26 September 2012

Egg & Vegetable Curry

It has been a long time since I made a curry.  Well, a curry from scratch that is - you know, without the "benefit" of a shop bought curry paste or suchlike.  One where you devise the spicing yourself and pray it comes out okay.

Now I have made a couple of meals that involved curry in the recent past and all have been pretty darned poor.  Take the Kedgeree that I made only a couple of weeks ago.  It really was horrid.  For some reason I overcooked the rice and also used a pre-made curry paste that was really bad.  I've no idea why I didn't spice it myself and have no clue as to why we seemed to go back to buying curry paste - as the marked decline in my curried fortunes seemed to coincide with that.

I have been having a dalliance with "authentic" type curries recently, which has meant that hubby hasn't been too pleased with them.  You see, generally, "authentic" i.e. not British Indian Restaurant style curries are a lot wetter than the BIR style ones.  I've talked in the past about hubby's hatred for "pond water" (i.e. broth) rather than a more robust sauce and these "authentic" style curries (such as Malay and Thai) just aren't his "thing".  It's a shame, because I was quite keen to investigate these more "brothy" types of curry and explore the flavours involved.  Hey ho - another single person lunch project, maybe!

Looking like magma with a couple of eggs inside it!

Hence, I had made a mental note that my next curry was to be a BIR style one - and I suspect that the curry paste came along because I'd lost confidence in my ability to cook a curry from scratch.

However, the meal on this night wasn't supposed to be curry at all.  It was supposed to be cornish pasties!  Not a lot of difference there, is there?

I served mine with curried flatbreads
Well the cornish pasty thing got scotched (or cornished) when I realised that I'd left the beef in the freezer and it wouldn't be defrosted by lunchtime, when I was going to be making the pasties.  This demanded a bit of a side-step and an audit of the contents of said freezer and the fridge, for alternative ideas.

I'd accumulated a fair amount of little bits of vegetables that had been left over from previous meals and which set me to thinking about a vegetable curry.  At this point, a lightbulb went on and I remembered that I'd been vaguely hankering after an egg curry, after seeing a photograph of one on the excellent Facebook page "The Food Court".  Obviously, I couldn't make simply an egg curry, as hubby's sensitivity to eggs would rule him out of one of those - but a veggie curry with a couple of additional hard boiled eggs for son & heir and myself was sounding increasingly good.

A quick rummage in the tin cupboard turned up a tin of coconut milk and a small tin of chick peas and a rummage in the larder cupboard turned up a carton of tomato passata.  Along with a bit of leftover single cream in the fridge and a well stocked spice cupboard, I had just about all I needed.

The curry was delicious.  Hubby really enjoyed his vegetable version and son & heir loved his egg along with the curry.  My vague lusting after an egg curry was assuaged and we all went away smiling.  Can't ask for more than that - especially from a last-minute decision of a curry that was made out of leftover and forgotten ingredients!

EGG & VEGETABLE CURRY    (serves 3)

Ingredients :

1 tbsp vegetable or groundnut oil
15g butter
2 onions, one chopped fine and one sliced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tsp ground cumin
2 heaped tsp ground coriander
1 heaped tsp ground black pepper
1 flat tsp ground turmeric
a hefty pinch of red chilli flakes
1 heaped tsp Madras curry powder
3 green cardamom, crushed
250ml tomato passata
2 carrots, peeled and cut into small chunks
1 medium potato, peeled and cut into small chunks
a quarter of a swede, peeled and cut into small chunks
400ml can of coconut milk
1 heaped tsp (or 1 crumbled cube) vegetable stock powder
220g tin of chick peas
2 big pinches of dried Methi (Fenugreek) leaves
1 courgette, sliced thickly on the diagonal, then halved
sea salt
200ml single cream
a knob of Jaggery (or 1 tsp brown sugar)
another (smaller) knob of butter
3 eggs, just hard boiled (around 7 minutes).

Method :

1.   In a deep saucepan, heat the oil and butter until the butter has melted.  Add the onion and fry on a medium heat until soft and deep golden brown.  Add the garlic and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes.

2.  Add the cumin, coriander, black pepper, turmeric, chilli flakes, curry powder and cardamom and stir to combine.  Cook for another 3-4 minutes, stirring all the time to prevent the spices burning.

3.  Add the tomato passata and stir to combine.  Continue to cook until the mixture has lost a good deal of its water and the fat is being released.

4.  Add the carrots, potato and swede and stir well until the vegetables are all coated in the spice mixture.

5.  Add the coconut milk and vegetable stock powder and gently stir to combine.

6.  Add the chick peas and the methi leaves and bring to a simmer.  Cook, simmering, until the vegetables are softened, but not quite tender.

7.  Add the courgette, stir to combine and continue to cook until the vegetables are tender.  You may need to add a little water from time to time, if the curry begins to get too thick.

8.  Once the curry has thickened, add the cream, jaggery (or sugar) and salt to taste.  Once you are happy with the flavour and the cream is well combined, add the knob of butter and the three shelled hard boiled eggs.

9.  Allow the eggs time to heat through and serve on white rice, with the eggs halved and placed on top.

Serve with naan bread, chapatis or flatbreads.

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