Today's recipes are: Potato Curry Soup; and Compressed Ginger Rice
As promised yesterday, here are more of my curry recipes. Today you get the Potato Curry Soup recipe and then the Compressed Ginger Rice recipe. You can serve both of them on any occasion – they don’t have to be part of an Indian evening. The soup is velvety smooth and delicately spiced – everyone asked for the recipe – and the Ginger rice is great because you can prepare it ahead of time and warm it in the oven at your leisure. But first the stories…
You would think that I would run out of funny (well hopefully!) things to say about curry, but no such luck. I always have something to say. I remember going to an Indian Restaurant in Port Elizabeth (a city(ette) in the Eastern Cape of South Africa where I was born) and ordering a hot curry. When it arrived I passed a small comment that it wasn’t really that hot, so the waiter took it away…and what he brought back changed my intestines for life.
HINT: Never complain that your curry is not hot enough.
INTERESTING FACT: Did you know that you have sweat glands on your eyelids?
I think that my body had run out options as to where to release the (massive amounts of) sweat that was pouring off me.
The next day while in the WC, I prayed that the ice-cream would come first…
And from that overload of information, let us swiftly move on to more important topics. Like the fact that we were invited to 5 different events on one day in June. (NOTE: I am just trying to show you how popular I am, and thought I would just make sure you had noticed this or otherwise you could just read this note and then you would definitely know that I am very popular…and mad.)
As hard as I tried, I only managed to make 2 ½ of them. The ½ comes from the fact that we wanted to visit a Permaculture (blog to follow) farm, and drove around in the baking heat for an hour, but couldn’t find it, damnit. But we have since, by chance, met them and now they are now too, not safe from (un)welcome visits from us!
One of the engagements I was able to attend was the Vernissage (private viewing of an exposition, but you knew that!) of a famous friend of ours. Yes, you read right, famous. Guy Reid is a famous artist / sculptor and sells his magnificent work in galleries in Paris and New York (www.guyreidsculpture.com). I immediately gain on importance by just knowing such talented people. (I was going to highlight talented too, but the paragraph is getting a little bold.) He and another artist, Allyson Clay, (who is now also my friend) had an exhibition in an old sanatorium which was incredibly beautiful and a perfect place to display such lovely works of art.
The building, La Maison Patrimonial de Barthete Boussan, hosts a museum of local tiles and pottery (amongst other things), and allows artists to display their works. Guy does the most exquisite wooden relief’s and sculptures – the detail is incredible. Here are a couple of photos I took there, but my camera skills do not do justice to his beautiful work. I have put in one where you can see the detail of the man and the next to show you how small he is and so how hard it must be to get in all that detail.
This is a photo of a sculpture of Guy (on the left) and Andrew, his partner. It is my absolute favorite – I love the green Wellies! And this is followed by Inge, the German (or is she Dutch?) lady in the other photo.
And so now you want to know what this has to do with curry? Well, duh, Andrew makes an awesome curry, so that’s why they are featured in today’s blog. We were invited there for supper last winter along with Alex and Margot (also famous, but that is for another blog) and my beloved, Chris. Chris and his lovely wife, Karen, have unfortunately decided to leave the French countryside and move back to London and valet parking, multiple restaurants on every corner, cleaning staff…I have to stop now as I have to pack my bags and go to London. But again, they’ll be in another blog, so stop asking!!
And to get back to my point, Andrew made this amazing chicken curry with Fenugreek, Fennel, Nigella onion seeds, Mustard seeds and Cumin seeds. He served it with Lime Pickle and Brinjal Pickle, both of which I adore. We also had a Butternut Carrot Soup for starters and Alex made an Apple pie for dessert. As always, I had to be rolled out of the house and into the car – I have to have seconds as otherwise the host thinks you didn’t like it…
But we have come to the part where: “Und das ist der Moment indem der Elefant sein Wasser laesst” or in English “And this is the moment where the elephant releases his water (or pees)”. This is part of my series of non-translatable German sayings that I translate into English. Oh yes, and some of them my husband invents, so don’t quote me on some of these. It basically means this is the moment of truth or in my case, the highlight of this piece, and that constitutes the recipes. Make and enjoy!!
POTATO CURRY SOUP
1 tbsp oil
4 onions, chopped
Spice packet: 1 cinnamon stick
1 tsp peppercorns
1 tsp cloves
8 cardamom pods
1 tsp coriander seeds
12 big potatoes, roughly diced
2 liters / 8 cups chicken stock
1 tsp turmeric
Salt and pepper (Use salt sparingly as stock is generally salty)
½ - 1 tin coconut milk
½ tsp nutmeg
Juice of ½ a lemon
Cilantro, chopped, to serve
1. Sauté the onion in the oil for a few minutes. Combine the whole spices securely in a piece of muslin cloth and beat the parcel a couple of times to crush lightly. (Use a rolling pin or whatever you have on hand.) Add to the onion for a minute or two.
2. Add the potatoes, stock, turmeric, salt and pepper, bring to the boil and then simmer till the potatoes are done, about 20 minutes. Remove the spice packet.
3. Add the coconut milk, nutmeg and lemon juice. Puree the soup – I use my hand mixer, but you can use a food processor if you prefer, but just be careful of the hot liquid. You can also add some coriander to the soup before you puree if you like. Gently heat the soup and serve sprinkled with chopped coriander.
This soup is excellent and everybody loved it. There was enough for everyone to have a biggish bowl, but I think most people would have had another as it was sooo good. Next time I’m doubling the quantities.
COMPRESSED GINGER RICE
4 cups basmati rice or short grain rice
8 cups / 2 liters chicken or vegetable stock
2 tbsp grated fresh ginger
1. Wash the rice a couple of times till the water is no longer milky. Add the rice, stock and ginger to a pan, bring to a boil, then simmer till all the water has been absorbed, about 20 – 30 minutes. Or use a rice cooker as per its instructions.
2. Spoon the rice into two greased tins of about 16x26cm, cover with a piece of greased tinfoil and put a heavy weight on top (I used a 6 pack of milk, but you can use books or tins). Leave for several hours or overnight. (I pressed it all into one container and it was too much – the bottom of the rice was not compressed enough and I had to cut it off. Rather use two containers to get a good compression.)
3. Cut the rice into 5cm squares or rectangles with a wet knife. Keep a cup next to you so that you can keep dipping the knife. Place the rice onto a heatproof dish, cover (important as otherwise the tops dry out – ask me, I have experience here!) and reheat in a moderate oven for about 20 minutes or until heated through.
This is a great dish as you can prepare it in advance and it looks lovely on the plate and as part of a buffet.