Saturday, August 28, 2010

DIY Indian Banquet

Curry Feast at Home
Home Cooking

A week ago, we went to Malaya Corner and 3 of the guys ordered Nasi Lamek. This is, short, a smorgasbord of Indochinese curries, garnishes and sides, all on one plate and served with rice. A reader of this blog told me this was a traditional Malaysian breakfast. Those lucky people :).

Regulars of this blog should know that we love our curry. Mostly Indian, but occasionally Thai. We like eating curry out and we like making it at home. Byron came up with this idea of making a selection of curries and accompaniments and creating a sort of Nasi Lamek experience, but with Indian food.

We decided to live the curry dream last weekend. He and I were in charge of making a curry each. His Sri Lanken housemate helped us with the dhal and our mate Indy took care of rice and made this mad yogurt garnish (made with something green that came out of a bottle labeled 'yogurt garnish').

Byron cooked up a beef and potato curry. My pick was butter chicken. I wanted to use the recipe Jimmy from Masterchef did but we couldn't find my Masterchef magazine (not that we really looked) so I Googled it and found this. I suggest using that link if you want an accurate recipe. What I did was take those ingredients as 'inspiration' and just mucked around a bit adding this and that until the flavors seemed OK.

As a general cue, you do this:
  1. Marinade chicken pieces (I used thigh fillets) in a mixture of Greek yogurt, garam masala and salt. I think they used lemon too but I didn't bother.
  2. Seal the chicken pieces on high in a frying pan and set aside.
  3. In the same frying pan, heat up 2 tablespoons of butter (you're supposed to use ghee but hey, it's butter chicken, not ghee chicken, so I can't be too much in the wrong). Add a tablespoon each of garam masala and tumeric.
  4. Cook some diced onion until translucent and then add about 2 tablespoons of tomato paste and 1/2 can of chopped tomato.
  5. Start balancing the flavors by adding more of the garam masala, tomato paste, salt and/or sugar as required.
  6. Stir in around 1/4-1/3 cup of cream and recheck the flavors. When it's all good, return the chicken to the pan and simmer on medium heat for around 15min or until cooked.

I liked that recipe because it's really easy. The original was already straightforward and I made it even easier by cutting out some steps/ingredients. I panicked part way through because I thought my taste buds weren't working (it just tasted bland, no matter what I did) but then I made 2 changes: added more salt and tasted with a teaspoon, rather than scraping a few molecules off the wooden spoon each time. That really helped.

Aside from the curry and dahl, Byron also fried up some roti. I've had roti before but it was nothing like this. Perhaps there's a huge variety of pan-fried bread products that fall under the umbrella term 'roti'? Whatever the case may be, these roti were awesome. Really puffy and layered; soft and crunchy at the same time.

Roti curry taco creation on the grass

The curry feast was quite spectacular and also very filling. As is usual when you OD on curry, I have vowed 'never to eat curry for the rest of my life' (usually lasts a week).

Iced tea mixed (by hand) in a blender

After we had our fill, we needed something refreshing so Byron came up with the idea of iced peach tea. We used up nearly a 1kg (maybe an exaggeration) of ice-cubes trying to cool down the hot tea. There's probably a smarter way to do that but hey. I also broke a teabag into the mix and Byron topped the lot with that yogurt garnish. Yup.

And there ends our Indian adventures.

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