Monday, 9 January 2012

Recipe/Ricetta - Cauldron Curry

Yes, I really do cook curry in a cauldron! It's very good for outdoor gatherings such as the Summer Solstice party we had at the permaculture farm my friends and I worked on a couple of years ago...

And yes, that's an earth oven too - we have made some fantastic pizza in there!

I made curry in my crockpot yesterday, and while it worked well, I do think that there's something just a little bit special about cooking in a cauldron over a fire, especially outside. And most especially with friends!

This recipe is by no means set in stone; as long as you have the onions, garlic, spices, oil, and coconut milk, the rest can be improvised. I don't think I've ever made two exactly the same, so unless I get a special request (it's the dish I'm always asked to take to parties), I just tend to use whatever I have to hand. It's a great way to use up less than perfect veg lurking at the bottom of the fridge, or in the veg basket! You could certainly add meat, fish, or poultry to it as well if you feel so inclined. Or paneer. And different fruit too: I often use bananas instead of mango...chicken and banana works really well, and I invariably use peaches if I make a curry with tiger prawns. One of the beauties of curry is that pretty much anything goes, so why not experiment?

Please note that I am assuming that you will be making this in a large pot on your stove-top, and have written the instructions accordingly. Of course, there's nothing to stop you making it in a cauldron, or a large pot over an open fire! The curry should be cooked very slowly for at least five hours to give all the spices and ingredients a chance to really work their magic but longer is better. If you have any left over, the next day you will find that all the flavours have been enhanced, and it will probably be a bit hotter too. If necessary, just add some more yoghurt to calm it a little, and it will be fine.

Nutritional values per serving:
Calories: 272
Carbohydrate: 27g
Sugar: 10g
Protein: 15g
Fat: 13g
Sodium:  458mg
(Please note that these are based on the ingredients I used - your own may be slightly different)

For around 12 servings:
1tbsp coconut oil
1.5tbsp extra virgin olive oil
350g onions - finely chopped
100g garlic - crushed
4 medium sweet red peppers - chopped
2 large carrots - chopped
1k squash - peeled, de-seeded and chopped into approx 5cm chunks
500g aubergine
250-300g curry paste*
800g finely chopped tomatoes
200g passata
400ml half fat coconut milk
300g low fat Greek yoghurt
100g mushrooms - chopped
200g mango - chopped
400g Quorn Chicken Style Pieces

Curry paste:
5tbsp ground coriander
7tbsp ground cumin
1tbsp paprika
1tbsp turmeric
1tbsp chilli powder (use more or less, depending on how hot you like your curry)
1 finely chopped fresh, de-seeded chilli
2.5cm peeled and grated fresh ginger
1 bulb garlic - crushed
225ml oil (I use coconut oil but you could use olive or your favourite vegetable oil)

Fry ginger, garlic and chilli in medium-hot oil for two minutes, add the spices and stir-fry for a further two minutes. Blend/process, then place in an air-tight jar and store in the 'fridge.
Stovetop method:
1. Gently fry the onions in the oils until they start to become transparent. Add the garlic, peppers, carrots, aubergine, and squash, and continue to fry for about 10 minutes on a medium-low heat.
2. Stir in your curry paste, ensuring that the the veggies are well-coated, then stir in the tomatoes, passata, yoghurt, and coconut milk. 
3. Add the mushrooms and Quorn, turn the heat up, and bring the whole thing to a boil.
4. As soon as it is bubbling away, turn the heat down as low as possible (it helps to have a diffuser), and allow to cook like this for at least five hours (to really give the spices a chance to cook in), stirring occasionally.

Crockpot method:
1 & 3. As above.
4. Carefully transfer to the crockpot dish, and set the dial to 'low'. Cook for at least 10 hours.

Buon appetito!

I generally have Cauldron Curry with a naan, pitta, or even plain toast! Sometimes rice is called for but I usually don't bother! By the way, here's a recipe if you want to make your own naan bread - I haven't tried it yet but I plan to. If you do make your own, please let me know how they turn out - I'd love to know!

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