Last night I was lucky enough to visit with my friend Mariane, her daughter Kaenaat and her mom on the first breaking of the fast for Ramadan. We ate aubergine and potato pakora, lamb and cauliflower curry and chicken and turnip curry with roti and rice and it was amazing - thanks to Mariane and her mom! It was actually a bit of a taste of home for me. Mariane and I lived together for some of our time at university (well, strictly speaking I stayed with her for part of the week as it was a terrible commute), and she is responsible I think for my curiosity about food.
Last night, as we waited for the time to come to break the fast, Mariane came into the lounge and ordered me to drive her to the shops to buy an aubergine - and we ended up at Food World on Washwood Heath Road. I wish we had that much of a selection of vegetables and spices nearer to our flat! Anyway, she showed me some different seasoning blends that I have not used before, and I also picked up some methi (which I have also never used before), and tonight I endeavoured to make a keema curry with peas (which she used to make when we were at uni together) and aloo methi, a variation on aloo sag, which I do sometimes make.
Here are the seasoning mixes I used, and this is how to do it. These were very cheap - £1 for both boxes, and each box is one use, just one package of seasoning.
For the keema curry:
1 pack lean beef mince
1 large onion
3-4 green finger chilis
3 fat cloves garlic
1 pack of seasoning, mixed into a paste with 3tbsp water
For the potato and methi curry:
Potatoes, boiled, cooled and cubed
2 big bunches methi, washed, shaken dry, and I removed the big stalks. Or just use spinach!
1 big onion
3 cloves garlic
2-3 finger chilis (I had a big bag of finger chilis!)
1 can tomatoes
a courgette, diced small
a red bell pepper, diced small
1 pack of seasoning as shown
I served this with brown rice and cottage cheese - plain yogurt would have been better but we didn't have any ;)
So, for the keema: just brown the mince, adding the onion, garlic and chili and allowing to soften. Mix the seasoning with some water, add and allow to cook through and dry up - it shouldn't be liquidy. Finally, when you're nearly ready to serve, add frozen peas and allow them to steam through. Easy!
The potato and methi curry is also easy. Do your potatoes first, just boil and then remove from the pan, allow to cool and dice. Meanwhile, just make a veg curry - soften the onion, garlic, chili and ginger until golden and slippery, then add the courgette and pepper, tomato and seasoning. Pop the lid on and let it all cook through. When you're ready, add the potatoes and the prepared methi (or spinach - it behaves very similarly, you just want it to wilt down) to the pan and allow it all to heat through.