Curry = In Favour

We recently made a visit to Ajay’s new apartment to experiment with unglazed floor tiles and Naan bread dough. In the process we witnessed the creation of a genuine Indian curry that tastes as good as any restaurant’s - if not better. Below are some notes taken along the way.

Our initial Naan attempt used two unglazed floor tiles in the main part of the oven with the temperature dial set to ‘11’. This didn’t seem to work out too great and resulted in what harsh critics might call ‘filth biscuits’. Some research into the traditional Tandoor ovens reveals why normal ovens are fairly useless. Many claim that good homemade Naan is near impossible whilst others have resorted to building a backyard Tandoor.

There are two cheating methods to getting a reasonably delicious Naan bread to have with your curry. The first method almost guarantees perfect results: head down to your local Indian restaurant and buy 2 plain Naan at a cost of about $5. Next best are Trader Joe’s frozen Naan breads - oddly these superiour to their ‘fresh’ counterparts and just need a couple of minutes under the grill.

My best method of making them at home so far is to place the unglazed tile or pizza stone on the floor of a cheap US-style oven’s grill/broiler area, leaving the grill on ‘Broil’ setting. [These demented ovens use a single gas burner to heat the oven above and the ‘grill’ below. This makes for a grill conveniently located on the floor - forcing you into yogalates positions to see what is going on.] This gives heat from below (from the stone) and heat from above (the grill) which more closely matches the Tandoor.

Ajay’s Basic Curry Recipe

Marinate chicken in yoghurt, turmeric, lime juice. Slice red onion (~1.5 onions) Grind up some cinnamon, cardamon, cloves (& cumin?) in pestle and mortar Heat Safflower oil in large pot with lid Add black mustard seeds and wait until seeds start to pop (oil is then hot enough) Add ground spices and cook briefly (don’t allow to burn). [add whole cumin & coriander seeds?] Add half of sliced onions and put lid back on Meanwhile, add rest of onions, quartered plum tomatoes, green chillies (2-3), ginger and garlic to blender. Add a little yoghurt to facilitate blending. This is the base. When onion is cooked, add base. Put lid back on and cook until onion is no longer strong (doesn’t hurt your eyes) Take lid off and cook to remove water – until you can see the oil start to separate out. Add extra cream if necessary. Add garam masala. Add in chicken plus marinade. Add extra chopped tomoatoes. Add salt. Put lid on, bring to boil and then simmer for ~20mins.

Naan bread dough recipe to follow after a few more trials.

comments powered by Disqus