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11 January 2015 @ 09:41 pm
Fifty Weeks, Fifty Curries: Week Seventeen: Lamb Curry (Madras Style)  
We're already changing things because we found that we had some spare short ribs in the back of the freezer and used those instead.  photo emot-ohdear.png

At least in first appearance, this is one of the more appealing curries we've made for me because it looked so much like the Thai curry that was our staple at curry nights for nearly three years before we started this project. The photo in the recipe book is bit thicker, but that might just be the skin forming on the sauce due to the hot lights and the fact that this recipe uses coconut milk, which is obviously another reason that it reminded me of Thai curry. The recipe called for softlykarou to make the coconut milk herself by breaking down a coconut and processing it in a blender, but since we have an Asian grocery store not that far away, she figured that would be too much work for too little end reward and just bought coconut milk. And since we had eaten that coconut milk for years and it was great, she figured it would taste fine.

Nice slab of short ribs right in the middle.

At first, I wasn't quite sure that she was right. The first bite I took of the curry was really kind of bland with a very spicy taste, and I almost mentioned something. But I decided to see if it was similar to Andhra-style mutton curry where the first bite wasn't representative of the whole thing, and it turned out that was kind of right. It's not that the first bite gave me an incorrect picture of the curry's taste--it's that the taste is a product of multiple bites. The spice lingered as I took more and more bites, and after a bit it lingered as a pleasant heat in my mouth that made further bites much less bland than the first.

It still wasn't great, but it wasn't the disappointment I was initially expecting.

softlykarou said that her nose burned a little when she smelled the spice mix, which is the mark of properly-done spices.

Words from the Chef
I learned my lesson from the last "make your own coconut milk" curry recipe and just bought a can this time. I know it's cheating but what can I say? I'm super lazy! The spice paste was interesting, I was initially going to grind it by hand but decided that was too much work and and again took the lazy way and used the food processor. Other than letting onions brown, as I tend to want to constantly stir and mess with them, letting the spices cook with the onions for 15 minutes was really hard. A big lesson from curries has been "just leave them alone!" Other than that this curry didn't stand out too much to me. I did like that the spice level built as we ate it. It was a relatively simple curry to put together without a lot of time.

Pre-adding the sauce. Basically just meat, tomatos, onions, and spices.

I also have to admit that I think I didn't give it a very fair chance, since I'm coming at it under unusual conditions. softlykarou and I went to brunch at Andies so I stuffed myself full of gyro meat and hummus and feta cheese and falafel and asparagus and baklava and even by the time dinner rolled around, I really wasn't that hungry and didn't want any side dishes. I almost wouldn't have wanted curry night at all except that Sundays are much more convenient. Now that I think about it, I might be short-changing the curry by not having it with any accompaniment. Maybe when I have the leftovers later in the week, I'll try it with some of the saffron rice we got at the Middle Eastern grocery store. And maybe a green vegetable on the side. Something cruciferous.  photo emot-hist101.gif

No side dishes at all this time after that lunch. Just curry and water--which, admittedly, I could live on for the rest of my life and be happy.

Maybe it's just that all the ingredient complexity went into the spice mixture. Our Thai curry recipe was usually just "what vegetables do we have lying around? Throw a ton of them in a wok, it'll be great," so I'm used to a great vegetable medley along with that coconut-based sauce and only having tomatos and onions to go along with it...maybe that's what led to the blandness? That might be why a lot of curries here draw relatively lukewarm responses from me, actually. Though chicken tikka masala doesn't have any vegetables and I love it, so who knows?

Would I Eat It Again?: I don't think so. Even though it got better toward the end, it still wasn't very flavorful.
Do I Prefer It to the Usual Thai Curry?: It's kind of like a blander version of Thai curry, so no.
What Would I Change?: Add a little something more, or some side dishes. Right now, the spice is all it has going for it.
Current Mood: blahblah
Current Music: The Legacy Music Hour Podcast
Joelkraada on January 12th, 2015 01:18 pm (UTC)
I realized I should let you know that I'm loving these reviews so much, I bought my wife a copy of the recipe book you're following.
dorchadas: Teh sexdorchadas on January 13th, 2015 12:13 am (UTC)
Hooray!  photo Emot-neckbeard.gif

I'd love it if you left your own impressions on my posts when you try the recipes yourself.
Joelkraada on January 13th, 2015 12:39 pm (UTC)
Sure! I'm hoping we'll get started sometime next week :)
Ashley <3ashiri_chan on January 13th, 2015 11:21 pm (UTC)
I've also read every single one of these. Mostly I just want to eat them all. It's like watching shows on the food network.
dorchadasdorchadas on January 14th, 2015 01:27 am (UTC)
Even the ones I don't like?  photo emot-objection.gif

You should get the book and try to make them! I know you're not the biggest fan of cooking, but some of them are really easy and really tasty!
Ashley <3ashiri_chan on January 14th, 2015 01:31 am (UTC)
I don't think you've really straight up hated any of them, so yes. I'll try just about anything, okay.

Easy for me versus easy for Rachel are probably two different things. Do you think any of them could be done in a crock pot/slow cooker?
dorchadas: Zombies together!dorchadas on January 14th, 2015 02:17 am (UTC)
Well, we are talking about curry. It's my favorite food in the world. It'd take a lot for me to refuse to eat it. I even finished off the seyal gosht.

One of the things my wife has mentioned is that some of them would probably be better in a slow cooker, since they have longer cooking times that are mostly just simmering. As she's done all the actual cooking, though, I'd recommend asking her for the most slow-cooker-friendly ones.  photo emot-chio.gif
Ashley <3ashiri_chan on January 14th, 2015 05:13 pm (UTC)
Okay, I'll do that. I'm kind of slow cooker obsessed. So easy to toss everything in while the kids nap and then have food ready later. Trying to cook right before dinner time is impossible.