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19 April 2015 @ 07:55 pm
Fifty Weeks, Fifty Curries: Week Twenty-Nine: Parsee Red Chicken Curry  
I'm a little nervous writing this review, because after the debacle that was last week's curry I was definitely primed to love this week's curry almost no matter what it was. Fortunately--spoiler alert--it turned out to be pretty good on its own merits, because I'm not sure I could have taken it if it had been another terrible pile of slop.

I do have one bit of disappointment that I should get out of the way early, though. The title up there says "red chicken curry," but I must unfortunately inform you all that this week's curry isn't red. 50 Great Curries of India says that, "The secret of the red color is use good quality dried Kashmiri-style chilis," and while I suspect we might have been able to find them up on Devon, it would have been a random search and we weren't willing to go to all that trouble just to find a single ingredient. We used a bunch of chilis from Golden Pacific and it all turned out pretty well, other than the curry having that kind of golden generic curry color that most of the curries we make have. But as softlykarou will tell you, I usually don't care at all about presentation.

Only one onion! And softlykarou only used half of it!

I know right away that the main reason I liked this curry was because of the spice. It had the same problems that so many of the boring curries in previous weeks had, where there were basically no ingredients other than meat and minimal sauce, but the heat hit my mouth right away when I took a bite and I had to dig in to the raita that softlykarou had made. Once I took a few more bites I got used to it, and while the sparse nature of the curry did hit my awareness I think I'm still traumatized by chicken dopiaza because I honestly didn't care. I devoured the curry, ate the rest of the meat on the chicken thigh, ate the rest of softlykarou's sauce, and then I was content. What a change from last week. All is right with dinner.

Here's the sauce basics before the coconut milk. There's onion in there, but not much. Good.  photo emot-commissar.gif

Words from the Chef
There's something nice about going in with lowered expectations. I didn't feel too much pressure because it would be fairly hard for my curry to be worse than last week. I was pleased to see that I only needed 3/4 of a cup of onions which was signficantly less chopping. This curry had a lot of chilies which gave it some nice heat. I wish I had access to kashmiri chilies which would have given this curry the rich color pictured in the book. I also wish my food processor was better, the spice paste would have been finer. Ah well, it was a good low maintence curry. I'd make it again, it's just easy.

It looks a lot like Panang curry in this picture.

If I have an objection to Parsee red chicken curry, it's that it's basically the same as Thai curry but not as good. Where the Thai curry we make has a distinctive taste and is loaded with whatever vegetables we happen to have on us, this curry was just the chicken and the sauce. I think if last week hadn't been so awful I would have been quite a bit more lukewarm this week. On the other hand, I don't have any particular complaints. I would have eaten everything in front of me regardless, and this week did have some bite to it, which is actually not as common in the recipes here as I thought. I'm not going to go back and actually check my past entries, but it seems like maybe one-third of the curries we've eaten are what I would describe as spicy. And of those, only a couple approach the level of this one or Goa lamb vindaloo. Unfortunately, that level is probably my favorite place to set the spice, and while most curries don't meet that standard, this one did. So a bit on both ends of the scale, though really the impression I'm left with is that we should just make Thai curry. It's just as easy and it's tastier.

Homemade raita in the upper right!

The raita actually might be my favorite part of the meal, and I'm glad I decided to get that huge tub of full-fat Greek yogurt so we had enough for softlykarou to make it. I'll have to remember that in future weeks, especially if we have a curry that's supposed to be spicier.

Would I Eat It Again?: Sure, but see below.
Do I Prefer It to the Usual Thai Curry?: No. As stated, it's pretty similar to Thai curry, but with a less-robust taste and without any extra vegetables.
What Would I Change?: Add some veggies and see if it makes a difference.
Current Mood: happyhappy
Current Music: Abject Suffering podcast