?

Log in

No account? Create an account
Mama Deb
mamadeb
.:::.:....... ..::...:


December 2010
      1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8 9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28 29 30 31

Mama Deb [userpic]

Tomorrow night begins the period of time called "The Nine Days." Coincidentally, it lasts nine days. Tomorrow night is the New Moon of the month of Av. The Ninth Day of Av, or Tisha B'Av, is one of the two major fast days of the year, which means no food or water for twenty-five hours. While Yom Kippur is solemn but joyful, Tisha B'Av is nothing but painful and bad. It commerorates many things, but primarily the two Destructions of the Temple in Jerusalem, which happened on the same day.

We're in the Three Weeks, which is the three week period leading up to Tisha B'Av, during which we do not have weddings or purchase new clothing (or if we do purchase it because to not is to lose the chance, we do not wear it until after it's all over.) No hair cuts, either. These are minor mourning practices.

During the Nine Days, the mourning gets stronger. We do not wear clean clothes (custom is to wear, piece by piece, the outer clothes for those days, before they begin. Just a second is enough. We kinda rub them on the floor.) or bathe unless we are sensitive. We're sensitive. :) We also do not swim for pleasure, or listen to live music, and there are those who avoid canned as well. Men do not shave. And we do not drink wine or eat meat. All of these rules are suspended for Shabbat, of course. More to the point, they are customs, not rules. Which is why we can get around them by wearing clothes ahead of time, or by calling ourselves sensitive, or by arranging required festive meals or taking advantage of them to eat meat during the Nine Days.

Five years ago, for example, good friends of ours had a baby boy, and his bris happened to take place during the Nine Days. We drove down to Maryland from New York...:) What's funny is that the normal stuff served for britot is dairy - bagels and lox and such.

This, then, is why we had beef for dinner last night, and I'm cooking beef now, and we will try to get a meat eal in before sunset tomorrow night.

And this is the true purpose of this post. Any one have a good technique - not a recipe, just a technique - for vegetable curry? Just for something to serve besides fish and pasta.

Comments

I love veggie curry. One of my favourite things.

My first rule of thumb: I don't use commercial curry sauces. They're impossible to find Kosher, and they're amazingly high in sodium content (frequently between 30% and 37%).

Any veggie works well in curry. Personal favourites are onions, mushrooms, potatoes, cauliflower, tomatoes, squash, chickpeas, or any other kind of legume.

Basic recipe is the same as making stew, except you flavour with a good quality curry powder or garam masala. Other common spices are turmeric, coriander, cumin (usually the whole seeds). I usually puree some of the veggies and add back in to thicken.

You can also just sautee the veggies, add the spices to cook briefly, then add just enough water or tomato liquid to make a thick sauce.

If you want to add tofu, do that at the end of the cooking process, rather than cooking in the stew.

Dal is also wonderful stuff. A good basic recipe for chana dal is to use about a cup of yellow lentils (or any other colour). Boil well in lots of water (remove scum when it appears). Add spices (such as turmeric, garlic (whole cloves) and ginger), then simmer with pot almost covered until lentils are tender. Stir every so often to make sure they don't stick. I love to add cut up cucumber at the very end with the salt, curry/garam masala, whatever I'm adding to make it spicy hot, and maybe some cumin seeds briefly heated in oil.

More information than you wanted? If you want a bit more information about curries, try Epicurious.com and search on vegetable curry.

Why do you add the tofu at the end? I tend to brown mine briefly in a frypan before adding near the beginning; I love the texture it gets then, and it soaks up a lot of flavor from the sauce. What's it like when added near the end? Do you brown it first?

No particular reason. I'm just learning how to cook with tofu. I discovered in one very sad dish that if you add tofu at the completely wrong time, then it gets all mushy and icky. So, I tend to squeeze out water, maybe brown in a fry pan and add about half an hour or so from the end.

Yeah, tofu can go all mushy/spongy if you put it in at the beginning, especially if you're using the soft kind and the dish is liquid-heavy. Browning would probably help that, though, 'cause it'd seal the edges a bit.

I tend to prefer the firm tofu, myself. Better texture.

Deep-fried tofu, OTOH, has the taste and consistency of oily styrofoam. Definitely not recommended.