Saturday, June 19, 2010

Currying favor

We went out to Grasshopper, a local vegan restaurant, last night with a friend who was visiting to check out the house as a possible future residence, thus the lack of a post. I could say something about powering through Complications, another Atul Gawande not-exactly-tome, and how it conscientiously reminds us aspiring doctors that doctors do, in fact, effectively kill people in their careers, but that would be depressing, so I won't, because it's all about making you happy, Dear Reader.

Instead, I'll talk about the curry I made tonight!

I used canned tomato paste, an approximate 5:1 blend of canola to sesame oil, and coconut milk for the base of the curry. Three cloves of garlic, an inch or two of ginger, an onion, and a handful of raisins went into that, to be stir-fried until the onions were golden with the various spices that go into a masala curry. I spilled the salt, which worried me at first, but a squirt of lemon juice and some salt-free naan rectified the issue. I threw in some frozen peas and blanched a head of cauliflower, finishing its cooking in the sauce while I "baked" the naan.

For which it turns out you don't need a tandoori oven after all. As usual, I couldn't leave well enough alone and made a few substitutions, adding two cups of white and half a cup of whole wheat flour instead of all white and mixing together a bit of sour cream and heavy cream instead of using yogurt. I'm trying not to go buying ingredients willy-nilly when it's not clear that I'll use them up, and since I'd already gotten the previous two for the caramel sauce discussed in a previous post, it seemed prudent to use that rather than purchase further dairy products. I loved pan-frying the bread for its ease and rapidity, and the texture was exactly what I was looking for. Honestly, and not to brag here, the only difference between it and (my experience with) restaurant naan was the distinct lack of buttery crust, as I chose to fry it in only about a quarter-teaspoon of canola oil per naan. It's sort of terrifying to realize how restaurants' liberal use of butter really does account for much of the superiority of their food. The coconut milk made the curry reasonably rich, but it lacked that golden, palate coating eddy that liberal amounts of ghee would have brought to it.

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