Beef & Potato Curry with Yoghurt Gravy

  • 5 medium red or yellow waxy potatoes, cubed
  • 3 large yellow onions, sliced
  • 3/4 c vegetable oil
  • 2 lbs stewing beef or lamb
  • 2 t garam masala
  • 3/4 t salt
  • 6-8 curry leaves
  • 1 1/4 t cumin seeds
  • 5 cardamom pods
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  •  3 fresh hot green chillies, minced
  • 2 dried red chillies, crushed
  • 2 t grated ginger-root
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 t paprika (not hot)
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 c plain yoghurt
  • 2 1/2 c water
  • chopped green chillies and chopped cilantro to garnish

Cook the sliced onions in a large, deep pot (preferably enameled cast iron) over medium-high heat until browned, about 10-15 minutes. In the meantime, mix the beef or lamb with the garam masala and 3/4 t salt. Wash and cut potatoes. Mix yoghurt with ginger, garlic, red and green chillies, paprika and salt. Very lightly crush cardamom pods, remove seeds and discard the husks.

Remove onions from pot draining out oil as you do so. Remove all but 4 T of oil from pot and set aside. Sauté meat on medium-high until well browned in 2-3 batches depending on size of your pot, adding in some of the reserved oil between batches if needed. During the last batch add in the curry leaves and during the last 2 minutes the cumin and cardamom seeds and cinnamon sticks. Add all the meat back to the pot along with the onions and stir to heat through, 1-2 minutes. Slowly add in the yoghurt mixture and cook for a few minutes until the garlic and ginger are just cooked and the oil separates out from the yoghurt mixture.

Add the water and scrape up any fond that has developed on the bottom of the pot. Cover and simmer for 40 minutes or until meat is barely tender but not overdone, stirring occasionally so that it doesn’t stick to the bottom. Add in potatoes and simmer another 20 minutes with the lid off until potatoes are cook through and the sauce has reduced and thickened up. Adjust with salt and add more water if sauce is too thick.

Serve with hot basmati rice, naan, and fresh chopped green chillies and cilantro.


Coconut Curry Crab Chowder with Lentils

  • 1 1/2 C red lentils
  • 16 oz crab meat
  • 1 qt home canned garden tomatoes
  • 3-4 C clam juice
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1/2 C plain yoghurt (optional)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 5 large garlic cloves. smashed
  • 3″ large piece ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 t cumin seed
  • 1 1/2 t fennel seed
  • 3-4 t very good, fresh Madras curry powder
  • 3/4 C unsweetened coconut, toasted
  • 2 carrots diced
  • 2 sweet bell peppers (red and yellow) 1″ diced
  • 1 poblano pepper 1″ diced
  • 2 serrano peppers, minced. Seeded if you want to decrease the spiciness
  • 8 0z sugar snap pea pods, ends trimmed and cut in half
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 6 scallions, sliced on a bias
  • garam masala to taste
  • lemon or lime wedges, to serve

In a small food processor, purée the yellow onion, ginger and garlic with just enough water (1-2 t) for it to form a thick, smooth paste. Heat a large heavy-bottomed pot on medium-high with a little oil. Add in the whole cumin and fennel seed and toast until just fragrant. Add in the onion-garlic-ginger paste and cook 1-2 minutes. Add in the curry powder and cook until fragrant, 1-2 minutes, being careful not to scorch any of the spices.

Grind your toasted coconut in a spice grinder and add to the pot. Add in the tomatoes and clam juice and bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook for about 20 minutes until the ground coconut is fully hydrated.

Meanwhile, rinse your lentils in several changes of cool water until the water runs clear. Cook for 10 minutes in boiling water with 2 bay leaves. Remove from heat and add 1 t kosher salt to the water and let sit for 5 minutes. Drain and add the lentils to your soup pot along with your coconut milk and yoghurt, if using.

Add your carrots and cook for about 12 minutes. Then add the peppers and pea pods and crab. Cook until the vegetables are until just barely tender and still have crunch. Remove the pot from the heat and add in the cilantro and scallions and 1 t or more of the garam masala. Serve with lemon/lime wedges and top with extra toasted coconut if desired.

Serves 6

Curried Red Lentils

  • 2 C red lentils (masoor dal), rinsed in several changes of cold water
  • 2 garlic cloves, lightly smashed
  • 4 coins of ginger
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 cloves
  • 1 t red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 yellow onion

In about 3-4 C of water, cook the lentils along with the aromatics for about 10-15 minutes until just slightly underdone. Remove from the heat and salt the water generously and let sit for 20 minutes.  When ready to use, drain, remove the aromatics (except red pepper flakes) and add to pot.

  • 5 large cloves of garlic
  • 3″ piece of peeled ginger, coarsley chopped
  • 1/2 yellow onion
  • 1/2 t kalonji (nigella) seeds
  • 1/2 t cumin seeds
  • 1/2 t fennel seeds
  • 2 t of your favourite curry powder, or more to taste. I like a Madras curry powder.
  • 1 qt tomatoes (home canned if possible)
  • 3/4-1 C of either cream, half & half or plain yoghurt, or a combination of those, to taste (optional)
  • 1 t garam masala*
  • chopped fresh cilantro for garnish

Purée the garlic, ginger and onion with a little water until a thick, smooth paste forms. Toast the whole spices in some ghee or oil in a heavy-bottomed pot until toasted, 1-2 minutes and then add in the curry powder and cook about 30 seconds until brown. Add in the garlic-ginger-onion paste and sauté until very thick and reduced by at least half. Add in the tomatoes and cook until the juices have reduced somewhat. Next add in the cooked lentils and continue to cook until the lentils are quite soft. Check for salt, and stir in the garam masala and cream/yoghurt and remove from the heat. Serve over rice and top with chopped cilantro and more garam masala if desired.

*I prefer to make my own garam masala (and often curry powders) from whole spices. Whole spices are extremely inexpensive when purchased either online or in a Indian (or similar) grocery store in bulk. I keep my whole spices in glass jars in a cool pantry and they last for years. I keep a large variety of spices that are useful for Indian, SE Asian, Mexican, and many other types of recipes on hand so I can toast and grind them fresh when I need them. The flavour is far superior to store-bought spices and it is way cheaper.

Mint Chutney

1 C firmly packed spearmint leaves
6 scallions
2 green chillies
1 clove garlic
1 t salt
2 t sugar
1 t garam masala
1/3 C fresh lemon juice
2 T water

Cut the onions into small stalks, and seed and coarsely chop the chillies. Add all ingredients to a blender or food processor and pulse until well blended. Place into a small dish, cover, and refrigerate until ready to eat.

Serve on anything even remotely Indian/Pakistiani/Sri Lankan.