Has anyone ever felt awkward about curries besides me?
Not about eating them of course; that would be plain madness.
Awkward in that you’re confused about the fact that you can order curry in pretty much any Asian restaurant but you thought for sure that curries were specifically from India.
And now, you’re sitting in a Japanese restaurant and you see curry on the menu and you’re pretty sure it doesn’t consist of raw fish and wasabi. Your curiosity gets the best of you so you ditch your original Agadashi Tofu and Avocado Roll lunch and you order this so called “curry” from Japan.
When a plate of potatoes and peas in a sweet(ish) sauce is placed in front of you, you aren’t totally disappointed, just confused about why the fuck you’re eating curry in a Japanese restaurant (and you now know to leave the curry to the dinky Indian restaurant down the street because even though the place smells like moth balls, incense and cumin, it has the best Aloo Gobi and Dhal maybe ever).
Or perhaps the scenario is more like this one:
You’re at a startup tech party in Silicon Valley (or maybe it’s just San Francisco, I can’t tell. It’s probably San Francisco because you’re in a brick building with high ceilings and it looks unoccupied apart from the fussball table in the middle of the room, multiple large monitors on minimalist desks scattered randomly and the banner that says “Code is Art. Mobile is the Future” in Gil Sans – thin).
You’re standing around the booze table, wishing there were some food to eat apart from cheese and crackers (you can tell everyone else wishes there was food too because all of the Asian people are having Asian Flush from drinking and they’re talking. A LOT).
Just before you leave the party to go find something – anything to stuff in your, mouth you find yourself in a conversation with three Indian people and the topic is curry. Before you know it, you have invited them to your house next weekend for an Indian feast (because OH MY GOD, booze and no food!!! Plus you’re new to SF and making genuine friends in San Francisco is maybe even harder than getting funding for your startup).
Shit. Now you have to make curry. For your Indian co-workers.
As you’re walking to the nearest dinky Burrito place after the party, you’re thinking about your curry dinner that you faked being so excited about and you realize that you don’t even know what to buy at the grocery store to make curry apart from curry powder, probably onions and some spinach because of SAAG PANEER. You’re fucked. Next time you go to a startup party, you’re brown bagging it.
Here’s the dirty.
Turns out, we have been WAY over-thinking it.
A curry is just a dish that is covered in sauce. That’s it.
Sure, there are hundreds of variations of curries but don’t over analyze.
Curry = meat, seafood, poultry or veggies slathered in sauce. Sometimes spicy, sometimes not so.
The word “curry” was coined by British Colonists in the 18th century, most probably from the Indian word, Kari or Karee which means… you guessed it, smarty pants – SAUCE!
Here is a super yummy curry recipe for you to put in your back pocket because you never know when you might need it.
Mushroom and Tofu Curry
2 tablespoons high heat oil
1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
1 large red onion, sliced in half moons (see picture)
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon red chili powder
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 cinnamon stick
3 tablespoons coconut milk
2 cups water
4 cups tofu, cut into bit size triangle pieces
4 cups mushrooms, sliced (any variety you like or have on hand)
- Heat oil in pan until it is really hot (check by taking a bit of water on your fingers and splash it in the pan. If the water sizzles, your oil is hot enough) and cook the cumin seeds on medium heat for 1 minute.
- Add the onions and cook for 7 minutes and then add the curry powder, turmeric, red chili powder, sea salt and cinnamon stick.
- Stir and cook for 30 seconds and then add the water and cook for 2 minutes.
- Add 2 tablespoons of coconut milk, mushrooms and tofu, cover the pan and simmer on medium low for 20 minutes.
- Serve with rice.
The type of tofu used in this dish is the puffy fried variety that you can find at Asian grocery stores in the refrigerated or frozen section. You can use regular firm tofu but the texture and overall experience will be much different. The fried puffy tofu really absorbs the sauce and makes for super flavorful tofu. I highly recommend tracking some down when you make this dish.
Make this 1 day before serving it. This will allow time for the flavors to fully develop
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