Sunday, 29 July 2007
Friday night, and curry cravings were in the air. We needed a curry in a hurry, simply because we were hungry and very tired after a tough week. A curry always seems to invigorate and revive. With both of the nearest Indian restaurants of a disappointing nature, it was time for a little inspiration using the ingredients I already had in the house.
Preparing a curry can often be a lengthy affair. Lots of ingredients and lots of preparation in advance, it can sometimes be a little mesmerising and off-putting, hence the reason why a curry fix is often resolved via the takeaway for many. The curry I made on Friday night took 15 minutes to complete, and it inched ever closer to the top 3 currys I have ever made.
I've taken a bit of interest in South Indian food, specifically Keralan cuisine. The flavourings in the curry from this area of India are subtle and exotic, with an emphasis on the likes of fruit, nuts, fish, yoghurt and coconut. My only experiences have been at Rasa Restaurant in Newcastle, and each time I have eaten there has been a nigh on religious experience, the food has been that stunning. Incredibly fresh food, some fierce with heat that is quickly quelled from the use of tangy fruit, fresh pickles and coconut. I adore it, and could happily eat there every night.
My crab and cod curry on Friday was a good effort on something I could imagine eating on a warm South West Indian beach, surrounded by the sound of crashing waves, tropical insects and of course a cool beer to wash it down with. Hot and sour, creamy and exotic, I swear I could do the 15 minutes preparing and cooking and then pretend to friends that I had been slaving over the pot all day. But why deny you the recipe to a fantastically quick curry, one that will have you tearing into the crab claws and relishing each morsel? One that will have you and your friends messy with the hot and sour sauce. One that will satisfy your most severe of curry cravings and leave you chuffed in the knowledge you have just whipped an an impressive curry in the time it took the rice to boil. Get cracking.
Crab and Cod Curry
1 cooked crab, meat removed, claws and legs left intact
1 medium fillet of cod, bones and skin removed and cut into chunks
1 onion, chopped
1 thumb of ginger, peeled and grated
5 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 tbsp mustard seeds
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp chilli powder
1tbsp tamarind paste (optional)
1 small tin chopped tomatoes
Half a tin of coconut milk
A handful of pistachio or cashew nuts, crushed coarsely
A handful of curry or basil leaves
Groundnut or peanut oil
1 - Heat up the oil in a large pan. Add the mustard seeds and curry or basil leaves and let them crackle.
2 - Add the onion, ginger, garlic, turmeric and chilli powder and quickly stir for 1 minute. Then add the tomatoes and tamarind paste and reduce for 2 minutes, stirring all of the time to make a rich and fragrant sauce.
3 - Turn down the heat and add the coconut milk. Bring to the simmer, then add the cod, crab meat, legs and claws. Heat through for 5 minutes.
4 - Taste for seasoning and add salt if necessary. Stir in the nuts. Serve on basmati rice with a scattering of fresh coriander leaves.
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