Friday, August 11, 2006

Curry by condiment

Tonight on the way home the combination of a chilly wind and the sweet aromas of coriander and turmeric wafting up and down the pavement from the local Indian got the better of me, so I stopped off at Tesco for a pack of lamb leg steaks (fiver) and a bag of spinach (quid). I got back and sparked up a pipe before dicing and browning off the meat in a casserole and roughly chopping some onion, celery, garlic and chilli. There is little point in saying how much chilli, seeing as few two chillies are the same, but it was a couple of birds-eyes and a dried red for the record.

I had planned to buy nothing in this weekend in order to use up everything in the cupboards before going on holiday. But in fact there is little fresh stuff there anyway. Cooking by condiment is the reason, as is no better illustrated than tonight’s creamy lamb, coconut and spinach curry. Once I had fried off the veg with plenty of coriander powder, fennel seeds, tumeric and some cumin I deglazed the pan with water and then added about a pint of water to it, boiling up the messy orange brew for a couple of minutes before letting it simmer for half an hour to release the flavours.

I then passed the spicy mess through a sieve to leave a thick paste, into which I tossed the spinach and returned to the pan. The water in the leaves loosened up the sauce, and in went a good few chunks of coconut, the browned meat, and the lid to simmer for a wee while as the rice cooked. I finished it off with fresh basil and parsley and served it piping hot with a dod of cream and a few of the last shavings of coconut off the block. Creamy, slippery green bands of spinach and bite-sized chunks of meat all soaking in a thick dark yellow sauce, into which I had mixed a couple of tablespoons of full fat yoghurt in at the end. Fuel for tomorrow’s worktops and tiles and pizza.

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