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24 May 2015 @ 08:41 pm
Fifty Weeks, Fifty Curries: Week Thirty-Three: Ras Chawal  
We're back! It's not that we didn't have curry last week, it's just that since we were coming back from ACEN we decided that making a new curry from the book would be too much trouble, especially since I'd have to write up the entry. And then I ended up writing thousands of words anyway between my review of Super Metroid and my writeup of the convention, so maybe it was a ill-advised decision. But on the other hand, that Thai curry we had was amazing after a weekend of mostly homemade beef jerky, almonds, olives, and pita bread.

Not that there's anything wrong with beef jerky, almonds, olives and pita bread, you understand. They were really good too. But I spent most of Saturday salivating for a salad, and when we went to the hotel restaurant that night I loaded my plate down with lettuce, mushrooms, and, in an uncharacteristic move for me, artichoke hearts. I definitely miss vegetables when they're gone, which is why I ding so many of these curries for not including them beyond the standard onions and maybe tomatoes.


We had to go buy lime juice for this one.

This is the first seafood curry we've had where we weren't substituting the cod in for something else. 50 Great Curries of India just recommends using "fish," and considering how well the cod we get goes into these curries, we decided to keep using it. And it was good here too, but there just something missing.

Back when we tried aachar gosht, I wrote a paean to cilantro and how much I love it in basically everything. It makes me wonder if there's a third setting to that genetic test, where there's people who think it tastes like soap, people who can eat it, and people who love it and want it included in everything, which is the category I fall into. And though there was plenty of cilantro here and it did help, the main problem is that the curry didn't really blend. I could taste the cod, I could taste the onion, I could taste the cilantro, and I could taste the coconut, but it never really came together. It was a bit like if I just had a few bowls of ingredients in front of me and shoved spoonfuls of each of them in my mouth and ate. It can work, but it's never as good as if they're been cooked together so the flavors can blend.


All that cilantro and it didn't help that much.

Words from the Chef
Finally, a seafood curry where I wasn't substituting the seafood. I also appreciated that I didn't have to de-leaf all of the cilantro. There's something freeing about grabbing a ton of cilantro and just throwing it into the food processor. The food processor saw a lot of action with this curry and it held up well. I still think getting a good blender may be in our future because I think it would have resolved one of dorchadas's issues with curries that involve lots of blended ingredients. The flavors might not fully combine because, though our food processor works, it doesn't get the puree that I believe these dishes call for. However, I liked this curry. I've grown to appreciate how the dishes get less time intensive as we move through the book. This one hand some of the more intensive prep of earlier dishes but came together quickly. I liked cooking it and I wouldn't be opposed to making it again.

I did notice that I do flinch now every time I chop an onion. I think I need therapy after the nine onion curry.



This looks like some kind of half-made Superbowl dip.

On the other hand, maybe it's supposed to be separate. 50 Great Curries of India says that ras chawal is "quite mild with a nice herbal taste," which is a more positive way to describe it than the way I picked. It also says that it works well with chicken, and I think that cooked that way, I might like it better. The cod is really good about taking on the flavor of whatever it's cooked with, but when the flavors don't combine that doesn't happen. We actually have some slow cooked chicken thighs sitting around, so maybe I'll try adding those to the curry and see if that improves it for me. It obviously won't be the same as if we had just cooked them together in the first place, but it can't hurt.

Or maybe it's the grated coconut instead of using coconut milk. The recipe mentions that you can sustitute them, adding a cup and a half of mixed coconut milk and water instead of a half-cup of shredded coconut. In that case, the flavors might have had more time to mix while the water was boiling down, so maybe that's the missing link. And I'm not going to say no to anything that uses more coconut milk.  photo emot-qfg.gif


Saffron rice on the right. The small plate is for the cheese.

This is another curry brought down not by any major flaw, but just my its mediocrity. It's okay. And maybe if I grew up on a diet of those bizarre 1950s meals that all the clickbait websites keep posting about it would be enough of a change that I'd love it, but that is not what I eat and comparing it even to several of the other curries on this list--to say nothing of all the food I don't write blog posts about--it doesn't meet the grade. There's nothing wrong with it, but one thing you learn in life is that "there's nothing wrong with it" often isn't good enough. Shrug photo shrug001.gif

Would I Eat It Again?: Sure, I guess.
Do I Prefer It to the Usual Thai Curry?: Nah.
What Would I Change?: Maybe slow cook it? Maybe use coconut milk instead of shredded coconut? Use chicken instead of fish? Who knows.
 
 
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Ashley <3ashiri_chan on May 25th, 2015 02:18 am (UTC)
unf cilantro tho
dorchadas: Death Gothdorchadas on May 25th, 2015 04:02 pm (UTC)
It was really good in aachar gosht! It just didn't help here.  photo emot-psyduck.gif