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Started by Natascha on Aug 9, 2017 9:36:48 PM
Curries

What ingredients can be substituted for other ingredients?

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Natascha - 09 Aug 2017 21:47:03 (#1 of 6)

I have recently started collecting spices. This was because I had acquired a copy of Atul Kochhar's 'Currys of the World' (https://www.amazon.co.uk/Atuls-Curries-World-Atul-Kochhar/dp/1906650799) which is actually amazing, but also sources a lot of spices that need to be used specifically.

Now, I have a fair number of other 'curry' books, in which the spices used are a fairly typical blend of coriander, cumin, chilli, ginger and garlic with the occasional addition of something more 'exotic' e.g. curry leaves or mustard seed or fennel or fenugreek, both leaves and seed.

I decided to cook my way through Atul's book, acquiring all the spices needed (in whole spice or seed form). This was so that I could just read a recipe and, bar the sourcing of the main and common ingredients (e.g. chicken thighs, potatoes) be able to *just cook it*. This has been frustrated by his use of curry powders, but as one of my interests is African Curries, where 'curry powders' are more of a thing than they actually are in the Asian subcontinent, I have made efforts to make these, using a spice grinder and a small frying pan reserved for toasting the spices.

But, as always, the more I have the less I seem to have. I have a huge library of spices now, but reading other Atul recipes, I now need to source frozen chunks of coconut.

I was wondering if we could swop and discuss curry recipes, with nods given to good substitutes for the various ingredients.

JennyRad - 09 Aug 2017 21:49:42 (#2 of 6)

Good idea, Natascha.

I got amchur for some recipe or another, and have never re-cooked the recipe. I do occasionally use it to add acid when I don't want to add liquid (so like a "dry" lemon juice or vinegar), but really, I'm not at all sure it's worth getting for that. Just use lemon juice and less of whatever other liquids you're adding.

dreams99 - 09 Aug 2017 21:51:09 (#3 of 6)

I cooked a few from that book, it's good.

Sabacious - 09 Aug 2017 21:52:31 (#4 of 6)

I love that book but you need to read the recipes carefully as there are all sorts of powders and sauces that are sometimes quite complicated but only a tablespoon or two are needed.

Natascha - 09 Aug 2017 22:37:42 (#5 of 6)

The highlight for me so far has been the kuku paka (Kiswahili: coconut chicken) which needs a curry powder he calls 'Malawi curry powder', heavy on black poppy seeds, which he gives in the back. I sourced all the spices to make that, made it, using about a quarter of the amount of curry powder created.

MANY years ago, I went on 'spice tour' in Zanzibar where we stopped for lunch at a small house which was also a pepper farm and they cooked this amazing chicken dish for us. Atul's kuku paka was that dish again, with the added bonus of giving me a concrete experience of the link between memory and taste. But the only place I can use that Malawi curry powder was in this dish and in an aubergine curry in the same book :/. I ended up sending the spice mix to a French mate living in rural France so that she could recreate it. So I feel your pain.

Perhaps we could swap the spice mixes if we make them.

Natascha - 09 Aug 2017 22:40:08 (#6 of 6)

Amchur can also be used where tamarind is used - particularly in southern fish coconut curries. It adds sour.

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