Today is a semi vegetarian day again. Yesterday I had salad sandwiches for lunch and Dahl Madras from a pouch for tea. But not without adjustments. I cannot understand how the appellation “Madras” can be applied to a sauce that is so mild it could be used to wean babies (assuming you strained out the lumps). It definitely needed some tweaking, which I did by the judicious addition of Byron Bay FieryChilli and coconut sauce.
Speaking of tweaking, quite a lot of ready meals or meal components could do with a bit of a spanner. I have some instant microwave rice which if prepared according to the instructions, tastes like shyte. However by emptying the pack into a rice cooker with a half cup of water and a small nob of butter one gets a very pleasant fluffy product.
This philosophy extends to other examples of ready meals. Usually you can figure out what the product needs just by reading the label. For example if it is a can of chicken stew, it would pay to have some chicken on hand to cook separately and throw into the pot.
My favourite curry pack is Alloo Mutter. The sauce is absolutely delicious. However it could still do with a tweak. In this case just by cooking a few cubed potatoes and adding them. One only gets a couple of small soggy examples in the retort pouch. Throw them to the birds and add your own (that is if you can find it. I can’t seem to, here).
Alloo Mutter is so delicious that when I could not find it in the shops in Fiji, I had to make it myself. I took the ingredients from the packet and worked out the proportions I like. I cannot find the brand I like here either. So I make my own. Being irish, anything with potatoes HAS to be good.
I have to admit that though mine is not bad/passable the bought one in Fiji (with the above mentioned adjustment) was a little better as I remember it.
Here is mine:
- 1 large finely chopped onion
- 4 (or more) potatoes, cubed
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 1 tin tomatoes
- two tablespoons tomato concentrate
- 2 teaspoons crushed and chopped garlic
- 1 teaspoon grated ginger
- 1 teaspoon coriander powder
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin seed
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- 1/2 teaspoon tumeric
- 1 teaspoon chilli powder
- chopped coriander leaves
- a little salt ‘a cup of water
- oil, or ghee
- Optional tweak: 1/2 cup yoghurt or coconut cream
- Blend or crush the onion, ginger and garlic
- Mash up the tomatoes
- Heat a tablespoon of oil or ghee and add the cumin seeds. As soon as they sizzle add the onion garlic and ginger and stir until it starts to brown.
- Add the potato cubes and fry for a bit
- Add the remaining ingredients except the masala and peas,
- Turn down the heat and simmer covered until the potatoes are cooked.
- Add the masala and simmer for 5 more minutes.
- Stir in the frozen peas and bring back to the simmer.
- Stir the optional yoghurt/coconut cream (or not – it’s optional).
- Serve with rice and naan or chapati.
It makes a great filling for samosas. (The spell checker suggests Samoans – probably right too).