2 July 2012

GUEST BLOG: Curry in a hurry

By guest blogger TRACEY

On the menu for the Approved Premises last Wednesday (27 June) was curry: chicken jalfrezi, sweet and sour Mumbai lentils, and garlic naan. Rob bought some of the cheapest cuts of chicken (thighs and legs) to roast once sprinkled with salt. We needed the chicken moist and tender to break up and add to the jalfrezi, so the oven was set to cook for one hour. 

The group then reported for ‘garlic duty’, and soon everyone was peeling and chopping, keeping the root intact to make it easier to slice then cube. A few group members were already familiar with Rob’s tip to draw the moisture out… add salt to the garlic, then gently press with a knife’s edge. Some participants re-employed previously learnt skills to peel and chop the ginger into matchsticks, while others peeled, sliced and chopped the peppers, onions and chillies. By this point, people were drawn to the room from upstairs, intrigued to know which vegetables were being used. The group began to prep the garlic naan bread dough; using flour, yeast, salt and not forgetting the copious amounts of garlic! The ingredients were combined with soya milk to accommodate the dietary needs of one group member. Rob demonstrated how to knead then the dough was left to prove.

After a break, the aroma of onions, garlic and ginger being fried made everyone feel very hungry and one participant commented that the  mix “looked good to eat NOW”. The peppers were sizzling and reducing down in another pan, while the lentils were being washed and ready to cook. Turmeric, salt, sugar and tamarind were added to the lentils and left to simmer. Rob explained that the tamarind provided the sour element to this dish - it's like jam with no sugar. The spices for the lentils were fried, using a pan lid to ensure the cumin, black mustard seeds and fenugeek didn’t escape while popping. One participant undertook "lentil-watch", stirring the spices in and making sure the mix didn’t stick. Although he didn't fancy the ingredients at first, his opinion rapidly changed once the chopped coconut block was added.

Tinned tomatoes were added to the onion and pepper jalfrezi base and, once the chicken had cooked, it was shredded and added to the pan. The final touch of chopped coriander was stirred in and, not only did it look and smell divine, it was a real treat for our tastebuds too. One participant had the genius idea of adding some chopped fresh tomatoes to the lentil dhal along with the coriander at the end and again this worked exceptionally well. Everyone got involved in rolling and frying the now infamous naan-in-a-pan’ and they, plus six visitors, then joined in sampling the delights from our Curry in a Hurry session, all for about as little as £1.40 per head.

There are more photos from this event on the official Cracking Good Food Facebook page here.

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