I am guessing that there could easily be dozens of varieties of curries possible. And I am just talking about Indian curries. Those which use nuts, without nuts, with and without coconut, yoghurt, tomato etc etc. Their use is so versatile that they could be served with rice, or any flatbread. We have tried curries with regular sandwich bread as well and it tastes just as good!
I have grown up eating mostly south Indian curries. A meal with a north Indian curry was usually limited to dining in restaurants. Perhaps the only north Indian curry that my mom used to make was Palak Paneer. As I started to cook, my liking to north Indian cuisine naturally made me try out various saag, tikka masalas, shahi curry and the likes.
I still occasionally cook curries with a rich base such as those with cream and nuts. But recently discovered the use of Greek yoghurt in curries that mimics the presence of cream without lending those many calories.
I was quite impressed by the results as the texture is almost the same. Taste wise its just as great, except that it tends to taste a bit more tangy and hence the quantity of tomato has to be reduced than usual.
Light(er) Veggie Pasanda | Mixed vegetables in a spicy, creamy, nutty sauce.Serves 2-3
Things you need -2 cups of chopped vegetables. I used carrots, beans, potatoes and cauliflower.
1 medium onion, finely chopped or grated
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced fine
1 tsp ginger paste or grated ginger
2-3 pods of green cardamom, skin removed
2 tsp coriander seeds
3 tbsp oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp chilli powder
1 inch piece of cinnamon
2 tbsp tomato puree or 1 small tomato finely chopped
half cup ground almonds or cashews
150 gms Greek yoghurt or hung regular yoghurt **
2-3 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
a handful almond flakes, for garnish, optional
a bunch of coriander leaves, for garnish
How its done -1. Boil enough water in a large skillet. Add the carrots, beans and potatoes and boil for 2 minutes. Add the cauliflower and boil for another 1-2 minutes and switch off heat. The vegetables must be crunchy and not mushy. Drain water, season the boiled vegetables with some salt and keep aside.
2. Dry roast the cumin, cardamom, cinnamon and coriander seeds until fragrant. Grind them into a fine powder.
2. Heat oil in a skillet. Add onions and fry for 5 minutes until they start to turn slightly brown. Add garlic and ginger and stir for another minutes or two.
3. Add the tomato puree and the ground spice mixture, salt, sugar, chilli powder, ground almonds/cashew and a few tsps of water and cook until the oil starts to separate from the spices.
4. Now add the boiled vegetables, mix well and cook for 3-5 minutes until the vegetables are just done.
5. Switch off heat and stir in the Greek yoghurt. Add a little water or milk if you think the consistency is too thick. *
6. Garnish with coriander leaves and almond flakes. ***
Notes -* Do not cook the curry after adding the yoghurt. It will curdle.
** For a richer version, You can use 100-150 ml single cream in place of Greek yoghurt if you wish.
*** Panner cubes can also be added right after adding the yoghurt.
Jeera Rice | Cumin RiceServes 2-3
Things you need -1 cup Basmati rice, washed and soaked in cold water for 15 minutes
2 cups water to cook the rice ****
1 tbsp + 1 tsp cumin seeds
2 tbsp ghee or oil + 1 tsp oil
1 small red onion, sliced
cashew nuts mildly sautéed in a ghee or oil, handful
salt as per taste
How its done -1. Drain the water and cook the rice on medium heat with 2 cups of water, 1 tbsp cumin seeds and salt. Once the rice is cooked, switch off heat, add a tsp of oil and fluff with a fork and keep aside. **
2. In a small pan heat the ghee or oil. Add the remaining cumin seeds. Once they start to splutter, add the onions and stir for for 2 minutes. Garnish with cashew nuts.