Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Curry Love

Many months ago, I bought a bottle of curry powder at Sam's Club. I'd never really used curry before, but I'd been wanting to try it out and see how I liked it. So I promptly proceeded to let that bottle sit in my spice drawer for months, until a week or two ago, when I came across this awesome page of pumpkin recipes via Stumbleupon. One of the links was to a pumpkin curry soup recipe, so I tried it out at home and really, really liked it. Then I ended up making it for the soup of the day at work one day. Except I did what I usually do, and made way, way too much. Like gallons and gallons of it. (I tend to cook either just enough for one or two people, or enough for dozens. There is no in-between.) Not really a problem, I just threw the leftover soup in the freezer for another day. But then the next day I was thinking that I could take some of that leftover soup and mix it with some alfredo sauce, coat some chicken in the curry powder, and make a pumpkin curry chicken alfredo pasta for a daily special. Two birds with one stone- use up some of the soup, and have a new special to run. Sounded good to me! Well, I didn't end up using the soup, but what I came up with was pretty close, and maybe even better than the soup would have been anyway. It's a versatile curry-squash, hummus-like sort of dip, which I did use in the curry-squash-chicken-alfredo pasta, which came out super totally delicious! I don't have a specific recipe (though I'm going to try and come up with one sometime) only vague amounts based on what I remember doing. Here's how it all came about: when I went into the freezer to get out the leftover soup, I noticed that I had some butternut squash that was leftover from some butternut squash soup I had made awhile back. So I grabbed that as well, thinking I could use that up, too. And I also just happened to have some extra tahini and garbanzo beans in the cooler. Now, I know very little about Indian food, but those items seemed like they'd go good in whatever I was going to make, so I grabbed them and headed for the kitchen. Again, absolutely no recipe, but here's a list of ingredients-

Frozen butternut squash cubes
Garbanzo beans
Curry powder
Olive oil
Coconut milk

Looking good, no? So basically all I did was just throw all that into a food processor and mix away. Sadly, I didn't record any amounts of anything. But look how simple the ingredient list is! Stuff that anyone can get nowadays, so all you have to do is pretend that it's all salt and pepper and just 'add to taste,' right? Ok, possibly an oversimplification, but that's basically what I did. But here are some vague amounts based on my weak old-man's memory, if you're interested.

Approx. 1 1/2-2 c. garbanzos
1/3-1/2 c. tahini
1-1/2 c. butternut squash
Squirt of olive oil (2-ish Tbs.)
1 can/2-ish cups coconut milk
Dash of salt and pepper
Curry powder to taste. I wasn't even trying to pay attention when I added that stuff, so I have no idea how much I used, but it was a lot.

The olive oil might not be necessary at all, I just added it because it felt like I was making hummus, and you always add olive oil to hummus. (Except that this was at work, so it was 80/20 soybean/olive oil. I hate that cheap stuff. I'd never use it at home.)

So that's the basic Curry Love 'recipe.' It's super, super tasty on it's own. And versatile too, because you can eat it straight (I sure did!) or with pita bread or crackers; you can add it to alfredo sauce (which I also did) and make some alfredo-curry chicken pasta. It has a slightly sweet taste to it, due to the butternut squash and coconut milk, so I'm sure it would go well in muffins or quickbreads. I have no doubt it would make an interesting pie. Sweet or savory, it's delicious either way. Try mixing it up and adding cloves, cardamom, nutmeg, fenugreek, turmeric, or whatever else strikes your fancy. Maybe try different types of curry powders. The stuff I used just said 'curry powder' and was the common yellow kind you see everywhere. Also, I used Tones brand, which I think is a pretty decent, though maybe not great, line of spices. I know I was really happy with this stuff, but I imagine I'd really be loving it if I'd used, say, Penzey's, or had taken whole spices and ground them myself.

At some point (when I get around to it) maybe in a day or two, I'll add the alfredo recipe in here that I used. It's pretty simple and easy to make, and is way better than most stuff you'd get out of a jar- though I'm not exactly an alfredo connoisseur, so I don't know how it compares to other recipes out there, but I think it's pretty decent.

Until next time- if there is a next time- Bon App├ętit!