Sunday, October 08, 2006

A Long Time Between Curries

Sat 30 Sept 2006

It seems like a long break between homemade curries and even my recent purchase of Curry, and the fact that it contained a recipe for dahl makhni, wasn't enough to spur us into action.

A bit of spare time meant that we finally got around to hunting for urad (black) dahl ... however the fact we couldn't find any in the city centre put us on the back foot ... but only briefly. And soon we were in the kitchen, cookbook carefully away from any suspect splashes, and embarking on a Bengal curry - pork chop bhooni (Masala pork chops), with potatoes and dahl.

Taking the pork chops, coat them with salt and chilli powder, rubbing it in well. Heat some oil in a pan and quickly sear the chops before setting them aside. Add some more oil if necessary and quickly fry off about 1/2 tsp of fenugreek seeds. As they begin to brown add a few curry leaves and a good pile of finely sliced onions. Cook until the onions are golden brown.

Meanwhile, make the masala. In a mortar, mix 1 1/2 tbsp of mild chilli powder with 1 tsp turmeric, a good inch of ginger (peeled and chopped), a couple of cloves of garlic, 3 tomatoes finely chopped, and 1/2 tsp of fenugreek seeds. Grind to a paste. Add some tomato paste to redden it up a bit. Add this mix to the onions and fry for a few minutes.

Return the chops to the pan and ensure they are coated evenly with the spice mix. Reduce the heat and add some water (for two chops, just a good splash). Cover and simmer for around 15 minutes until the chops are cooked through and tender. You may need to remove the cover and increase the heat at the end to reduce the sauce. It should be good and thick. Finish by stirring through 1 tsp of garam masala.

For the potatoes, peel and cut them into wedges and boil them with salt and turmeric until they are tender but still firm. Heat oil in a pan and fry the potatoes until crisp and golden.

We served this with dry moong dahl, taken from Camellia Panjabi's 50 Great Curries of India. Take 150 g of yellow moong dahl and add it to 200 mL of boiling water. Return to the boil, add a pinch of salt and cook until all the water is absorbed. When ready to serve, sprinkle with a pinch of turmeric, 1/4 tsp ground coriander, 1/4 tsp ground cumin and 1/4 tsp chilli powder. Finally, pour over a 1/4 tsp of hot oil or melted butter. Delicious and simple!

Although you do end up using quite a few pots and pans (especially as we used a griddle for the chops and potatoes!) this is well worth it. It was delicious and it's a great way of doing something a bit different with both pork chops and potatoes. With both the dahl and potatoes we didn't bother with rice ... but a naan or paratha probably wouldn't have gone astray!

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