So I arrived in Greenock just in time for Hallowe'en and
KFC's bargain bucket Tchicken Tchuesday:
9 pieces for the special low price of £6. I know it's evil, but I love it.
For the past 4 months I've been engaged in a round-Ireland odyssey of Guinness and curries,
pursuing all the ingredients available in Ireland which can be curried.
, if you're interested.
Though it now occurs to me that I failed to try currying Guinness. Hmmm, an opportunity missed.
The quest became sufficiently desperate that I even broke into my boat's collection of buckwheat groats.
I have no idea why even bought those!
So although the KFC makes a welcome break from the endless round of curries, I can't say the same for the inevitable Hallowe'en pumpkin
- which has made its way into at least one
and may yet appear
I shall be wintering here in Greenock, or rather Harmony will - I hope to spend as little time here myself as possible, KFC offers not withstanding.
Although Greenock has some impressive Victorian architecture, fine old churches, and terrific views out
of Greenock across the Clyde
it is blighted by the usual British urban growth - tat shops, chav-malls and ugly sprawling fucking supermarkets™.
Enjoy your endless round of curries...
Creamy Matar Paneer
Pea and Curd Cheese Curry
curry main veg
- 250 grams paneer (or cottage cheese), cut into 1" pieces
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds (jeera)
- 1 onion, ground
- 4 garlic cloves, ground
- 2-3" piece ginger, ground
- 3-4 tomatoes, skinned, finely chopped or tomato passata
- 1 teaspoon red chilli powder
- 1 tablespoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- salt to taste
- ½ cup yoghurt
- ½ cup cream
- couple teaspoons dried fenugreek leaves (kasuri methi), lightly crushed
- 1 cup green peas (fresh, frozen or tinned) (matar)
Cut the paneer into cubes and grill or fry in a generous amount of oil in a non-stick pan (good luck otherwise!) until golden all over. Set aside.
Purée the onion, garlic and ginger together to a paste, adding a little water if required.
Mix the salt and ground spices with a little water to make a paste.
Heat oil in a pan and fry the cumin seeds over high heat until they release their aroma and start to pop.
Add the onion past and saute gently until beginning to colour a little around the edges and the oil begins to separated.
Add the spices and fry until the oil separates.
Add the skinned, chopped tomatoes or tomato passata
and cook for 5-10 minutes until broken down and thickening.
In a bowl beat the yoghurt and gradually add the sauce, whisking until smooth, then return back to the pan.
Add the paneer, peas, dried fenugreek and a swirl of cream, and simmer gently for 5 minutes until cooked through.
Universal Chicken and Potato Curry
curry main fowl
You can follow this base method to make either a tomato or a coconut finished curry.
In which case you'll need a really big pan.
Or you can do as I did and make one of each flavour using two normal-sized pans.
- oil or ghee
- half a head of garlic
- a golf-ball-sized lump of ginger
- 2 onions
- 2 kg chicken pieces
- 1 kg potatoes, roughly chopped
- 2 aubergines, roughly chopped
- 2 tablespoons tamarind concentrate
- chicken stock
- two cans of coconut milk
- tomato purée/tomato passata/tomato juice
- 6" stick of cassia (or cinnamon)
- 8 cardamoms, split
- 8 cloves
- 2 tsps fenugreek seeds
- 2 tsps turmeric
- 1-2 tsps ground chilli powder
- 2 tsps cumin powder
- 1 tblsp coriander powder
- 1 tsp allspice powder
- ½ tsp clove powder
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1-2 tsps salt
- wine or sherry vinegar
Fry the whole spices in a very generous amount of oil or ghee until they spit and release their aroma.
Add the chicken pieces and fry, skin down, in batches if necessary, until crisped. Set aside.
Chop the potatoes into largeish chunks and fry in the same oil until they take on a little colour. Add to the chicken.
Grind the ginger, garlic and onion into a paste and fry in the same oil until the harsh smell cooks off and the oil separates.
Mix the ground spices and salt with enough vinegar (or water) to make a paste. Add to the onion paste and fry until the oil separates.
Add the tamarind, return the chicken and potatoes to the pot, pour in enough stock
to lubricate and simmer for 15 minutes.
Roughly chop the aubergines and add to the pot and cook for 10 minutes.
Serve, with a dressing of chopped coriander leaves if you like.
Pumpkin and Buckwheat Curry
curry main veg
Now that I've emptied my boat of beans and porridge it's time to start on the buckwheat. BUCKWHEAT!
And it is pumpkin season.
The mango powder in this curry enhances the slight natural sourness of the buckwheat.
- 250ml stock or water
- 100g buckwheat groats (kasha)
- oil or ghee
- 1 tsp onion seeds
- 1 tsp fennel seeds
- lump of ginger, grated
- 1 onion, roughly chopped
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp chilli powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1½ tsp mango powder (amchoor)
- ½ tsp turmeric
- 1 potato, roughly chopped
- ½ dozen curry leaves
- ½ medium pumpkin (around 350g)
- half a dozen prunes, quartered
- ½ cup yoghurt
Cover the buckwheat with stock or water in a small saucepan and simmer until al dente (10-15 minutes).
Heat a generous amount of oil or ghee in a large pan and fry the seeds until they spit and release their aroma,
add the grated ginger and fry until it loses its harshness,
then add the onions. Fry until they begin to caramelise around the edges.
Add the powdered spices. Fry until they release their aroma and the oil begins to separate.
Add the potato pieces, the yoghurt, and enough stock or water to cover put on a lid and simmer for 10-15 minutes until the potatoes soften a little.
Add the pumpkin pieces, curry leaves and chopped prunes.
Add enough water to just cover (the end result should be a dry curry), cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
Add the buckwheat and continue simmering until the vegetables are soft.
Buckwheat and Cashew Curry with Coconut Cream
curry main veg vegan
A mild oriental style curry, this is a good match for the characteristic fungal nuttiness of toasted buckwheat.
The internet offers many versions like this
- 75g cashews (or peanuts)
- 100g cup buckwheat groats (kasha)
- coconut oil, or oil, or ghee
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
- 3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- ½ tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tbsp palm or coconut sugar
- 1 400ml can coconut milk
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp sriracha
Toast the buckwheat and the cashews:
Either spread them over a baking tray and roast for about 10 minutes at 180°C, checking and tossing until golden,
or fry them over low heat in a large dry frying pan tossing frequently until they take on some colour.
In a large amount of oil or ghee, fry the grated ginger until the moisture and harsh aroma has cooked off, then add the onions and fry until glassy.
Add the minced garlic, cover and sweat for a few minutes.
Uncover and stir in the powdered spices and the palm sugar. Fry carefully until the harsh aroma is cooked off and the oil begins to separate,
then add the toasted buckwheat and nuts, then mix in the coconut milk, soy sauce and sriracha (to taste).
Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes until the buckwheat is softened. Add more water if required.
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