At the post office I go to, there’s a native of India that I’ve badgered for years to give me her secret family curry recipe. Finally, at last, she has relented. This is her great-grandmother’s recipe, handed down and guarded jealously. And now, I’m going to post it on the intertubes for the world. Because I tried it. And it’s so fricking amazingly good it makes me want to cry.
I’m making it again tonight, vegan-style (fake yogurt, fake chicken), ladled over steaming, fake-buttered zucchini or cauliflower. And that is the finest argument for some sort of universal spiritual content I have ever experienced. OMG, the Secret Curry Recipe. So good.
OMG The Secret Curry
2 potatoes (I omit this)
1 1/2 cup peas
1 tomato (I use three)
1 inch ginger
2 green chili peppers (I used serranos, but the traditional pepper is the Bhut Jolokia, the hottest pepper in the world)
1/2 tsp chili powder (to taste)
1/2 tsp salt (to taste)
1/4 tsp turmeric
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 1/2 tsp oil (I used canola)
1 tsp garam masala (I found this at Safeway in the spice section, can be made from scratch, see the first comment)
1 cup water
1/2 cup plain yogurt
Peel and cube the potatoes. Grind onion and ginger to paste. (I used a Cuisinart). Heat the oil and fry the paste to a golden brown. Add all spices, green chilies, tomatoes, and fry briefly. Add yogurt and cook until oil separates. Add peas and potatoes, fry for 5 minutes. Add water and cook for 20 to 25 minutes on medium heat. Garnish with fresh cilantro.
Veganizer: All organic produce, and soy yogurt from the co-op. I fry up pieces of fake chicken in the oil before I add the paste. I omit the potatoes (low fiber), add tomatoes (as fresh as possible), and I add chili powder and chili peppers, because I like the spicy, man.
When I make this recipe, it takes me back to a scene in my life: Lying on the fifth bunk up in the cattle hold of the Kampala, heading for Bombay from Mombassa. Everyone was cooking on small stoves down in this barely-ventilated hold, and the smell of super-hot curry infused every cell in my body. There were perhaps four hundred of us down there, men from every corner of the Earth, but mostly Indians, Africans, Sri Lankans, Arabs, and Afghanis. This recipe is very close to what they were making; I can tell because the cooking smell makes me see their faces.
I asked my father about the thin cable holding up the massive doors that would swing down to seal the hold, and he told me that if the ship were sinking, those doors would slam tight and lock us all in. (That’s my pa!) So at night, I would lay there, hoping the ship wouldn’t start taking on water so that they would seal us all in together to share a watery fate at the bottom of the Indian Ocean. The old guy in the Arabic clothing and the turban residing across the aisle from me, up in the rarified air of the fifth bunk, maybe twenty feet feet up, appeared to be as nervous as I was about it. When we were lining up to leave the ship, we smiled at each other.
OMG. The Secret Curry. It’s so beautiful.
PS: If anyone has a favorite curry recipe, please post it here. I’m collecting. This is the thread for all Glorious OMG Curries.