I never cease to enjoy the delights of Indian cookery. Prior to beginning this dish I took time to prepare the brown onion paste and the spinach purée from scratch. I steamed the spinach for the purée to avoid too much water and that worked very well. The onion paste is simply browned onion slices puréed with a very little water.
I also reversed the order of the instructions and browned the chicken pieces first thing, so they would be ready to add to the spinach with no delay. And I really appreciated the result. Excellent!
This recipe is a good reminder that in Indian culture “curry” is not a spice, nor even the blend of spices we call curry powder. It is a type of cooking. A curry is a stew using meat, fish, chicken or vegetables in a spiced sauce. The spices may or may not include curry leaves or a curry powder blend. They may or may not provide the flavour we associate with curry powder.
In this dish the flavours that stand out are cumin and coriander with a hint of coconut in the coconut milk sauce base, and the author describes it as “fish in a light coconut milk curry”.
I confess I did not go out and get a fresh coconut to grind up with water to provide the coconut milk. I used a can of coconut milk. So I had to guess at the quantities. I also expect it was nowhere near as thick as thick coconut milk obtained from the first grinding.
Nevertheless I enjoyed the dish and my only objection is that white fish in a white sauce served with white rice made for a colourless meal. And that reminds me, I am not familiar with the fish named in the recipe and do not know if they would have added colour. I used the white fish fillets I had on hand in the freezer.
I am still discovering my own neighbourhood. A few weeks ago I found a lovely Indian grocery store within walking distance. And I found not only an ingredient which was new to me, chaat masala, but lots of other fascinating new things to try.
On my first try, I don’t think I mastered the instructions to let the potato shells crisp without letting them turn colour, nor do I have a proper grill, so under the broiler has to do. Nevertheless, although I found the recipe a bit fussy to put together, it is certainly a treat to the taste buds. And practice, no doubt, will make it seem easier.
Did you wonder when I would ever get to this book? It is the last in my collection. It originally belonged to my daughter, who was not using it. So she let me take it.
It was the title that got to me. When I first began cooking seriously, I started with a cookbook called Easy Gourmet Cooking in 30 minutes. I wish I still had that book. I would certainly not have tried Indian cooking without the promise that it could be done quickly.
In this book, the editor, Neeta Datta, has gathered 70 recipes from 10 master chefs of India. “This collection of quick and easy recipes” she promises “will enable even the laziest cook to prepare a lip-smacking Indian dish in less than 30 minutes and even turn a reluctant and timid cook into an amateur chef.”