighbors.  Milk products cut the heat of overly spicy foods – I can’t remember the chemistry of this, but a glass of milk works better than a glass of water to wash down a fiery dish.  You certainly can reduce the amount of cayenne pepper if you’d like.

Carrot Curry

1 Tablespoon canola oil
1 Tablespoon cumin seeds
1 ½ teaspoons yellow mustard seed
1 ½ teaspoons ground turmeric
1 teaspoon ground cardomom
1 teaspoon curry powder
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper (or to taste)
1 pound carrots, sliced, or 1 pound baby carrots
1 medium banana, peeled and sliced
¼ cup golden raisins
1 cup water
1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
ground black pepper to taste

Heat the oil over medium heat in a large pan. Add the spices (cumin seed through   cayenne) and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds. I mixed the spices in a little bowl beforehand so that I could add them all at once, and they wouldn’t burn while I measured out the other spices. Add the carrots and sauté until lightly colored, about 3-5 minutes.  Stir in the banana and raisins.  Add the water, salt, and pepper.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer until the carrots are tender, not mushy, about 20 minutes, Uncover, increase the heat to medium, and cook, stirring frequently  until most of the liquid is evaporated and the carrots and raisins are glazed, about 5-10 minutes.  Serve with rice.  Makes 4 servings at about 4 grams of fat/serving.


Curry Roasted Winter Vegetables and Apples

Winter is a great time for roasted vegetables. It’s nice to turn on the oven on a chilly day, and the vegetables that are in season in the winter are very amenable to roasting. Carrots, turnips, sweet potatoes and other winter vegetables become yet sweeter when roasted.  Now, I confess that I created this recipe to deal with my all too frequent circumstance of aging produce. The potatoes were beginning to evidence little sprouts, the apples had gone beyond crispy, and the sweet potato was beginning to show signs of middle age.  So here is a recipe to make whether you want to use up vegetables or just make something hearty for a winter meal.  You can use any combination of vegetables that will stand up to roasting.  I used carrots, turnips, sweet potato, yellow potato, and cauliflower, but you could also use parsnips, Brussels sprouts, rutabagas, or even small onions.

Curry Roasted Winter Vegetables and Apples

10 cups of assorted winter vegetables, peeled as needed, and cut into 2 inch pieces
3 medium apples, peeled, cored, quartered and sliced into 1 inch pieces
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
1 Tablespoon canola oil
1 teaspoon black mustard seed (now often available in regular grocery stores)
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon garam masala, homemade or purchased
½ cup of hot water

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Coat a large roasting pan with cooking spray. Put the cut up vegetables and apples into the pan. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of brown sugar.  Heat the oil in a small frying pan over medium high heat. Add the mustard and cumin seeds. Listen for the mustard seeds to begin to pop, then add the garam masala, stirring for one minute until the mixture is fragrant.  Watch the mixture carefully so it doesn’t burn.  Remove from heat.  Pour the spice mixture over the vegetables, tossing to combine and coat the vegetables thoroughly.  Bake for 50 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.  Remove from the oven.  Immediately pour ½ cup of hot water into the pan and stir the vegetables, scraping up the caramelized browned bits on the bottom of the pan and mixing them with the vegetables.  It is important to do this last step when the vegetables are right out of the oven, so that the water will steam and lift the browned bits off the pan.  This makes 4 very large servings at 4 grams/serving, or 6 side dish servings at just under 3 grams/serving.


Yam and Pork Curry

I have a friend whose favorite food product is the yam, and her favorite food preparation style is curry. So naturally, when she came to visit a couple of days ago, a yam curry was in order.  Mind you, those big tubers that we get in the grocery store are not properly yams. Yam is the common name for some species in the genus Dioscorea. These are perennial herbaceous vines cultivated for the consumption of their starchy tubers in Africa, Asia, Latin America and Oceania.  Those golden orange goodies called “yam” in most U.S. groceries are the sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas), typically one of the darker, orangey strains.

Botany aside, we’ll use the term yam here, because that is what most people know them as – and it is not likely you will go on a field trip looking for the true yam.  The original recipe for this came from Cooking Light. I made it according to the recipe, as pictured.  However, the original recipe called for 3 potatoes, with out accounting for the size of the tubers. Mine were really big, and they kind of overwhelmed the dish, even for someone who loves yams.  So I made a more precise measurement, and also recommend cutting them into smaller pieces so you can get a mouthful of pork and yam at the same time.  I served it over brown rice.

This is not heavily curry-spiced, like Indian curries.  It is somewhat more tomato-based, and to my mind, has a bit of a fresher flavor (although I love South Asian curries).

Yam and Pork Curry

1 3/4 pound pork tenderloin, trimmed of all visible fat and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
3 teaspoons curry powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons canola oil
1 large onion, chopped in medium dice
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1-2 jalapeno peppers seeded and minced*
4 cups of yams, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch chunks
1 14 1/2 ounce can of reduced sodium reduced fat chicken broth
1 14 1/2 ounce can of diced tomatoes, undrained
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

In a medium bowl, toss pork with 1 teaspoon curry powder and salt.  Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a large skillet that can be covered (I use my stir fry pan) over high heat. Add pork and cook, stirring often until brown on all side.  It takes about 5 minutes. Remove from pan and transfer to a plate.

Using the same pan, reduce heat to medium-low and add remaining t teaspoon oil to the pan. Add onion, garlic, and chili pepper; cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 3 minutes.  Stir in remaining 2 teaspoons curry powder and cook for one minute more.

Add chicken broth, yams, and tomatoes and bring to a simmer.  Cover and cook until sweet potatoes are tender and sauce has thickened somewhat. This takes 20-30 minutes.  Add the pork you set aside, and cook until heated thoroughly, about 3 minutes.  Add black pepper to taste.  Makes 4 servings at about 5 grams of fat/serving.

*Ingredient note: During the recent scare about e-coli and jalapeno peppers, I bought a jar of dried jalapenos.  I used 1/2 teaspoon of this in the curry – which made it warm, but not hot. You could use more.  I actually like having the dried peppers, since I have a habit of buying them fresh and having them go bad before I get a chance to use them.  I’m not sure how they would work in a salad, but in a curry they’re fine.


I have lost 200 pounds. I did not do it through surgery – I don’t like knives and needles – or by joining a club, vigorous exercise, or rigorous dieting. I did it by gourmet cooking. To be precise, by cooking low fat, really delicious food. I love to cook as much as I love to eat. Food magazines are some of my favorite reading. I would feel deprived if I couldn’t have the sensuous experience of good food crossing my lips. This blog is about my perpetual feast, my passionate love of food, with recipes, photos, and occasional advice and principles that I have learned along the way.

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