Monday, June 13, 2011

Jamie Oliver's curry

We spent most of Saturday backing up all of our digital photos on the new external hard drive we purchased and downloading tons of our old CDs onto my iPod. We have been meaning to do this for months, years actually, and somehow never got around to it. CDs and back-up DVDs fill entire drawers of our apartment. Isn't it weird that before all this technology we just had photographs and negatives, yet we did not live in constant fear of losing them? I mean, let's face it, paper is certainly more delicate then a hard drive, a DVD/CD or even the forerunner, the good 'ole floppy disk. Despite this, we never seemed worried about fires, burglars or a flood destroying all those special moments captured on film. Now I constantly think about what would happen if we lost all those precious mementos of our travels and our children growing up because of a theft or a simple tech problem. I still feel the need to print them out, because there is nothing like flipping through an actual photo album and because somehow the printed rectangle of paper seems safer than a small piece of plastic that contains my life.

So, anyhow, six hours later I was feeling pretty darn good about myself, until not one, but two girlfriends told me in rapid succession that they have two external hard disks: a portable one they take on their trips for safe keeping in case of theft or damage and to keep backing up whilst away from home and a larger one at home as their real back up.

So I am an old fart, there it is, plain and simple. I am not as savvy as I thought I was. I thought I was doing pretty well thanks to my techy husband, his knowledge and gifts. Thanks to my blog, my iPhone, my iPod, my Kindle, my digital cameras, plasma screens and so forth. I tweet, I Skype, I download Apps, I do FB. You name it, I've been there and done it. Or so I thought. The truth is, I was really only ahead of the game when I was 12, when I had to help my Nana set up her VCR, when I was a Space Invaders champ, when a Walk Man was the natural extension of my arm. I was still pretty much up there when I got my first Palm Pilot and snubbed my trustworthy Filofax, or when I could send a text message at the speed of light when most Americans didn't even own a cell phone yet. But now, I am my grandmother. Even my own mother is more high tech than I am these days. My father-in-law let me use his iPad last week end in Elba and my iPhone is his hand-me-down.

And there I was feeling good about my external hard drive and downloading the hundreds of CDs the rest of the world downloaded on their iPod about five years ago.

Another thing I was feeling good about was this curry.

I admit it, making curry is still new and exciting to me. Not cooking things with curry, I mean actually making it from scratch. It turns out it is pretty darn quick to make and easy too and I still can't get over the fact that I made this dish exclusively using household staples. Ok, so many of you are probably thinking turmeric isn't really a staple in their house, but believe me, if you stock up on the basic spices of Indian cuisine you can use them for endless recipes. They are pretty inexpensive (luckily this isn't the Middle Ages) and they keep for a long time if stored correctly. I came up with this great meal with a desperately empty fridge. Luckily I had a chicken breast in the freezer.

This curry is adapted from one of Jamie Oliver's many curry recipes. I know it is not the most authentic curry recipe, but Jamie has a way of making those of us who are not experts or who do not have an Indian mum feel a little less intimidated. I was missing a couple of the ingredients (lentils and red pepper) and kept it pretty mild for the kids, but it took only an hour to prep and cook and tasted fabulous.

But then again, maybe you have been making your own curry from scratch for years.

You will need a food processor or hand blender to make this.

1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped 
2 shallots, peeled and roughly chopped
3 medium sized carrots, roughly chopped
light olive oil
6 cloves of garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
a knob of fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
1 tbsp ground coriander
1 tbsp ground cumin
½ tsp ground black pepper
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp paprika
1 tbsp turmeric
1 tbsp garam masala
1 400gr tin of plum tomatoes
300ml water
200ml tinned coconut milk
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 large chicken breast
basmati rice

Peel and roughly chop the vegetables, garlic and ginger in a food processor and heat some olive oil to cover the bottom of a large saucepan. On low heat, add the spices and fry for a few minutes and then add the finely chopped vegetables and the ground spices (I had to grind coriander and cumin seeds beforehand) and fry gently until the onions start to soften. Add the tomatoes and water and simmer for another 30 minutes. In the meantime cut the chicken breast into bite-size pieces. Add the coconut milk and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and blend until smooth with a hand blender. Season to taste. Place on heat again and add the chicken. Simmer until the meat is cooked through.

For the rice, look here.


  1. I am a bit resistant to technology too. If I get a new "toy" I usually don't play with it until my husband literally shoves it into my hand! :P

  2. I'm way behind you!! My regular old cell phone is 6 years old. My husband just got an I-Pad. He is in charge of everything tech related, i'm beyond clueless! Also pretty clueless about curry, although i love to eat them!! Nice job!

  3. that looks really healthy. Dont think ive ever made curry from scratch. i just rely on premade ones.. ><

  4. Ohhh yum! This curry looks so good! I am just learning to cook Indian food as I have always found it intimidating... it is just so different to Italian cooking! But it is fun to play around with spices, isn't it?? I love the aroma of curry simmering on the stove! Great recipe! :-)

    I think I am more behind than one technology-wise... we do have a couple of drives, but I don't even get close to them!!! hehehehe I have decided to learn a bit more about photography and I already find that HARD!!! hehehehe

  5. Ok, well guess what? I don't even have a cell phone! Can you believe it?! My dad has an ipad and my neices and nephews do stuff on my sisters phone all th time so I am worse than you! LOL!

    I love this curry dish, it has me wanting to run to my kitchen. I think I have every ingredient minus the tomatoes b/c I used all mine up yesterday... delicious curry from scratch!!!!

  6. With technology advancing so fast these days, I think we all get a little behind the times now and then!

    However, this curry is definitely something that will never get old =) Looks fabulous!

  7. Love the pictures and Jamie's food generally tastes very good. The addition of coconut milk makes the dish milder, though mainly used in South India. Just stumbled upon your blog and your pics are amazing...

  8. Haha, I only have one external hard drive too, and I didn't even really have even one until last year. And hey, my parents don't even know how to text! So you're still considered savvy in my eyes. :-)

    Love the curry!

  9. Lorraine - I get most of my technology as gifts from my husband. He looooves technology.
    Nicole - you take amazing pics and have a great blog, you are not that clueless, believe me!
    Dolly - that was me until recently. It is easier than you would think, really!
    Manu - I am very jealous you have an Indian in the house to guide you and to taste test! I have a hard time with photography too, never manage to take that extra step...but hey, what is it with everybody having to hard drives??
    Care's kitchen - go ahead and make it anyway, I feel like you can pretty much play around with the non essential ingredients. I didn't use the lentils and red pepper for example. No cell phone? I am impressed, how do you do it?
    Peggy - yes, thank God for curry ;o)
    Baking Devils - hello Shilpa, welcome! Mild was good because of the kids. I however was surprised to find coconut milk in the dish. For some reason I had envisioned it with yogurt...a more Northern dish. I think I will go stumble upon your blog now!
    Moomser - yes, me like
    Sophia - hehe, cool

  10. Oh, a beautiful and delicious curry with all those special ingredients! Do visit my blog dedicated to curries!

  11. well prepared n mouthwatering..
    new to your space...absolutely lovely space you recipe collection..
    Am your happy follower now..:)
    do stop by mine sometime..

    Tasty Appetite

  12. My son has been designing iphone apps for people (to make a living) yet he does not own a cell phone, nor wants one! I think there will come a time when people will just feel so overwhelmed by technology that they will simply decide what to live with and what to discard. Love that curry, simple but in the curry-spirit!


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