Thursday, July 21, 2011

Died-and-Gone-to-Heaven Curry


The sweet, rich, rising aroma and complex weave of warmth and depth, like a smell-taste tapestry, could lead a person to part ways with the world happy.   

You might be wondering about the connection between the Texas Hill Country and curry.  You're thinking curry originated on the other side of the world.  You're right.  

But in the way of human migration, food traditions travel and adapt.  And since Texas is as much a state of mind as a place of being, any version of spice is eligible to be Texan.  And I'm claiming this curry spice mix, even though the point of origin for the blend was Jamaica. 

I started on this curry trail the first time a local goat farmer brought his free-range meat to the Farmer's Market. I love the Farmer's Market and the people who put their hearts and souls into raising food on this hard-scrabble land. 

So then and there I bought a package of goat stew-meat and put it in the freezer. Freezer instead of  stove because I hadn't a clue about cooking goat.

For the next three months, every time I opened the freezer door I saw goat.  Along the way I learned that the meat was probably tough and would need long, slow, moist cooking.  Preferably with spices to scent the house and whet the appetite.  Voila, Jamaican Curried Goat.  Except that I didn't have any Jamaican Curry Powder, which every recipe assured me was essential to the dish.

Eventually I found a recipe for Jamaican Curry Powder and the surprise was that it had NO heat.  Monty, who posted it, says that hot pepper should be added separately to any dish.  So this mix can be used by folks who have to avoid a burn.

I made the goat curry, it was spectacular, and yes it bubbled for 5 hours before those free-range sinews were tender, but the wait was worth it.  

A couple of weeks later I used leftover curry powder in  a chicken curry.  Half an hour cooking time, but thank-you-lord good on the tongue.

So if you want a Caribbean Texas gone-to-heaven experience in your kitchen, here's the curry powder to carry you.

The recipe title is a link to the original recipe, which yields 3/4 cup.  I cut it in half (the proportions listed here), which made enough for 3 dishes feeding 4-6 people each.  Ground spices don't improve with age and the powder is easy to make so maybe less is more.


Prep Time 10 Min, Cook Time 10 Min, Ready In 20 Min
Yield 3/8 cup
 Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons whole coriander seeds
  • 1 tablespoon whole cumin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon whole mustard seeds
  • 1 tablespoon whole anise seeds (I used fennel seeds)
  • 2 teaspoons whole fenugreek seeds
  • 2 teaspoons whole allspice berries
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons ground turmeric

Directions

**Combine the coriander seeds, cumin seeds, mustard seeds, anise (or fennel) seeds, fenugreek seeds, and allspice berries in a skillet. Toast over medium heat until the color of the spices slightly darkens, and the spices are very fragrant, about 10 minutes. 
**Remove the spices from the skillet, and allow to cool to room temperature. 
**Grind the spices with the turmeric in a spice grinder. Store in an airtight container at room temperature. 

Here's the goat curry, from a recipe at Jamaica Travel & Culture.com, including step by step pictures and a video.  I added a cut-up cauliflower late in the cooking but did NOT use TWO scotch bonnet peppers, which would have been a searing experience.

Copyright 2009-2011 Kathleen Scott, for Hill Country Mysteries. Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited.
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