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Shrimp and Curry Soup

shrimp and curry soup

Shrimp and curry soup is something that originally came from a New England and Soup Factory Cookbook, something I used for more than a number of good soups. And after trying it a few times and making some adjustments, it turned out to be as good a shrimp soup as I’ve ever tried. And while I tend to keep my own home made curry around, it works just as well with good ol’ curry powder from the grocery store. The main thing is to try the curry, adding more or less to suit your taste.

The secret here, by the way, is not the shrimp or the curry, but the wonderful way the soup uses okra, which adds color and otherwise just brightens up the whole soup. It’s amazing and really represents something new (for me) in a soup. Don’t even try making this without the okra.

Otherwise, while it looks like there is a lot going on here, there really isn’t much going on that you wouldn’t find in almost any good soup. 

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Intriguing Chicken Curry

Chicken Curry

Chicken curry is something we have a fair amount of time here at Discovery Cooking. But most of the time, I use a pretty standard kind of recipe that follows what I suspect a curried chicken probably should tend to be. This recipe is something a bit different and very, very interesting.

First of all, this chicken uses a coating of ground peanuts and a rather large portion of orange marmalade to give it a very nice crusty character that, honestly, is what makes this dish. I started out using a couple of teaspoons of curry powder, but you can feel free to get a little more or less curry to fit your taste. I also tended to increase the tarragon, a bit, because, well, I just  like it.

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Thai-Style Fish Curry

Thai Fish Curry

Like many recipes here at Discovery Cooking, it’s the result of mashing together several recipes from books and web sites, each of which had something I liked, but didn’t quite suit me, or had ingredients I couldn’t readily find. The goal was to come as close as possible to something I’ve had many times at my favorite Thai restaurant. Once in a while, this approach leads to unmitigated disasters and a quick trip to a local carryout. Not this time.

The prep for the recipe was quick and the actual cooking time was perhaps 20 minutes, so it also is great for a quick weeknight meal. 

The only essential and perhaps difficult to find ingredient is the kaffir lime leaves. If you can get to an Asian grocery, they’re easy to obtain and increasingly they’re showing up in the spice sections of decent-size grocery stores. If you can get them fresh and you like more heat in the dish, one or two Thai chilies can be thinly sliced and added when you’re cooking the onions and bell pepper.

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Thai Massaman Curry with Lamb

Thai Massaman Curry with Lamb

Food with a history and a cultural context is fun, all the more so when the underlying principles in making a dish give you a bit of flexibility, so you can make it your own. Massaman curry is one of those special dishes. It fills the kitchen with fantastic aromas, has layers and layers of flavor and, of course, a story.

The name is most likely a corruption of the term Muslim, which makes sense since it is likely this dish came to Thailand along with some of the spices involved, which aren’t native to the country but likely were brought by traders from Malaysia or Indonesia. Along with these imports — cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, star anise, cumin, bay leaves, nutmeg, etc. — local ingredients, including lemon grass, Thai chilis, cilantro, shrimp paste, fish sauce, etc. were added. It’s unique and renowned. In fact, Wikipedia notes that two different CNN polls ranked it among the top 10 among “The World’s 50 Most Delicious Foods.”

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Green Curry Shrimp

green curry shrimp

I’m slowly but surely learning to love curry. It’s taken a while, in part because I spent my palate-shaping years in a part of the country where the flavors of Eastern Europe and Italy were dominant and where most of my meals were based on readily available ingredients and the cooking repertoire was pretty limited. My early aversion to curry was then made worse by a bad experience, when a business colleague in Singapore insisted on taking me to what may be the only really bad Indian restaurant in that entire tiny country. I’ve since learned that a good curry is nothing short of fantastic, and in the past year or so have developed several recipes — with help from some good cookbooks and talks with chefs and line cooks at some very good restaurants here in the DC area. Green curry shrimp is the latest of these.

Green curry is native to the inland, central parts of Thailand where it is more likely to be combined with river fish and vegetables than prawns. But substituting shrimp for the usual fish yields something that has a special flavor and texture that really works well.

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Kashmiri Chicken Curry with Cashews and Raisins

chicken curry

It’s great to live in a very international city, if only because you’re apt to meet and make friends with people from half-way around the world — and their favorite food. This Kashmiri chicken curry developed out of just such a friendship.

For the better part of a summer not long ago, I worked with, and occasionally grabbed a meal with this friend, whose family came from northwest India by way of Georgia. Go figure. He introduced me to Kashmiri curry at one of these lunches, and I’ve been working to duplicate that flavor ever since.

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Easy Lamb Curry

lamb-curry

Sometimes, for me, nothing will do but curry. There is just something about curry that satisfies on a brisk day, or in the dead of winter. It kinda warms from the inside, I guess. Lamb curry is one of my favorites.

despite the fact that I like curry a lot, I made my first one only a short while ago. This most likely stems from an attempt many years ago, which ended in a disaster and ruined some cookware. Don’t ask.

This version is pretty basic. It’s not terribly hot, so if you like to melt your taste buds, serve with some hot sauce on the side. For my purposes, it’s a very good starting point, however. I’ll come back to this when I have the opportunity to extend it in new ways. It’s really something that can be built upon, I think.

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