Friday, April 11, 2008

Busy Day Ahead

Life in the call center was brief was very very slow so I got a call to tell me I could get off early. This happens occassionally and today it was at a most perfect time. Daughter and I had plans for tomorrow which got changed to today. Had I had to stay full shift I would still be working for three more hours which would make a very late start for our escapades today. Daughter's hubby is going on a weekend trip and daughter is having a weekend to play. First activity on the agenda is time with me coming to her house to cook a big Indian meal. We haven't decided yet what to cook...whether it might be chicken curry, beef curry, or kheema, which is a curry made with hamburger...only ground turkey may be added this time. Son-in-law is not a rice fan and curry isn't one of his favorites either. So Daughter is looking forward to a weekend of Indian food that she doesn't have to worry about what her husband will eat. She is also ready to give Grandson a taste and see how he likes it. Luckily we don't make it spicy hot. This will be an interesting day.
It is also way past time for my hair to get a trim. Daughter is my hair stylist. My hair these days looks more like a fuzzy mop. I think it was just yesterday I told her that when I got out of bed I realized Bozo had a sister! ME! That is how far out my hair just wasn't red. So, after the cooking, I am going to have her trim the fuzziness off my hair. Hopefully, after all that I will be on my way back home to relax. I have the weekend off from the call center as well, and want to take advantage of the nicer weather, my digital camera maybe, get some shopping done maybe, and get back to church.
Due to my health situation this past year, I have not been in church for a long time and I miss it. So, hopefully I am going to go this Sunday. Surely I will be shocking everyone when I walk through that door. It is good that my health is improving somewhat. I feel better and can do a little more these days. I really am looking forward to enjoying this spring and summer this year. Last year all I did was stay home and try to keep cool. It was the hottest summer I remember in a long long time. I sure hope it is a friendlier summer this year.

I am so glad to be making this Indian food with Daughter today. I have been wanting to make something and have put it off. It is more fun cooking it together anyway.

How about if I add a recipe this time? This is how we do it...not necessarily how someone from India would. This is a variation of how my mother-in-law taught me. As I said earlier, I don't make it hot. Most of the ingredients you can get now at regular supermarkets. It used to be that we had to get them all in Chicago or other large cities where there were Oriental groceries. I still have to go once in awhile to the Indian grocery close to where my electrophysiologist office is. That is where Daughter and I go to the Indian restaurant, too. That trip is coming up again a week from Monday. Maybe I can get the pictures then and add them to the blog.

Okay, recipe time: Be prepared, this isn't written like our "normal" recipes usually are. It is good to have the spices ready ahead of time until you get used to how long it takes to get the onions done.

Meat curry Beef, Chicken, or Kheema:--read through before starting to cook to make sure you have everything.

Start with 1 or 2 large onions finely chopped or slivered. Fry the onions in veg. oil in a large dutch oven or kettle until browned to a dark golden brown. Once they start browning they must be stirred regularly and often or they will burn quickly.

Have a large glass of hot water waiting by the stove and pour the water into the browned onions slowly so they don't spatter. Cook the onions and water until boiling hard and the water has become dark reddish brown.

While the water is boiling, or beforehand, mix the following spices. I generally do not "measure" is by how it looks and by taste preferences.

Mix these powdered spices in a bowl and when the onion water is thoroughly boiled, pour the spice mix into the water and stir well.

2 very heaped tsp corriander powder
2 very heaped tsp cumin powder (or a little less if you used cumin seeds fried with the onions, which is also good)
1/3 tsp turmeric
1/3-1/2 tsp red pepper (chili powder) more or less depending on how hot you want this dish.
1/3 tsp cinnamon or a few sticks
1/3 tsp cardamom powder or a few cardamom seeds
salt to taste
1/3-1/2 tsp black pepper

Cook the spices until you can no longer "feel" the graininess with the spoon against the bottom of the pan. Do not allow the water to cook out totally but you can allow it to become a thin paste.

If you have these green spices listed below already made up...use the following at this point...if you don't have these spices, add 1/2 tsp ginger powder and 1/2 tsp garlic powder to the previous powdered spice mix.

Green spices are made from pureeing in the blender the following

whole garlic cloves
whole ginger cut to be blended
corriander leaves
tiny green chilis or jalepeno's

(We make a large batch of these and divide into how much we use for each time we cook, and freeze in sandwich zipper bags...lasts longer that way. We get maybe about 10 whole garlics, and about 5 or 6 large pieces of ginger root, 3-4 bunches of the corriander leaves, and green chili's depending on how hot you really want your curries to be...then clean, chop, and puree all these, pour into a large bowl and using a dipper spoon, we dip one spoonful into each sandwich bag, squeeze the air out and freeze.)

If you have just made it fresh, use one dipper full to each kettleful of curry. Stir this into the cooking spice mixture and continue cooking until boiling another 5 -10 minutes.

Add 1 can chopped tomatoes, diced tomatoes, etc...unspiced...check ingredients; or 1 small can tomato sauce, or 1 small can tomato paste.

Stir and cook until boiling again, then add 3 pounds chopped meat...beef, hamburger, or chicken breast...or 1-2 whole chickens cut up in small pieces by the joint...leave bone in.

When meat has had a chance to cook partially through, add cut potatoes...I use 8 medium potatoes cut into quarters.

Cover and cook until potatoes are done. If you make chicken curry, at this point you may also add 8 -12 boiled eggs, peeled, whole and stir carefully into the curry. This is optional. Also optional, but our family likes it this way...when cooking time is completed, in a small saucepan with a lid, add a little vegetable oil and get it hot, then add 1/4 cup black mustard seed and cover quickly. Keep covered, shake slightly to spread the seed through the oil, and fry until popping slows...removed from heat immediately to prevent burning the seeds, and pour the seeds and oil from the pan into the curry and stir through. This adds a unique flavor that we love.

Allow the curry to sit for a few minutes...maybe 10 or so...and then skim the oil from the top that has accumulated through the cooking process. Serve on top of cooked Basmati Rice, or with roti, or both.

I hope you have a good time trying this recipe. Let me know how it turns out.

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