Dodgy curries and saviour sabzis

Mallika Basu - Dodgy curries and saviour sabzis

Posted 31st March 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. Nandita says:

    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 🙂

  2. Cindy says:

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

  3. Fun says:

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

    Weird, but true!

  4. Maninas says:

    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!

  5. 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

  6. kathryn says:

    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.

  7. Wendy says:

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

  8. sia says:

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

  9. 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!

  10. arundati says:

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

  11. notyet100 says:

    this post reminds me of my mother cooking

  12. lee says:

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

  13. Ruth French says:

    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!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *