If there is one thing that I would say I’m not very good at cooking it would be curry. I have tried (and failed!) so many times that I’ve lost count. So you can imagine how delighted I was to receive a copy of I Love Curry by Anjum Anand in the post.
This book is absolutely perfect for a beginner like me. It is very well laid out, each recipe has easy to follow, clear instructions with a little introduction to each dish and a full page photograph of the finished dish on the opposite page. Anjum suggests side dishes that you can make to go along with your meal and also gives you the page number to help you find it!
In all there are 54 curry recipes in the book ranging from everyday dishes to restaurant classics, along with 25 accompaniments (including starters, vegetable side dishes, breads and rice, salads and raitas) Definitely something for everybody and a great introduction to Indian cuisine.
Yesterday, I made a trip the supermarket and bought the ingredients (give or take a couple of substitutions as my local supermarket is not as well stocked as, say the supermarkets in larger towns) then set about making a Beef Madras which I have only tried from a jar before so I was interested in how it would taste made from scratch. To go along with this I cooked Anjum’s Perfect Boiled Rice and Instant Naan. Everything tasted amazing and I am definitely looking forward to cooking more of her fantastic recipes.
- 2.5cm cinnamon stick
- 10 green cardamom pods
- 8 cloves
- 10 black peppercorns
- 2 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 tbsp coriander seeds
- 3-6 dried kashmiri red chillies, seeds shaken out
- 5 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 onion sliced
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 1 -1 1/4 tsp garam masala, or to taste
- salt, to taste
- 500g diced beef
- 20g fresh root ginger (peeled weight)
- 7 garlic cloves
- 2 tomatoes
- 2-5 green chillies, whole but pierced
- 4 tbsp single cream
Using a spice grinder, grind all the whole spices and chillies to a fine powder*
Heat the oil in a large non-stick saucepan. Add the onion and cook until well browned. Stir in all the spices, salt and a splash of water and cook for one minute.
Add the beef and brown in the spice paste for a good six to eight minutes over a moderate heat. Anjum recommends adding a slash of water if it starts to stick.
Meanwhile, blend the ginger, garlic and tomatoes until smooth, using a little water to help. Add to the pan with the green chillies, bring to a boil, then cover and simmer gently until the liquid has reduced. Check after 10 minutes, give the pot a stir and come back in another five minutes.
Now increase the heat and brown the beef and sauce together until it has been absorbed by the beef. Pour in enough water to cover, bring back to a boil, cover and cook until the meat is tender, it will take around 1¼ hours.
Uncover the lid and reduce the sauce in the pan until it is creamy. Add the cream, taste, adjust the seasoning and serve.
*Note to self: Buy a spice grinder. Using a pestle and mortar to grind this many spices really is a long, slow process!