It took me until I reached 21 years of age to appreciate Indian cuisine. And now, three years later, it is one of my absolute favorites.
A few years ago, a good friend brought me to Punjabi Dhaba in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She talked it up for quite a while, high expectations were set and I did not want to be disappointed. So finally we journeyed to Inman Square. It was quite an experience and no I was not let down.
This place serves up their curry, naan, rice, and everything else on a huge metal serving tray - like cafeteria style. It was unlike any flavors I tried before - Indian or not - and from then on I was hooked.
I even began attempting to make my very own curries and traditional ethnic dishes.
It certainly took a bit of practice; from learning the multitude of spices to make a curry and the different bases of the sauces, I finally got the hang of it.
There are many spices to create a curry dish: turmeric, coriander, cumin, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, paprika, ginger. It seems like an awful lot, but if you love curries or Indian food you will utilize all these spices every time. Yellow, red, green curries... spicy, mild,... spinach dishes, chicken wings, et cetera.
spicy tomato curry with golden potatoes + english peas
4 golden potatoes, peeled + cubed in bite-size chunks
3/4 cup heaping english peas, shelled*
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 - 28 oz. can of whole peeled tomatoes + their juices(I use San Marzano)
1/2 cup coconut milk
2 bay leaves
2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp ground mustard
1/4 - 1/2 tsp salt (your own preference)
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
freshly squeezed lemon juice for garnish
fresh cilantro for garnish
Optional rice to serve with curry:
3 cups cooked brown basmati rice
1 tsp rice vinegar
1/4 tsp salt
fresh cilantro for garnish
In an ovenproof skillet or dutch oven, heat the olive oil. Add the onions and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, mix, and cook for 1 minute. Add the potatoes and peas. Mix. Add the juice from the tomatoes and the whole ones - gently squeeze each as you place into the dutch oven, crushing them with your hand. Stir in the coconut milk and all spices.
Bring to a boil, reduce to low, cover. Simmer for 90 minutes, or until the potatoes have softened. For the last 10 minutes I uncovered to allow the contents to thicken. Stir consistently so the contents do not burn the bottom of the pan! I found I was stirring every 10 minutes or so.
I like to combine the rice vinegar and salt with the basmati rice just after it's finished before I fluff with a fork.
Serve with brown basmati rice, white rice, or quinoa. Enjoy!
*Frozen peas work just fine in this recipe if you cannot find fresh ones