Monday, March 28, 2011

Gaffa's Rogan Josh Curry

Hi hi! How was everyone's weekend? I had planned to relax and do not much on the weekend, but ended up doing alot and only spent about 2 waking hours at home! I actually think I spent more time in Lululemon stores over the weekend than I did at home awake! WOW LOL.

Anyway, Friday evening after yoga Gaffa cooked me a curry. *Big smile* I lurve curries, and Gaffa loves cooking them. He has the Curry Bible cook book that he first learnt to cook curries with, and then bought his first Jamie Oliver cook book - Ministry of Food. Jamie is Gaffa's cooking idol. Not only is he a fellow Pom, but they even look a little similar - blonde hair, well fed... :p On a more serious note, Jamie's ideas, values and many projects have changed a lot of people's lives and are going to change a lot of people's lives - Fifteen, Ministry of Food, Food Revolution, his many televisions shows... the philosophy of not just eating healthier with fresh ingredients, but also learning to cook yourself and passing on the knowledge to others - is just amazing and we love the work he is doing all over the world.

Last year Gaffa got to meet Jamie and even received a free set of Jamie Oliver knives, at his Jamie in the Park show. The amount of times that Gaffa has cut himself using the knives is just ridiculous!

This recipe is adapted from Jamie Oliver's Rogan Josh recipe in Jamie's Ministry of Food book, with Gaffa's tweaks thrown in.

Is that Jamie or Gaffa?!?!

Ingredients -

2 cloves garlic
thumb-sized of fresh root ginger
75g roasted peppers from jar
tablespoon paprika
teaspoon smoked paprika
2 teaspoons garam masala
teaspoon tumeric
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons groundnut oil (macadamia oil was used)
2 tablespoons tomato paste/puree
fresh red chilli
small bunch of fresh coriander

Spices for toasting:
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
2 teaspoons coriander seeds
1 teaspoon black peppercorns

800g veal
2 medium onion
1 fresh red chilli
a thumb-sized piece of fresh root ginger
small bunch of fresh coriander
groundnut oil (macadamia oil was used)
knob of butter
4 bay leaves
sea salt and fresh ground black pepper
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
400g tin of chopped tomatoes
800ml stock (chicken preferably)
Rogan Josh paste
2 handfuls of red lentils


The paste can be made using either a mortar and pestle for a coarse and chunky paste texture, or using a food processor if you prefer a smoother paste. Gaffa prefers to use the mortar and pestle which gives him a chance to go all "caveman" on the ingredients - "bashing them up" - the results with the m&p are really quite flavoursome.

ready to be smashed!

Peel the garlic and ginger, finely slice add to the m&p (the smaller the slicing the smoother the paste will eventually be). Add in all of the spices for the paste. Coarsely slice the toasted peppers and add them in, then give the ingredients an initial bashing to reduce them to a grainy textured mess. Take the bunch of coriander and cut the stems off, finely slice the stems and leaves and add to the m&p.

If you like your curries HOT then don't remove the seeds of the chili when you add them, but if you want to make a flavoursome curry with a good chili hit, do what Gaffa does... Cut the chili in half lengthways, remove the seeds using a teaspoon (in one sweep the seeds are gone and you don't even have to touch them.), Gaffa devised this method after many finger in eye burning moments after handling chili!!!!

Add the tomato puree and the nut oil. Gaffa likes to use macadamia nut oil for that extra nutty flavour which he believes add extra depth to the base of the curry, plus he knows I love macadamias....With all the ingredients in the m&p, mix and bash and smash them until you have a good consistency - the harder you work at this point the finer your paste will eventually become - plus you get a good arm workout (again win-win for the guns)...

snap, crackle, pop! 

Tip:  Toast your spices in a well ventilated area so you don't stink out the entire house - the aromatics of these spices can really linger! Toast the spices in fry pan on high heat, until they release an infusion of aroma, don't inhale too hard they'll burn your nostrils!! Wait for the coriander seeds to pop and crackle, and the cumins to turn a light brown colour, then they'll start to dance too. If you leave them too long you'll burn your spices and the smell gets really pungent and you're flavours will not work as well. If you're not sure, don't let the colour change to anything darker than golden / light brown...the darker the seeds go the more burnt they're getting (like when we go to the beach - there's nothing healthy about a tan)...

Rogan Josh Paste

Next, take your toasted seeds and add them to the m&p - option 1: mix the paste with the toasted seeds, option 2: separately grind these seeds down before adding to the paste. Gaffa always goes for option 1 because he likes to keep his recipes simple (and with less messing about), and likes to work his guns harder by working the m&p for longer to ensure the toasted spices are well grounded. Actually, this process does help to blend all of those awesome flavours together and you do end up with a really flavoursome paste.

Curry ingredients

When making the actual curry you can opt to use basically any meat so long as you trim any fat off and keep the size of your meat chunks similar, you can even do this curry with just veggies if you're not a meat lover. Gaffa used Veal on this occasion, and it worked really nicely.

You get alot of flavour from the stems of coriander

Dice the meat into approximate 2cm cubes and place into a small bowl. Add some sea salt and cracked pepper to the meat. Peel and finely slice your ginger and onions. Same goes with the chili in the main body of the curry - you decide the heat level, and add or remove the seeds. This time just slice the chili into little strips or rings. Dice the coriander stems and coarsely chop the coriander leaves (keep some for garnish later).

To cook the curry you'll need a deep pan or casserole pot. Gaffa uses an electronic banquet roast pan with lid. On high heat, add a couple of decent sized luggs of oil and a knob of butter. Add in the ginger, onions, chili, coriander and bay leaves. Fry this until the onions become soft and golden brown - this takes 5-10mins.

Next add the meat and fry until lightly browned. Add the balsamic vinegar and mix in. Cook this for 2mins before adding the tin of tomatoes, the stock and finally the curry paste and the red lentils. At this point, give the curry a good mix and make sure you get an even consistency throughout.

start from this...

To start with the curry will have a lot of liquid, so keep the meat and the lentil below the surface to gain the most flavour. Bring to the boil and immediately reduce the heat and simmer with the lid on for about an hour. Tip:  Keep the lid on, the heat as low as you can and check on the curry often to make sure it doesn't dry out too much (add a little water if it needs it). When you check the curry, give it a good mix and check its not sticking to the sides or bottom of the pan (so annoying when you're cleaning up later).

to this...

You'll know when the curry is ready - the meat will be tender and the the sauce will have nicely thickened and reduced to that "curry shop" texture. If you really want to boost the flavour of this curry you can add some fresh, quartered tomato to the curry after about 45mins.

finally to this: 1hr of simmering later @ 10pm....

Serving this curry is easy. Straight from the pot to the plate with a good helping of rice. You can add  naan bread or popadoms to enhance the experience. Garnish the curry with some coriander and if you're feeling fruity you can add a nice dollop of fresh natural yogurt and a wedge of lemon to squeeze over the curry. The zesty lemon flavour will really enhance the Rogan Josh flavour, whilst the yoghurt should neutalise any chili heat you feel (especially if you added the seeds).

YUM! =)

So, what's your favourite cuisine?

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