Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Is there anyone out there who hasn't heard of Taste & Create? In case there's one person who hasn't, Taste & Create is a monthly food blog event, created by the lovely Nicole of For the Love of Food, in which participants are randomly paired off and tasked with preparing a recipe from their partner's blog. It is very fun and as challenging as you'd like since you get to choose what you'll prepare, and there are lots of participants from foreign lands (Nicole herself lives in Germany) so you never know with what sort of cuisine you'll end up. I love it. And you all should try it!!
For this month, my partner was Padmajha of Seduce Your Tastebuds. I've done so many Taste & Creates that I honestly can't remember if PJ and I have been partners before?? At any rate, I do love perusing her blog and trying to figure out what all the ingredients are!
I chose to make Padmajha's Vegetable Kurma. She says "Vegetable Kurma is the most preferred side dish for Chapthi / Poori /Parotta in South India. Each restaurant or household has its own version and each one is as tasty as the other."
We are big Kurma fans. Once when Number One and I were dating, I spent 5 hours preparing a Lamb Kurma for him...it was just okay because although it needed more spices, I had no idea which ones to add. He loved me for it though. Every single time we go to our favorite Indian restaurant (a few times a year, since it's a 4-hour drive), I order Lamb Coconut Kurma. Every single time. So anyway, I knew this was the dish to make.
I was going to make Meethi Paratha to go with the Kurma, but by the time I mixed it up and read the part about it needing to rest "several hours" it was simply too late. I will make the Paratha tomorrow! In a pinch, we ended up eating our Kurma with tortillas.
I saved the water from boiling the vegetables (I used potatoes, carrots, broccoflower, peas and corn with a bit of salt) to add to the kurma at the end. After looking at Padmajha's pictures again, it is apparent that I should have added more liquid...I also used a can of diced tomatoes, and I wish I had run the tomatoes through a food processor first to make them smaller. I was also wishing I had done that with the onions.
But before I get too far into all that, this dish is delicious! I loved the smell of the coconut paste (which I should have processed longer to avoid the bigger chunks of cinnamon), and it really wasn't that hard. I do chronically underestimate the time it takes ME to prepare Indian food, but that is no one's fault but my own.
I didn't have curry leaves, and didn't substitute anything for them. I actually made a double batch of kurma tonight, but only used 1 teaspoon of chile powder and did not double the garlic because I thought the cloves I had were quite big. I used dried coconut, again all that I had. I probably should have used more coconut, and next time I may add some coconut milk in place of some of the water. I did like using the water from the boiled vegetables--no lost vitamins!--but I wanted a bit more coconut flavor. I had enough veggie water left to put in the freezer to add to soup in the future.
We served this as a main dish, because for me it's labor-intensive, and I didn't have time to make anything else! It's good to eat vegetables for dinner once in a while!
2 cups boiled mixed vegetables [ carrots, beans, peas, cauliflower, corn, potato]
1 small onion, chopped
1 small tomato, chopped
1 bay leaf
a few curry leaves
1 teaspoon mustard (I used ground mustard)
1 teaspoon chile powder
2 teaspoons oil (I used about a tablespoon)
Salt to taste
Grind to a smooth paste with a little water:
5 tablespoons grated coconut
1 small piece cinnamon (I used about 1/2")
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
5 small cloves garlic
1/2" piece ginger, peeled and chopped
1. Heat oil in a pan and put in the mustard, bay leaf and curry leaves
2. When it crackles add the onion and sauté till translucent
3. Add the tomato and cook till mushy
4. Put in the ground paste, chile powder, salt and mix well. Add a little water if it is dry.[The color of the kurma will be pale at this stage.On further cooking the color will deepen.]
5. Cook for a few minutes till the raw smell of the masala disappears. (just keep smelling it, you'll know the difference)
6. Add the cooked vegetables and water to get the desired consistency.
7. Simmer for 5 minutes and remove from heat.
Serve as a side dish.