A new and diverse acquaintance with curry | TheUnion.com

A new and diverse acquaintance with curry

My last 10 weeks of culinary school were spent working in an upscale Indian restaurant in downtown San Francisco. As a result, I went from someone who was rather lukewarm on Indian food to someone who started craving curry on my days off. I ate the stuff five days a week, often twice a day.

At one point, the head chef pointed out in rather amazed tones that I ate more Indian than anyone else on staff. Their jobs gave them a chance to leave mid-day and grab a piece of pizza, while mine required me to stay through, so I generally ended up eating both lunch and dinner on the job.

After returning to Nevada county, my curry consumption went way down. The Indian food here is good, but nothing really compares to “home” cooking. So I’ve begun looking for ways to slide a little curry into my usual cooking. There are other benefits to this as well: Curry seasonings have certain health benefits and there is a study going on right now to explore rather or not curry can slow Alzheimer’s disease. Turmeric, a key ingredient in yellow curries, has also been shown to promote joint health. Plus, it tastes good.

One challenge I’ve found is that most grocery stores in this area only carry one curry powder. It’s a perfectly nice one, but there are about 15 different blends, ranging from the mild and nearly sweet to raging spicy. Since we are far away from an Indian grocery store, I recommend New World Spices (www.newworldspices.com) which sells six different curry blends that are ground to order and very easy to work with. Penzey’s (www.penzeys.com) is another spice company that carries lots of curries. All of their blends are salt-free and available in a wide range of sizes.If you are feeling adventurous, I’ve included a recipe for Tandoori seasoning that can be blended at home.

The chicken recipe is an Indian classic. Marinate chicken in yogurt, rub seasoning on chicken and grill. Tastes great and gives the chicken that lovely deep red color. This would also be good on ribs or fish.

The coleslaw is a bit of a wild card. Last week my husband was rummaging in the fridge and made a joke about combining some leftover yellow curry with coleslaw. At first I didn’t think it would work, but after a little consideration, this Indian slaw recipe was born. It’s a vinegar based slaw, and the honey and curry balance each other very nicely.

As an aside: as we head into fall the available produce is staring to change. Please let me know if you have any requests or questions about what you see.

Courtesy of Cooks.com

3 Tablespoon Tandoori mix

3 Tablespoon plain yogurt

3 Tablespoon vinegar

3 Tablespoon lemon juice

3 Tablespoon oil

4 chicken breasts, skin removed

Blend first 5 ingredients into marinade. Remove all skin from chicken and make several deep cuts into the meat. Coat the chicken, rubbing it into the cuts (hands will turn a nice shade of orange). Cover and leave at least 2 to 3 hours, preferably overnight.

Cook on a hot grill for 10 to 15 minutes per side or for 20-30 minutes in a 350 degree oven. Remove from heat when juices run clear. Can be served hot or cold.

2 teaspoons salt

1 Tablespoon ground cumin

1 Tablespoon turmeric

1 Tablespoon ground coriander

1 Tablespoon garam masala

1 Tablespoon cayenne

Mix all ingredients in an airtight container, cover and store in a cool, dry place.

1/4 cup honey

2 tablespoons curry powder

3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

4 cups shredded green cabbage

2 2/3 cups shredded red cabbage

1/2 cup thinly sliced green onion

2 carrots, peeled and shredded

1 cup minced red bell pepper

In a large bowl, whisk together the honey, curry, vinegar, salt and pepper. Add green and red cabbage, green onion, carrots and red pepper. Toss to coat evenly. Cover and refrigerate several hours before serving.

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