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Matts (1087)

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I work for MessageLabs [] in Toronto, ON, Canada. I write spam filters, MTA software, high performance network software, string matching algorithms, and other cool stuff mostly in Perl and C.

Journal of Matts (1087)

Monday July 11, 2005
07:21 AM

Curry from scratch

[ #25633 ]

This weekend I made a curry from scratch (i.e. no pre-made sauces). It was a hit. It was a little runny - need to adjust the recipe for that.

Also it's hard to get ingredients here sometimes - the people who run supermarkets are very xenophobic about food - when something isn't in season here it's very difficult to get hold of. The particular ingredient this time was green chillies (kind of critical to a good curry), which won't be available here until the Ontario green chillies are ripe. I tried at 5 different stores (including two asian specialist stores). Ultimately I used Green Hungarian hot peppers which don't have nearly the same explosive flavour.

None of those stores had curry leaves either. Nobody even knew there was such a thing as a curry plant. I substituted lime leaves instead, which worked well and gave that fantastic aroma that only lime leaves can give.

I was very close to giving up on the ingredients hunt, but I was very pleased to find fenugreek seeds at Vincenzos (a local international food store, mostly selling european foods). The fenugreek seeds are traditionally what you associate the "curry" smell with.

I'm looking forward to making it a second time - it's almost always better when you make things the second time.

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  • When I lived in hanwell (between southall and ealing) I regularly bought fresh curry ingrediants from the local veg market and never had a problem getting curry herbs and spices in even the mainstream supermarkets. Of course when I lived in ealing I was working within spitting distance of brick lane which was also very handy for decent curry supplies.

    @JAPH = qw(Hacker Perl Another Just);
    print reverse @JAPH;
  • The fact that British supermakrets stock foods that are out of season is part of the reason why the quality is so poor. If something fresh like fruit has to come from the other side of the world, it's probably been picked far before it's ripe, and it's a robust easy to move variety, and that's part of the reason why food is so tastless.

    If you buy from a real market or direct from the grower, the food is MUCH fresher, and hence has real taste.

    A good home made curry is great fun, as is freshly made Naan b

    -- "It's not magic, it's work..."
    • It's a tradeoff. Certainly food brought in from long distances isn't as-good as local stuff. However it's better than not having it at all. Frankly I'd rather not have to drive all over KW trying to find the right ingredients. Supermarkets here have a long way to go to catch up with the quality and variety of foods available in the UK.
      • Supermarket in your part of Canada must be utterly awful then. British supermarkets are pretty terrible, the fruit and veg is dull and devoid of flavour, and it's hardly cheap. Any half decent independent green-grocer has a better range of goods, at better prices, and significantly better quality. The snag is that there aren't many left...

        I always find the French supermarkets MUCH better than their British equivalents. They offer much more than their British counterparts, and the French are not as easily

        -- "It's not magic, it's work..."
  • Don't leave us hanging.
    • I didn't make this one up sadly - this was my first curry from scratch. So I just used Jamie Oliver's "My Favourite Curry Recipe". Apart from the changes I listed of course.

      Here's what I can remember (I won't give a separate ingredients list - I'll leave that as an exercise):

      Take a large pot, heat up some vegetable oil. Add 1 teaspoon of mustard seeds. When they've popped, add 1 teaspoon of fenugreek seeds. Then add 3 chopped onions and 2 large thumbs of ginger, coarsly grated. Stir until browned. Then add
  • That's one of the brilliant things about living in Los Angeles.

    Between our local farmers market [] and Whole Foods [] we can get good vegetables and fruits all year. And apart from some Danish things (cherry sauce!) we have yet to be fail to find any exotic ingredient we needed...

    I forget where now, but a few times I've bought spices in bulk online. Reasonably priced and their great selection would reach you too.

      - ask

    -- ask bjoern hansen [], !try; do();

  • might ask on news:kw.eats [kw.eats] ; there are a few real foodies who hang out there and tell what's what locally.

    As far as fresh curry leaves go, I asked my partner (the ingredient procurer of the house) and he said that sounds like a tough one, possibly available in Toronto.

    -DA []