The key to a successful curry lies in the art of blending spices and herbs; rather than sophisticated cooking techniques. Recipes have been traditionally handed down from one generation to another, this has helped to fire the imagination of the creative cook, and many dishes that first started out as experiments in spice blends and flavour combinations have now become worldwide classics.
You can try to make your own paste which may require lots of trial and error. Or if you happen to be lucky, just like I am, you might find a store that does this for you. Living in Kuala Lumpur we are blessed to be in the centre of a foodie's cultural hotspot. At the Taman Tun Wet Market, there is this old man from India who sells an abundance of homemade curry powders. The only work you need to do is mention how much you need and what type of meat you are wanting to cook with.
Then voila! Your curry mix is ready in a jiffy.
I can promise you that when you come home and start preparing your dish, the heavenly aromas of cooking curry will enhance everyone's taste bud and lure people into the kitchen.
What You'll Need:
400g lamb meat
1 medium-size eggplant
1 medium-size red onion, finely chopped
1/2 inch ginger, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 stalks curry leaves
½ cinnamon stick (roughly 1 inch)
½ tbsp. mustard seed
3 tbsp. curry powder
Pinch of chilli powder (optional)
1/2 cup of water
3 tbsp plain yoghurt
Pinch of chilli flakes (optional)
Vegetable oil for cooking
Salt to taste
Wash and cut the eggplants in cubes. Place them in a colander and sprinkle them generously with salt (don’t worry, you’ll be rinsing most of it off before cooking it).
Let the eggplant sit while you prepare the other ingredients.
Before using, rinse the salt off the eggplant and pat it dry.
Trim the fat from the lamb cutlets and cut into cubes.
Roughly chop the onion and mince the garlic and ginger.
Mix the curry paste with tepid water until it forms a smooth paste.
Heat the vegetable oil in a large pot. Fry the eggplant, garlic, ginger and onions until fragrant but not burned. Then add the curry ingredients. Let it cook until the oil is separated in the curries (see note below).
Add the lamb cubes, brown them and mix well with the curry paste.
Add enough water to cover the lamb and let it simmer until the meat is done (roughly 15 minutes).
Add the eggplants and mix well. When the eggplants are almost cooked add the yoghurt, mix well, add salt to taste and simmer for another 10 minutes.
Serve with French beans, Sabzi and Pita bread (or white rice).
Enjoy and happy cooking!
Why salt the eggplants: Eggplants can be quite bitter, salting helps cut the bitterness (or rather helps to hide it). Furthermore, salting eggplants reduces the sponginess and leaves you with a more creamy and silky texture.
How and why do you need the oils to be separated in the curries; To have the oil separated in the curry, normally it takes 10 to 15 minutes of cooking time. You might need to add a little water at a time and let it cook until the extra water dries up. You will see “bubbles” appearing and the oil making a thin layer on top of your sauce/curry. The food will taste much better if spices and the curries are properly cooked.