“What’s Cooking” – Curries

Do you know what you are going to cook when you come home from a 9-5 work? Feeling tired, and just want to sit and do nothing. Ever felt that way? Or do you plan what you are going to cook in advance? Buy what you need at the supermarket. Or do you buy the same thing over and over again each week in the weekend, to stock up your fridge and pantry? So please feel free to comment on your shopping and cooking pattern. Is it repetitious? Becoming a chaos,  boring at times and even stressful – having to push the trolley with one or two wheels that have their own minds, turning the opposite direction from where you want to go. Having to fight with other shoppers at the long queue, or sneaking to the fast lane pretending to have less than 12 items in your overflowed trolley. Life in a fast lane for weekend shoppers!

Our life today is so different from our parents’ time. My mum, as a full time mum and housewife, does her grocery each morning at a nearby wet market. She will only buy what she wants to cook for the day. Her estimates on the food and ingredient portions are so accurate that there is never anything leftover. She still does that today, her daily morning routine to the market. Chatting with the other housewives along the way and in the market. For me, it is different. I suppose it has to be different, as it is not practical to buy and cook each morning for lunch and dinner. I have a 9-5 job. Also there is no wet market within walking distance. I used to shop in the weekend and buy everything according to my grocery list. Stocked up the fridge and pantry for a week or two supply. My shopping behaviour has changed over time. I buy what I need to cook for the night. Sometime I know what I want. Most of the times I don’t. I look for produce that look fresh on that day and judge the price according to my budget. I will then buy the items, thinking how I should use them and what I should cook. I normally do my grocery at lunch time to step away from work. I suppose it is healthy, just to get out and have a breather from work, not think and not worry. It is quieter to shop on weekday and during office hour lunch time.

Early in the week, I went to the supermarket and bought some chuck beef, lamb shanks, chicken thigh fillets, some red onions, purple garlic, potatoes, carrots, coriander, basil. I decided to use my beef and lamb for curry dishes, leaving my chicken thigh for something else. I was only in the mood of cooking two dishes and to make them in advance for the following night’s dinner. Curry tastes better after the next day. I have also decided that I will use ready made paste and ground powders, rather than creating my own fresh curry pastes (which takes time – usually reserve for weekend cooking when I have more time and feeling less tired).

So for my lamb shank curry, I mixed some dried spices with ground powders and slow cooked for a few hours. Cooled down, then stored in the fridge overnight.

DSC01365Ingredients

Lamb Shanks

3 cloves garlic

1 red onion

2 tablespoon curry powder

1 tablespoon chili powder

1/2 tablespoon cumin powder

1/2 tablespoon garam masala

3 star anise

1 cinnamon stick

4 cloves

10 cardamom pods

1 sprig curry leaves

1 can coconut milk

Preparation

1. Chopped garlic finely. Set aside.

2. Sliced onion. Set aside.

3. Mix the ground powders together. Set aside.

Cooking

1. Heat some oil in a wok. Add the dry spices (cloves, star anise, cinnamon, cardamom). Lightly fry until fragrant.

2. Add garlic and onion. Continue stir fry until garlic and onion are almost cook.

3. Add the ground powder mix slowly. Continue to fry until all spices are mixed thoroughly. You can smell the beautiful spiced aroma now. Do not burnt the paste. Add a bit of water at a time if the paste is drying up.

4. Add some water or chicken stock, and the curry leaves. Then add lamb shanks. Turn the heat down and slow cook for a few hours.

5. Refrigerate overnight once the curry cools down.

6. Next day. Reheat slowly. Add a can of coconut milk and continue to simmer. Serve with rice. Dress rice with lots of curry gravy.

My second curry dish, which is the beef curry, is simple. You don’t have to be a cook to cook this dish, because I simply use a good curry paste – Alagappa Powder (as previously suggested by “Sydney Queen” in this post. You will also find the link to the supplier website) and serve the dish with some Roti (Spring Home Brand).

DSC01358

DSC01363

Ingredients

Chuck Beef

Potato

Cherry tomatoes

1 packet Alagappa Beef Rendang curry paste

1 red onion

3 cloves garlic

Beef stock

Preparation

1. Cut beef into big dices. Set aside.

2. Cut potato into bite pieces. Set aside.

3. Chopped garlic finely. Set aside.

4. Sliced onion. Set aside.

Cooking

1. Heat some oil in a wok. Add garlic and onion. Fry until fragrant.

2. Add curry paste. Continue to stir fry until fragrant. Add a bit of water if paste is drying up.

3. Add beef and stir fry. Mix thoroughly well. Coat beef in the paste.

4. Add some beef stock. Let simmer for a few hours.

5. Add potatoes. Continue to simmer curry until potatoes are cooked.

6. Add tomatoes, some salt and sugar to taste.

Serve the curry with a couple of pan fried Roti!

Hey! What about the other ingredients that I bought as mentioned above? I already have them in mind. I have sliced up my chicken thigh fillets into bite pieces, and marinate in light soy, sesame oil, salt and pepper. Set aside and refrigerate. I plan to make two dishes out of the 1/2 kg chicken pieces – a Chili Basil Chicken, and a Chinese Style Chicken Stir Fry.

Enjoy your meals!

8 responses to ““What’s Cooking” – Curries

  1. Yum Victor! Those curries all look so good! Where can you buy the roti from? I love them – perfect for mopping up a curry….

    • Thanks, Michelle. You can buy them at Chinese Emporium in Moonah. Roti Paratha – Family Pack, in the refrigerator section. Enough to feed your family.

  2. Wow Victor. Mouth watering curries. I agree about the roti. Thanks for the tip.

  3. Hi Victor,

    I like to buy my vegetables every day. For many years I lived down the street from a Chinese grocer, situated in a tiny shopping complex. On my way home from work I would think about what I would be cooking for dinner. Then I would get off the bus and go into the Chinese grocery to buy whatever I needed. The vegetables there were always very fresh, especially the bok choy and the bean shoots, which need of course to be very very fresh. If something I needed wasn’t there, or if I wasn’t going to be cooking something Asian for dinner, I would go into the IGA or the grocery store (in the same complex) to buy those other things.

    I used to go to the markets every Saturday or Sunday to stock up on fresh veggies for the week, but I found this was too risky – what if I changed my mind on what I wanted to make during the week? Easier instead to buy on the way home.

    Here in our new place in Melbourne, we live across the road from a grocer, and there is an IGA a few tram stops away. So it is easy to get off the tram early to buy things I might need. If I need Chinese groceries I have to think in advance, and buy those on the weekend from shops further away.

    And that is my shopping for meals strategy! This way there is less wastage.

    • Hi Steph – that is smart shopping. At the same time, tastes good especially for veg produce. It is great to live so close to an Asian grocer with fresh produce. Whenever I visit Melb, I go to Victoria St in Richmond. I enjoy browsing the Asian supermarkets there and have a good Vietnamese-Chinese food. Yum!

  4. Yum! I’ve been on the curry bandwagon for a while now. How much curry is too much curry?

    • Hi Maggie – it is never too much for me. Tee Hee. Guess it has to do with growing up in Penang.

      Glad to know you are a big fan of Noodle and Tea.

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