Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Namaste My Way or as the Punjabis Say, "Sasrikal"-- A Curry Base

Would you like to make your own curry that tastes just like the restaurant's in 45 minutes or less?  Yeah, well so would I, but it ain't gonna happen.  Sad but true I'm afraid.  I'm sure the restaurants would like to figure out a way to make it so for their own benefit as well, but that's just not the way it works.  But, as we all know, good things come to those who wait.  Curry illustrates that point in a most delicious, rich, and silken way.  Heck, even this post will likely turn out to be a 2-3 day ordeal.

You will find no coconut milk or Greek yogurt here.  However, there is a secret and the secret has a name.  Gravy.  Onion gravy.  How do I know this?  Well, you see, the longest I've ever been employed by the same employer is three years.  You may be appalled, but to the dismay of others, I am quite proud of that feat.  I waited tables at the city's favorite Indian restaurant while acquiring my degree in anthropology.  While anthropology may not be the hot ticket to the fast track, it does serve one quite well in the over-heated chaos of a Punjabi-run kitchen.

Onion Gravy (Curry Base)


3 pounds of onions peeled but left whole
1 small can of tomato paste
1/2 bunch of cilantro chopped up with stems and all
1/3 C peeled & coarsely chopped ginger (use a spoon to scrape the thin skin off the ginger root)
5 cloves of garlic peeled
2 1/2 C of water


Add all ingredients to a large pot, cover with a tight fitting lid and cook over low heat for 2 hours.  After an hour, check to see if onions are squishy and are pierced easily with a knife.  If they are, whiz up the mixture with a food processor, blender, or immersion blender.  Your base is now ready for round two.

Add to the pureed mixture:

1 tbs of turmeric
2 tbs of curry powder
2 tbs of paprika
2 tbs of cumin
1 ts of cardamom (mostly because I'm damned and determined to use the whole bottle within 6 mos.)

Stir in spices and let sit covered for an hour to steep.

You did it!  You made the base-- not the curry mind you-- just the base.  The final steps to a finished curry are now within your grasp.

To be continued...

Hint:  You'll be needing lots of cream and butter.

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