Archive | 9:50 am

A Curry To Call My Own (And The World’s Easiest Side Dish)

12 Dec

I’ve only ever met one curry I didn’t like. It was Malaysian, and to me, it tasted like dirt.

One of the best curries I’ve ever had was in London, it was a balti and tasted like heaven.

London’s curries might be better and more authentic than New York’s, but I’d bet we’d win a curry-off based on variety alone. Yes, London has wonderful curries from every part of India and the sub-continent, but we’ve got curries from everywhere else.

In my neighborhood alone we have Vietnamese curry stew, French curried mussels, Chinese curry congee, Thai curry tapas, Japanese curry comfort foods, Pan-Asian curry hot pots, Hipster chicken curry wraps and yes, finally, Indian chicken curry.

I’ve sampled most of these dishes and many others, all variations on the humble garam masala. So when I woke up a few Saturdays ago craving a homemade Indian-spiced cauliflower curry, I was a bit daunted. Do I use a curry paste? A curry powder? Do I adhere authentically to the curry of one region? Or, do I go it alone, combining all those strong, single-minded spices into one harmonious, aromatic stew of my own invention?

Of course I chose the last option, but I needed help. I began with a Google search that returned 682,000 choices, the majority of them rather run-of-the-mill. I wanted something with a bit more pizzaz, so I turned to Madhur.

I knew I wanted to use curry leaves, green cardamom, black mustard seeds, kalonji, ginger, hot peppers and paneer so I looked for a recipe that was close, I knew I wouldn’t get all of them. I settled on “Spiced Buttermilk with Coconut and Scallions” as my skeleton recipe. Why? I had no intention of using buttermilk (I’ve done that before), or coconut, or even scallions, but it had most of the right spices, and I liked the method.

Cauliflower Curry

So, how was it? Awesome! The spices were well integrated, the heat pleasantly piquant, the texture was a little mooshie, next time I’ll add the cauliflower a little later in the process so it doesn’t break down quite so much, but other than that I’d happily serve this to my friend Ruth from Kerala. (Hi Ruth if you’re reading!)

And what of this world’s easiest side dish?

Head below the jump for the dish and the recipe for Cauliflower Curry.

Continue reading