Dodgy curries and saviour sabzis

March 31, 2008




1.jpgWe made a big family trip to my hubby’s granny’s place this weekend.

Flicking through her edition of “The Good Housewife’s Encyclopedia”, I stumbled upon a curry of chicken recipe. Cooked with curry powder (natch), Worcester sauce (odd) and condensed milk (plain weird).

Still, we’ve come a long way since 1963.

Back in the living room, his uncle offered us dinner. I make a great curry, he said. It comes out of a bottle, and then I add grapes and olives to it.

Sounds like a great recipe for my blog, I croaked. So much for progress.

After gran’s, the brothers came back to our place for the real thing. Except I had little other than a few carrots and potatoes, some goat meat and a sack of urad dal to work with.

I decided to make a sabzi. This is the catch all word used to describe both vegetables and vegetable dishes. Making “sabzi” gives you the perfect excuse to cobble together leftover vegetables in an impromptu dish. Also, you can tweak the basic curry with the addition of whole spices or green chillies.

The good housewife’s curry of vegetable. Without the dodgy ingredients.

Feeds 4:

  • 4 medium carrots
  • 1 medium potato
  • 2 large tomatoes
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 cloves garlic and half inch ginger, minced finely
  • 1 tsp whole cumin
  • 1 tsp coriander power
  • Half tsp turmeric powder
  • Half tsp chilli powder
  • Half tsp garam masala
  • 4-5 sprigs of fresh coriander
  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil
  • Salt to taste

Slice the onions finely, and dice the carrots and potatoes into equal bite-sized pieces. Chop the tomatoes roughly.
In a pan, bring the oil to heat. When it’s hot, add the cumin. As the cumin sizzles add the onion, garlic and ginger and fry for five minutes until pale golden brown.

Next, add the tomatoes and all the spices apart from the garam masala. Fry for another five minutes until the tomatoes have lost their shape.

Add in the diced potatoes and carrots , half a cup of water, cover and cook on a medium flame unti the whole lot is cooked. This takes about 15 -20 minutes. All you need to do from time to time, is check on the pan and give the veggies a stir to prevent them from sticking to the bottom of the pan.

Finally, mix in the garam masala and salt, sprinkle the fresh coriander and serve piping hot in a bowl.



13 Responses to “Dodgy curries and saviour sabzis”

  1. Ruth French Says:

    May 1st, 2011 at 4:54 pm

    Diana, I too have read Harvey Day’s Curry Book – I’ve owned his ‘The Complete Book of Curries’ for over thirty years and attribute everything I know to this amazing author. Because of him I’m a ‘curry cook expert’ and am a food journalist and critic. it is without doubt the definitive guide to Asian food per say and I feel so indebted to him….lovely drawings too!

  2. lee Says:

    August 10th, 2008 at 3:13 pm

    the above recipe is even nice with frozen peas added.yum

  3. notyet100 Says:

    May 3rd, 2008 at 6:13 am

    this post reminds me of my mother cooking

  4. arundati Says:

    May 3rd, 2008 at 12:33 am

    sounds so familiar!! i can make a living cooking from bits and pieces of stuff languishing in the fridge or the pantry!!

  5. Diane Drinkwater Says:

    April 15th, 2008 at 11:26 am

    I’ve got an amazing book from 1958 called “Second book of curries” by Harvey Day. He tells you how to make your own curry paste and powder and has some excellent recipes in. Tick-keeah kebab which is mutton, onion, tumeric, garlic, chillis, peppercorns, ground ginger, hot spices (garam masala), yoghurt and butter or gee and a tiny bit of salt. It reads much like a recipe you might find today. It’s just amazing to think it’s 50 years old. Harvey Day is assisted in his curry quest by Sarojini Mudnani and May Ewing. Fantastic recipe book!

  6. sia Says:

    April 2nd, 2008 at 7:56 am

    common mallika, why dont u cook and post recipes of curries cooked by good housewives ;)

  7. Wendy Says:

    April 2nd, 2008 at 12:56 am

    Grapes and olives? Interesting…
    I had a fish soup made with condensed milk once. It was odd, to say the least.

  8. kathryn Says:

    April 1st, 2008 at 8:25 pm

    Keen’s Curry Paste and Worcester Sauce were the key ingredients in all curries from my childhood. Although I don’t remember condensed milk . . . thankfully.

    And these curries were horrible, weird tasting. Meant I grew up thinking “I don’t like Indian food”. Until I was 20 and nagged by a friend of mine to go to a real Indian restaurant. And I haven’t looked back. I now realise exactly how much of an abomination those old fashioned curries were.

  9. LiberalFoodie Says:

    April 1st, 2008 at 6:36 pm

    what a mess! I’ve never ever heard of condensed milk in Indian cooking. You think that was their take on cream back in ’63? I am sure they are happy to have you in the family.

    Great picture

  10. Maninas Says:

    April 1st, 2008 at 3:22 pm

    i’m with nandita! what the f’s worchester sauce doing anywhere near condensed milk, not to mention putting that unholy combo into a curry? brrr gives me shivers!

    all this reminds me: I look forward to finding out what’s your favourite ingredient!

  11. Fun Says:

    April 1st, 2008 at 1:40 am

    In Singapore, you can still find recipes for curry on the back of Carnation milk, like this one for example:

    Weird, but true!

  12. Cindy Says:

    March 31st, 2008 at 10:39 pm

    Bottled curry sauce with grapes and OLIVES? Ew, that’s gotta be even worse than the recipe from ’63.

  13. Nandita Says:

    March 31st, 2008 at 10:01 pm

    The curry of 1963 is perfectly scary – condensed milk and worcester sauce – whatta combination!

    I prepare such subjis all the time with one lef over carrot, one potato, one gourd, onions and tomatoes and in a tiny pressure cooker, it takes all of 5 minutes :)

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