Monday, November 13, 2006

Classic Masala Curry & Rice Pulao

When I was in Canberra, I had the treat of dining at an Indian restaurant. Here at Copacabana, we do not have such exotic dining options and have to be more self sufficient. This is a versatile Terry Durack recipe from Sydney Morning Herald's Good Weekend magazine back in 2001 :

Basic Curry (serves 4 but can stretch a little)
2 T butter
2 T vegetable oil
1 onion finely chopped
1 T finely grated ginger
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 t cayenne powder
2 t garam masala* (see recipe below)
1 t ground cumin
1 t salt
800g canned tomatoes, chopped
150 runny cream (not strictly necessary but yummy)
handful fresh coriander leaves

Heat the butter and oil in a heavy-based pan, add the onion and cook until soft. Add the ginger and garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Add the spices and salt and cook for 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and simmer for 10 minutes or until the oil comes to the surface. Gradually add the cream, stirring constantly without boiling.

Other variations:
  • Chicken Masala - 450g boneless chicken meat cut into bite sized chunks, seasoned well with salt and pepper and browned and semi-cooked in separate frying pan before adding to curry.
  • Prawns - add peeled cooked or uncooked prawns to curry and warm through/cook just before serving.
  • Lamb - add 450g large diced lamb to curry and slow cook in 150C oven for 45-60 minutes.
The curry can be made in advance and often tastes even better a day or two later:


Garam Masala
Garam Masala is an aromatic essential seasoning in the cuisine of Northern India. You can purchase it at Asian markets or make your own. Here are a couple of different methods:

From ground spices mix:
  • 1 T ground coriander
  • 2 t black pepper
  • 2 t ground cardomom
  • 1 t ground cinnamon
  • 1 t ground cloves
To grind your own:
Combine the following spices on a baking tray:
  • 2 t whole black peppers
  • 2 t cumin seeds
  • 1 1/2 t coriander seeds
  • 1 t fennel seeds
  • 3/4 t whole cloves
  • 1/2 t cardomom seeds (without pods)
  • 1 stick cinnamon (broken)
Roast at 125C for about 20 minutes. Grind in blender or mortar and pestle.

Rice Pulao
Risotto aside, I've never been much good at cooking rice but this works every time (especially if you use a non-stick pot). It's worth the extra effort:

300g basmati rice
2 T vegetable oil
1 small onion, finely sliced
1/2 t cumin seeds
1/2 t brown mustard seeds (I've been known to use ones that don't look more golden)
1/2 t salt
freshly ground pepper
1/2 t ground cumin
1/2 t ground coriander
1/2 t tumeric powder
1 bay leaf
2 cinnamon sticks
4 cardamom pods, slightly crushed
2 cloves
600 ml water

Wash the rice in cold water and drain well. Heat the oil and fry the onion until soft and brown. Add the cumin seeds and mustard seeds and cook for one minute. Add the salt, pepper, ground cumin, coriander and tumeric, stirring. Add the drained rice and toss well to coat the spices. Add the bay leaf, cinnamon, cardamom and cloves.

Add 600 ml boiling water, bring back to the boil, stirring, then reduce heat and cover tightly (wrap the lid with a piece of kitchen foil, scrunching it around the edges). Cook very gently for 15 minutes (don't lift the lid during that time), then loosen the grains with a fork, cover and set aside for 5 minutes before serving.

1 comment:

Valda Kerekes said...

I had Tracey's parents and their friends here for two nights and last night we ended up at the local indian restaurant. Had a lovely meal.....now with this contribution I can make my own. Thank you.