Cross Cultural Curry

Curry, just what is it? It seems so widespread and varied. There is of course Indian curry, which I used to think of as the ‘traditional’ curry. There’s Thai curry with coconut milk and hot chiles. There’s South African curry with fenugreek.

curry300

Red curries, green curries, yellow curries, wet curries, dry curries, vegetable curries, fish curries, lamb curries and don’t forget bunny chow and raitas! I love them all! It can be overwhelming but in the end let your taste buds decide. The more I study curry the more I read that each region or family has their own way of mixing the spices to make their curry. It seems they keep the mix on hand to quickly season their foods. Prefect, this means I can’t do it wrong! I’ve been thinking of curry in the slow cooker. Chicken, butternut, eggplant curry.

In the slow cooker I started with a layer of cubed chicken breast. I sprinkled curry powder, cumin, smoked paprika, cayenne,  and garlic powder on it. Then I added a layer of cubed butternut squash and more or less the same seasoning. Then, a layer of cubed eggplant and seasoning again. To this layer I added a cinnamon stick and bay leaf. I added a few cups of water and went outside to work in the garden. You can easily skip the chicken and create a vegetarian curry. Cubed tofu, potatoes, or chickpeas can also be added to the mix. Actually almost any vegetable can be added to the mix.

About two hours later I stirred the mixture, the smells were making me dizzy with anticipation, and added about a half cup of black rice. I put the lid back on it and left it for two more hours. I ended up with an incredible curry stew. The sweetness of the butternut plays off of the curry spices nicely!

You can’t go wrong with curry! If you have the time and whole spices are available toast and grind your own spice mix. If not, there’s no shame in using a prepared mix or paste. Experiment and enjoy!

In The Tasteful Muse, Volume Two (release date August 2015) you’ll find several of my recipes for spice mixes to keep on hand – curries, mustard mix, dry rubs, and more!

Until next time… release YOUR Bon Vivant and Savor Your Life!

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