Wednesday, September 8, 2010

How I mixed two recipes- and still ended up with something edible

Monday night, Ralph and I were itching to make some curry. I pulled up my web browser and searched for a chicken curry recipe on allrecipes.com and set to work. Upon starting however, we hit a tiny snag. Our recipe asked for 5 tbsp curry powder, but we really didn't want to use the premade stuff (You know how it is- the premade, no name brand of curry always feels like it's missing something.)

So I pulled up another tab and went digging for my go-to recipe for Lamb Biryani, a recipe I've used many times in the past and which has a flavorful sauce. I still wanted to use the original recipe I had for Chicken Curry (found here), but I wanted to make a powder using the spices in the Biryani recipe and quadrupled it:
1/8 teaspoon(s) cayenne- used 1/2
1/2 teaspoon(s) ground cumin- 2tsp
1/4 teaspoon(s) fresh-ground black pepper- 1 tsp
1 3/4 teaspoon(s) salt added to taste while cooking
1/4 teaspoon(s) ground cardamom or ground coriander 1 tsp cardamom pods
1/4 teaspoon(s) turmeric- 1tsp
5 cloves didn't have any available :(
1 cinnamon stick, broken in half
I then went back to following the Chicken Curry recipe, by maxing the powder with a little bit of water, just enough to make a paste.

3 cloves garlic, crushed minced
3 small onions, 1 large onion minced
1 slice fresh ginger root
5 tablespoons curry powder, recipe shown above +cinnamon stick
5 tablespoons water, enough to make a paste
2 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 1 cup yogurt
1 cup can (lite) coconut milk(
1 cup milk- substituted with 1/2 cup rice milk, to balance out the extra coconut milk
1 cup water (used this, but I wouldn't recommend it, unless your mixture looks especially thick)
2 large potatoes, cubed 1 cup green beans
1 (4 pound) whole chicken, cut into 8 pieces meat cut off the bone,cut into 1 inch pieces
salt to taste
1 cup Jasmine rice

Overall cooking process:
Ralph and I mainly followed the recipe from here- sauteing the onions, garlic and ginger, adding the curry paste, and then following with the milk products*. We brought the mixture to a boil, then added the chicken and green beans. Afterwards, we covered the pot and let it simmer for 20-25 minutes. We also put up 1 1/2 cups of water to boil for the rice, then added the rice once the water was boiling and let it simmer uncovered. After 25 minutes or so, the chicken was cooked, but the curry overall was a bit watery. We tried to fix this by adding a little bit (1 tbsp) cornstarch and let it simmer a little longer (again, in future, I would just add less water at the beginning).

And voila!
*Note: The only reason Ralph and I used the whole can (diverging from the recipe) was because I didn't want to waste the rest of the can of coconut milk. If you plan on making a second curry very soon or just don't mind having leftover coconut milk, then I'd follow the original.

My bowl:

Afterthoughts: It was only when I posted the recipes that I realized how many changes Ralph and I made to the recipes, whether out of necessity or practicality. While we were a little disappointed that the curry was a little watery, it still ended up tasting very good, and for that reason I feel this was a successful meal. I know we didn't make it in the most traditional way, but I was happier using the separate spices to make the curry sauce than going with a generic curry (again, you have no idea what you're going to get and it always feels like a flavor is missing).

Have you ever had an experience like this, adapting two recipes? Did it turn out better or worse than expected?

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