As mentioned in Day 3 & 4 of The Challenge
I love curry. It is one of my favourite foods. Some have heat, others don't. Some curries are vegetarian while others are unashamedly carnivorous. The colours, the smells and the flavours are all enticing. A year in Nepal gave me a good spice tolerance and an appreciation of the different flavours. I love that curry comes in so many different forms, from different places across the globe with different spices and blends. I have a spice cupboard that is too big for my own good. Not everything in it is labelled, others have labels like "soup spice", a meaningless name given to a blend by a spice vendor somewhere. I cook mostly by taste and smell, and the imagined combinations of things matched mentally before they are added.
Most of my curries are probably not recognisable as any specific thing to anyone native to anywhere that actually makes curry, and I would love to have all the know-how about using spices, and which to add when in order to layer flavours that I might, were I from one of the cultures, but instead I play and experiment. And usually, things turn out well.
This was one of those. I wanted to test the properties of fenugreek seeds a bit more, we had a pumpkin that needed using, and I thought it might go well with the sweeter spices that I wanted to use. This curry does not pretend to be authentic anything, or from anywhere except my kitchen, but it's good.
2 tsp mustard seeds
2 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp fenugreek seeds
2 tbsp peanut oil
a handful of dried orange peel
1/4 - 1/2 pumpkin (small), cubed
1 red onion and 1 white, diced
1 head of garlic, sliced
1 large knob of ginger, peeled and diced
2 long red chillis, sliced
1 tbsp red curry paste
1 red pepper
1/4 - 1/2 white summer squash
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp urfa biber (Turkish pepper)
1/4 tsp cloves
2 tsp cumin
3 c water
2 tsp Aloha Spiced Cacao
Juice of 1/4 lemon
1) Heat oil in a pot. Add seeds and orange peel. Cook until the spices are fragrant and the mustard seeds start to pop. I tried a fenugreek seed at this point and it was sweet and perfumed, only the slightest hint of bitterness.
2) Add onions, garlic and ginger to the spices and cook until translucent, then add the pumpkin. Turn the heat down and, adding 2 cups of water, simmer gently for about 20-30 minutes.
3) Add other ingredients except for lemon juice and simmer further until vegetables are tender.
4) Add lemon juice 5 minutes before dishing. Serve over rice and eat hot.
This turned out beautifully. It was warming and had some heat to it but without blowing your head off. I thought the spices played off each other particularly nicely. The cocoa spice was a late addition to add a deeper note that was lacking, and then the lemon juice came in to brighten it up. I had intended to toast the seeds instead of frying them, but was distracted by Little Bit's dinner, and had intended to add red lentils (initially I had planned on dal for dinner before things evolved), but forgot those too until doing clean up at the end. Overall it was very satisfying and I would definitely make it again. It did have a bit of a dry tongue after effect though. I am wondering if that was the fenugreek. My husband's guess was the cumin, but that was minimally dosed. I've never had that effect before despite using a lot of cumin all the time. Something to investigate further.