Saturday, September 20, 2008

Crockpot Curry in a Hurry

Crockpot: Curry in a Hurry.

A few years ago, my sister was visiting me and I wanted to spend time with her and my brother-in-law and NOT in the kitchen.
Yet, here was the dilemma of wanting to provide a good meal as well. Making as much as I could before they arrived, in desperation I recalled a talk I had given to an American group of friends re., 'Curry in a Hurry'. Whisking out my crockpot I put all the ingredients that I had listed for them into the crockpot, turned it on, said a prayer and left the kitchen.
Four hours later I served lunch, with another prayer. Amazingly the first comment came from my brother in law who has a very well developed palate. "This curry is delicious."
I couldn't have been more pleased. Coming from him, it was high praise. This was followed by my sister's ever loyal and supportive words, "Geeta is such a great cook," and to me, "How do you do all this?" I treasure those words of appreciation. Though we lost her to cancer her memory is in my heart, interwoven in my life and a very important thread of my being.

While researching calcium rich foods for Sangeeth's Eat Healthy: Calcium Rich event, I found the USDA's database list on which Tofu was second. Tofu is made from soybeans which were fifth on the list. Some years ago I encountered soy beans in their shell in an Oriental restaurant when a bowl of soybeans, dipped in hot salted water was placed in front of us.
'Edmame', said the waitress. I peeled one and found the bean reminded me of mocche/avaraykai/averaychi shenga. Just like mocche, I could peel the outer skin from the bean and reveal a tender inner bean. In India, the averaykai are peeled, the beans are soaked in water overnight (pidakka pappu) and then the outer skin is removed. Though the inner beans make for a more delicate flavored curry the whole bean has more fiber. The averakai season in India (winter in Bangalore) is looked forward to.
In the US, packets of soy beans are inexpensive in the Oriental stores, and I use these protein and calcium packed veggies in curries just as if they were avaraykai. Of course the original avaraykai is the greatest in taste, but we have to make do with what is available here.

So here's my fifth entry for Sangeeth Raghunathan's EAT HEALTHY: CALCIUM RICH event.




CROCKPOT CURRY IN A HURRY

No crock pot? No worries. Just put it on the stove and it will be done quicker than in a crock pot.
The former is when you have no time to watch a dish and still need it ready.

Calcium content per 100 gms of soy beans (by weight)or 3.53 ozs, is 277 mg.

A group
2 cups cauliflower florets
1 cup cubed, red skinned potato (approximately 2 medium)
1 cup frozen soy beans (rinsed in hot water).
1 tomato chopped.
2 whole green chillies.
2 Tbsps chopped cilantro
1/2 onion, sliced and fried. (I have large batches of onion fried and frozen, so I use that).
One pinch turmeric.
1/2 spoon ground pepper.
1 spoon garam masala/Everest Biriyani pulao masala.
1 Bay leaf
1" piece cinnamon
3 cloves or 1/3 tsp clove powder.
1 Tbsp ginger and garlic paste.
1 1/2 cup water

To taste
Red chilli powder.
Salt

B group

1 Tbsp cashewnut powder
3 ozs coconut milk
1 Tbsp khus khus powder (khus khus is poppy seed found in the Indian groceries. I roast a pkt at a time in the microwave, blend and what else? freeze it of course!)

Put all the A group ingredients into a crock pot and turn it on High for the first hour...if you're around.
If you're going to be out/away for 4-6 hours just leave it on medium.
Ten minutes before serving add B group ingredients and let it continue simmering...you can omit group B.

TIPS: This is delicious with peas too if you can't find the soy beans in your area.
Try cauliflower, potato and half a pkt frozen spinach for a great flavor.
In a crock pot, you need ingredients that will cook at the same rate...red skinned potatoes frozen soy beans and cauliflower are a perfect combo.
You don't have to fry and freeze large batches of onion like I do...that's just because I'm not well enough to cook from scratch every day.
Instead when chopping onion for one dish, chop another onion, fry both together, remove half and store in the refrigerator/freezer for another day/dish.
Time and motion study proves this is economical both in time and energy.
Do not add too much water to the crock pot and check the curry after four hours...if you're leaving it all day leave it on lo.
It's better to stick around the first time you try this recipe so you get an idea of what it's like in four hours/six hours etc.

No one will guess your kurma/curry wasn't made on the stove with you sweating an hour over it.
(My mother always insisted that the masala had to be fried for fifteen minutes and then the veggies put in and fried for another fifteen)
Add any ingredients you would normally add to your kurma to make it great.
I have done it without onions, garlic/ginger too and it has come out great.
I cannot recommend this dish highly enough.
Crock pots wash up easily in the dishwasher. Food rarely burns in it.

For those really in a hurry, this curry can be done in ten-fifteen minutes stove top if you zap the vegetables in very little water in the microwave for five minutes and then add all the ingredients to a pot and simmer till done...remember not to overdo the water or it will take longer to thicken.

HD (Hubby Dearest)says this curry/kurma tastes best with chappattis and I swear by the rice 'n curry combo. You be the judge.

3 comments:

Sangeeth said...

I have never cooked in crockpot....lovely and diff recipe :)thanks!

aditib said...

I tried this recipe over the weekend---delicious! Definitely my favorite Indian recipe for the crockpot. Thank you!

Tanuja said...

Thanks, we are going to try this in the crockpot. Tanu