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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Curry in a Hurry

Curry dishes are comfort food in our house. Before kids, when going out to eat was a regular occurrence, my ROCpoppa and I would often find ourselves at an Indian restaurant. These days, we make our own instead.

This particular curry is ready in the time it makes to simmer the rice. Quick and easy!

Picky eaters? No problem. Keep some of the chick peas out of the mix. On a segmented plate, scoop some cooked basmati rice, some chick peas, and then defrost some of the frozen green peas to add on the side along with some of the diced carrots (raw or cooked). Maybe some applesauce or a clementine, and dinner is served for the picky ones.

Love your slow cooker? Just follow the variation at the bottom.

You can adjust the heat of this recipe with the cayenne pepper. I usually add less than 1/8 teaspoon. Others would probably like a 1/4 teaspoon or more in there. Go for it, just not in my kitchen please.
Curry in a Hurry
Serves 6*

1 c. uncooked basmati rice
1 3/4 c. vegetable broth or water
1 tsp. cumin seeds
1 tsp. mustard seeds
1 tsp. curry powder
1/2 tsp. turmeric
1/2 tsp. garam masala (found in the spice section)
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1/8 - 1/4+ tsp. cayenne pepper, to taste
1 Tbsp. canola oil
1 medium onion** or 2 large leeks, chopped
2 stalks celery**, diced
4 large carrots**, diced
4 oz. diced green chilies
28 oz. diced tomatoes
2 c. frozen potatoes O'Brien or hash brown potatoes
1 c. frozen green peas
15 oz. chick peas, drained and rinsed
1/4 c. cilantro, minced (optional)
lemon wedges (optional)

1. In small pot, combine rice and broth. Bring to a boil; stir once. Cover and reduce heat; simmer 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand (covered) 5-10 minutes. Fluff with a fork when done.
KIDS CAN HELP: Have kids measure rice and broth into a pot on the counter (NOT on the stove).

2. Meanwhile, in a large pot, heat cumin and mustard seeds over medium heat until they are fragrant and begin to pop, about 3 minutes. Add curry powder, turmeric, garam masala, ginger, and cayenne; heat 1 minute more.
KIDS CAN HELP: Kids can measure the cumin and mustard seeds into the pot on the counter (NOT on the stove). Then they can measure the remaining spices and scoop into a prep bowl or measuring cup for the Head Chef.

3. Add oil, onion, celery, and carrots. Sauté until vegetables are tender, about 5-7 minutes.
KIDS CAN HELP: If using frozen mirepoix in place of fresh veggies, kids can measure out 2 1/2 cups of the mixture.

4. Add chilies, tomatoes, potatoes, peas, and chick peas; raise heat to medium-high. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes.
KIDS CAN HELP: Have kids help you bring items from the pantry and freezer to the counter. Kids can also measure out the green peas and the frozen potatoes.

5. To serve, scoop some basmati rice onto individual dishes. Ladle the curried vegetables over the rice. If desired, garnish with a sprinkle of fresh cilantro and a lemon wedge for squeezing on top. Enjoy!

There are approximately 288 calories per serving.

*TIP: If you are cooking for fewer than six, make the full amount anyway. Leftovers make a great lunch, or they can be frozen for future meals.

**TIP: For a speedier meal, check the frozen food section for a mirepoix blend (diced carrots, celery, and onions) to use instead of the fresh veggies. You'll want about 2 1/2 cups for this recipe.

1. Omit the oil and combine all other ingredients from cumin seeds through frozen potatoes in stoneware of your slow cooker. Cover and cook on LOW for 8-10 hours or HIGH for 4-5 hours.

2. Thirty (30) minutes before cooking time is up, add green peas and chick peas to the slow cooker. Stir and cover; cook for remaining 30 minutes.

3. Cook the rice following step #1, above. Serve, per step #5 above.

I hope you enjoy this simple, delicious dinner as much as we do. Bon appetit!  As always, thanks for reading.

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