29 November 2013

GUEST BLOG: Curry up!

By guest blogger TRACEY

The guys were raring to go at the Approved Premises session on Wednesday 27 November and when today's Cracking Cook, Kim, gauged the level of keenness for curries, it was 100%, so the group began preparing chicken jalfrezi and lentil dhal. As the veg copping got underway, Kim had the opportunity to share her knowledge of how the curries they were making were full of nutrients: protein, fibre, carbohydrates and the healthy omega 3 and 6 fatty acids which help to reduce the risk of some serious illnesses. Kim explained that not only was the fresh produce contributing to their ‘eat a rainbow’ diet, but that the spices each had powerful abilities to help maintain a healthy system, ease digestion and soothe physical aches and inflammations, while some even help to prevent illnesses such as Alzheimer’s. 

The guys started preparing the garlic naan breads, peeling and finely chopping garlic then adding salt to help draw the moisture out, then leaving it to one side so they could turn their attention to making the naan dough using flour, salt and yeast. A gooey sticky mix unfolded when the water was added, but Kim explained how it can be easily remedied just by adding more flour. Once kneaded, the dough was left to rise with a warm, damp tea towel placed over the bowl to speed up the process. 

The spices for the jalfrezi were selected and Kim highlighted how paprika and turmeric are the ones which mainly give a curry its brownish colour. The three key ingredients of chilli, garlic and ginger were prepped - dicing the ginger and chilli, and pressing the garlic then chopping it into a paste. Meanwhile the colourful array of vegetables - carrots, cauliflower, peppers, onions, potatoes and tomatoes - were peeled and sliced, then sautéed in  a saucepan with a combination of spices: garam masala, paprika and turmeric. Tomato puree and water were stirred in, and the chicken thighs were salted and treated to a drizzle of oil then placed in the oven to roast.

The group were impressed with how much the naan bread dough had risen in this short time, as it was nearly double its original size, so some of the guys got on with rolling the naans out and frying them in the pan, while the others set to washing the lentils for the dhal and adding the spices, which included cumin, soaked fenugreek and onion seeds. The dhal was left to simmer and some freshly chopped coriander was sprinkled on near the end of cooking. The final dish was so satisfying and it was great to hear the guys comment how they wouldn’t be buying naan bread again!

There are more photos from this session on the Cracking Good Food Facebook page.

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