Bologna to Bolognese: Adventures With Food

Food is necessary. Food is fun. Food is an adventure!

My name is Shannon and this is my adventure, my love affair with food.

I hope you'll come along for the ride.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Some like it hot…Some like it hotter!

Curry, that beautiful combination of spices that makes your taste buds zing with happiness. Whether it’s a rich golden Korma or a spicy Vindaloo curries are among my favorite foods. They are also too complicated to be covered in one post so today I will tell you a tale. A tale that resembles an avalanche.

I like curries but had not planned on making one anytime soon. I have been feeling lazy and curries take some effort, but my husband asked for Naan bread and I said ok. Silly girl, I know but I just can’t tell him no with those puppy doge eyes and…well I was roped in, so in for a penny in for a pound I decided if I was going to do the bread I might as well make the curry to eat it with. Then when I was looking up how to make the Naan bread (it was my first time) I found a video from one of my favorite video bloggers Manjula, that showed how to make Paneer, a lovely Indian cheese that is a main ingredient in Sag Paneer, one of my favorite side dishes (Spinach and cheese).


So I decided to make the Paneer and add it to my chickpea curry, Channa Masala.

It’s better if I give you the link to the video for making the cheese because Manjula explains it perfectly.

Before we tackle the curry I must say a few things. First Curry is really just a general term coined by the English to cover the whole range of Indian cuisine. Oh and that stuff you find at the supermarket,,, powder a curry does not make. I know it SAYS Curry powder but it just isn’t so. Really a curry is a process of currying or spicing the food, infusing it with flavor from the spices. We’ll explore the history of curries another day but just know that any curry is going to have at least a half dozen spices involved. Most people probably have most of the fixings for a Korma in their kitchen but the spicier curries are a bit more diverse.

Channa Masala

Channa Masala – (Chickpea Masala)

1 can of Chickpeas/Garbanzo beans (Look for these in the canned veggie aisle, if you buy them in the international food isle you will get gouged)
1 Onion
1 ripe Tomato (locally grown is best, if you have to use supermarket tomatoes you may want to have some tomato paste on hand as well for extra flavor)
1 green Chili (I use Serrano but you can use a Jalapeño if you want a milder heat)
1 inch of fresh Ginger peeled and diced
2-3 Bay leaves
1 tsp red chili powder (actual ground red pepper)
½ tsp Tumeric (careful, a little goes a long way and this stuff stains terrible!)
1 tsp Coriander powder
1 tsp Garam Masala powder (this is a mix of several spices)
1 tsp brewed Tea
3 Tbsp Vegetable oil
Salt to taste

Finely dice your onion, green chili, tomatoes, garlic and ginger. Blitz it in the food processor or mash it with a mortar and pestle to make a paste. Heat some oil in a pan and fry the bay leaves for 30 seconds before adding the paste. Fry on medium heat until golden brown. (The oil will start to separate from the mixture.) Add the rest of the spices, mix well and fry for an additional 2-3 minutes (this opens up the flavors of the spices) Add enough liquid (I use tea that I made ahead of time, an English Breakfast tea or any basic black tea.) to make a thick gravy and bring to a boil. Add the chickpeas and diced Paneer and simmer for 5-7 minutes or until heated through. Serve over rice or with Naan bread.

Peshwari Naan

To make the Naan I will again refer you to Manjula but the filing she uses is different from mine. I made Peshwari Naan which is a bread filled with sweet coconut, nuts and seeds.

Follow the basic Naan directions from Manjula here:

When it comes to stuffing the Naan however substitute 2 Tbsp of the following per Naan:

Peshwari Naan filling

½ -3/4 cup Coconut
3 Tbsp ground Almonds
2 Tbsp toasted Sesame seeds

Blitz in Food Processor or grind together with mortar and pestle.

It is important to use a baking stone of some sort to get the right effect. I did not and my Naan did not puff as well as they should have. To achieve the desired oven spring you need the stone.

I hope you enjoy this beautiful fragrant curry and the lovely contrast of the sweet Naan bread. In the future we will take a more in depth look at the wonderful worl of Curry!

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