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05 October 2014 @ 08:31 pm
Fifty Weeks, Fifty Curries: Week Four: Korma Pulao  
It wasn't until Japan that I tried biryani for the first time. I'm not sure I had even heard of it before until softlykarou and I were at an Indian restaurant that wasn't a buffet (most Indian restaurants in Japan aren't buffets, in contrast to America) and she ordered it, tried it, and then had me try a bit. That's when I suddenly became sad that I had just played it safe and gotten my usual keema curry.

Pulao isn't biryani, but they're similar enough that people make webpages about the differences, and the end product is broadly similar and it's the nearest thing I've had that I could point to. Though actually, that webpage makes it sound like there are some biryani aspects to this recipe...

Ingredients picture again! Look at all that onion, ginger, and garlic.

The first bite I took had a big helping of garlic in it, so it got off on the right foot immediately. Ginger and garlic in liberal amounts are a great way to get me to eat nearly anything, and this recipe had both. Further bites revealed a great mix of spices, garlic, beef (we used beef instead of lamb, as I've been discussing in my previous Fifty Weeks, Fifty Curries posts) , onions, and tomato, all blended together perfectly. It immediately drew me back to that biryani I had eaten back in Japan, and I devoured the whole thing in a few minutes and went back for seconds.

Not pictured--softlykarou having to chop four onions. Mostly because she said and used a blender.

Words from the Chef
Man I am tired. This curry required a lot of attention but I think that the flavors were better for it. I've learned, now that I'm not using a premade paste, that curries require a lot of time and patience to really let them shine. A lot of my curries taste better the second day because they just have more time. I started this curry doing something I'm familiar with, washing rice. Unlike on weeknights, I think I was more purposeful and attentive to detail. It took the onions a while to brown but I let them. I should have made more rice. I made the exact amount of rice but by the time I realized it wasn't going to be enough I was too far in. Next time more rice! Also putting under cooked rice in the oven was a leap of faith that paid off. I also think using beef for this was a smart choice. It called for boneless lamb so I made a call and went with beef. I'd certainly make this again but only on a day where I had a lot of time.

Just that already looks like it's great, and the rice hasn't been added yet.

As is typical, the recipe didn't include many vegetables. Well, I guess that's not true--there were actually a lot of vegetables, as the four onions should indicate. But there werent' many of the kind of vegetables that we think of as on-the-side-style vegetables, so softlykarou chopped up some raw carrots and cucumbers and put them in bowls. She thought for a bit about making something more elaborate, but since she had already been cooking for almost two hours at that point, she figured that raw vegetables were good enough. And yep. I ate a few of those, but mostly I was eating the curry.

Also, that bit in Words from the Chef about going in the oven? That's one of the characteristics that distinguishes a biryani from a pulao. If this was a biryani, no wonder I thought it was so amazing. That's 2/2, or 100% of biryanis I've tried that I thought were some of the best foods I've ever eaten.

Soooo good.

The prep time is the only thing that prevents me from suggesting we have this a lot more often. It's true that we have an enormous amount of leftovers and, to my surprise, I'm full after a relatively small amount of food--that picture there was how much softlykarou dished out to me, and unlike when we have fried rice and I go back for another bowl about as big, I grabbed only a little bit more. Maybe a third that size. For those of you who know just how much I usually have to eat in order to feel full, you know how much of a big deal that is. This curry had both an amazing flavor and filled me up without requiring a lot of it. I'm already looking forward to the giant bowl of leftovers we have in the fridge. I can only imagine how good it'll taste after it's been marinating in its own juices for a few days.

Would I Eat It Again?: Absolutely. In a heartbeat.
Do I Prefer It to the Usual Thai Curry?: Yes, I do. Considering how much I liked the biryani briefly had in Japan and how I fell in love with this one from the first bite, I'd be fine with eating this weekly from now on. This one has displaced Rogan Josh as the curry I'll compare future Fifty Weeks, Fifty Curries entries to.
What Would I Change?: Nothing. It was amazing.
Current Mood: satisfiedsatisfied
Current Music: The Incomparable podcast