Showing posts with label curry. Show all posts
Showing posts with label curry. Show all posts

Friday, May 6, 2016

Quick Thai Curry

It has to be spring somewhere, doesn’t it? Things were a lot greener in Maryland, where I spent the past weekend with some of my Mystery Lovers’ Kitchen buddies at the mystery conference Malice Domestic. We had a wonderful time, but to be fair, the weather was kind of lousy, with rain and mist and fog. Then I came home—to more rain and mist and fog. (At least all my flights were on time!)

So I wanted something quick and easy and a little spicy, and I decided on Thai curry. I’ll admit I first met this kind of recipe on the back of a curry jar (with a nudge from my daughter, as I recall), although since then I’ve found a couple of great Thai restaurants not far from my home.

This is a very flexible recipe: I’m giving you the basics, but you can add whatever you have on hand or that sounds appealing to you. We’ve learned to keep a lot of the basic ingredients around, which is easy because they’re usually either found in a can or in a form you need to refrigerate.

One note: in a supermarket, you will most likely find two kinds of paste curry: red and green. I’ll confess I don’t know the subtle differences between them, but you can swap between them. I happened to have the red kind, so that’s what I used.

Quick Thai Curry

Oops--ignore the tomatoes. I was thinking
of an Indian curry recipe, then changed
my mind

1 Tblsp vegetable oil
3/4 cup sliced shallots (you could substitute the same amount of onions, but shallots have a milder flavor)
2 tsp Thai curry paste (or more!)
1 14-oz can of unsweetened coconut milk
2 tsp fish sauce
1 lb skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into strips
Optional garnishes: fresh basil, fresh lime juice


Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the shallots and the curry paste and stir until the shallots soften (about 2 minutes).

Add the coconut milk (note: when you open the can it may look kind of like spackle. Just mix it up to combine the solids and liquids) and the fish sauce. 

Add the chicken and stir the mixture until the chicken is just cooked through. (Another note: I’ve often made this recipe with left-over chicken, which works fine. But the uncooked chicken stayed nice and tender.)

Taste and add salt and pepper as needed, plus any spices that suit your fancy.

You can serve this on its own, or over rice or rice noodles. I felt the need for some green/vegetable addition, and we happened to have some fresh pea shoots on hand, so I sprinkled them over the curry. That worked just fine—they added an earthy note and a hint of crunch.

As I said, feel free to improvise. The result is warm and creamy and as spicy as you want to make it—perfect for a cold damp day!

Coming next month! I can't recall if I ever ate Thai food in Philadelphia, but there are Asian vendors at the Reading Terminal Market in Center City, if you're hunting for ingredients (I send my heroine Nell Pratt there whenever possible, including in this book).  They have everything there, including chocolate noses. Just in case you need a few.

You will find Dead End Street available for pre-order at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Curried Chicken Pita Sandwiches #recipe @pegcochran

by Peg Cochran

These sandwiches can be served warm or at room temperature if you want to take them on a picnic!  

1 cup plain yogurt
1 tablespoon chopped mint*
Salt to taste

Mix mint and salt into yogurt and put in fridge for an hour or two.

* I used dried mint because I absolutely refuse to buy fresh mint!  Why?  Because it costs almost three dollars a bunch and in our old house (before we moved to our condo) I planted mint in my herb garden.  Big mistake!  By the second year I had enough mint to make mint juleps for the entire state of Michigan.  It just kills me to have to buy mint now!

2 boneless chicken breast halves or 4 skinless chicken thighs cut into bite-sized pieces
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 to 3 tablespoons curry powder depending on your tolerance for heat (1 is very mild, 2 is nicely spicy and even my husband can eat it and 3 is hot!)
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
3/4 teaspoon paprika
1 bay leaf
1/2 14-ounce can chopped tomatoes
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup golden raisins
Pita rounds

Saute onion and garlic in oil.  Add chicken and cook several minutes until golden.  Add lemon juice, spices, tomatoes, walnuts and raisins.  Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes or until chicken is done.  

Serve in toasted pita halves and top with yogurt sauce.  

Saute onions, garlic and chicken.

Love the colors of the spices!

Simmer chicken, tomatoes, walnuts and raisins

Fill pita halves and top with yogurt sauce


If you like culinary cozies, you'll like my Gourmet De-Lite series

For more information about my books visit my web site. Or my Facebook page

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Welcome Hannah Dennison with guest post & giveaway!

Please welcome our guest, 
Hannah Dennison. 
Hannah is the author of the popular Vicky Hill Mysteries
set in England. 
And now she has a new series! Yeah! 
The first in the series is Murder at Honeychurch Hall.
See her giveaway below!
Take it away, Hannah. 

Daryl, thank you for inviting me to contribute to Mystery Lovers’ Kitchen. I was particularly excited because I’ve been longing to share my “upper-class” curry that would be a sure-fire favorite among those above stairs at Honeychurch Hall.

Set in Agatha Christie’s beloved Devon, “Murder at Honeychurch Hall” focuses on former TV celebrity Kat Stanford who has retired from her TV show “Fakes & Treasures” to open her own antique shop with her newly-widowed mother, Iris. But Iris has her own ideas. Alarmed to discover that her mother has rashly bought a dilapidated carriage house on the grounds of a country estate several hundred miles from London, Kat sets off to make Iris see sense.

Although this is no Downton Abbey and times have changed, a line still exists between those upstairs, and those below. It would seem that every single resident at Honeychurch Hall harbors some kind of secret—especially Iris who, we learn, has been secretly writing steamy bodice rippers under the pseudonym of Krystalle Storm.

When the nanny goes missing and a body is discovered on the grounds, suspicion falls on the newcomers … and that is all I am tempted to tell you at this time.

However, what I can tell you is that the fictional Lady Lavinia Honeychurch would have shamelessly stolen the real-life Lady Daventry’s curry recipe (just as I have) were she to cook for the occasional weekend shooting party so enjoyed by her husband and his aristocratic friends.

Personally, I have never understood the reasoning behind shooting game as a sport but perhaps that’s because had I been born in a different era, I would be down in the kitchen scrubbing the vegetables.

So … without further ado … here we go. Expect hands-on time of no more than thirty to forty minutes. The key is to prep the ingredients ahead since, apart from browning the meat, each cooking step takes less than five minutes. Another tip—do use fresh ginger root. It makes all the difference.

Lady Daventry’s Curry (courtesy of Country Life Magazine) can also be re-heated the following day and/or frozen.

Lady Daventry’s Curry
Serves 4-6 (double quantities for entertaining)
Cooking time: Lamb 1 ½ hrs/Beef 2 ½ hrs
Note:  You will need a flameproof stovetop dish that can go into the oven.

Ginger and Garlic Paste:
1 in cube of fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
1 whole bulb of garlic, peeled
3 tablespoons of water

The Meat:
6 tabs of olive oil
2 lbs of lamb shoulder or braising steak cubed
*If using lamb, remove the excess fat

Whole Spices:
2 bay leaves
8 Whole cloves
1 tsp black peppercorns
12 whole green cardamom pods
6in stick of cinnamon (again don’t be tempted to use ground cinnamon!)

Ground Spices
1 tsp of ground coriander seeds
2 tsp of ground cumin seeds
4 tsp of paprika
1 tsp of hot chili powder
1 tsp of salt

Other Ingredients
2 medium onions peeled and finely chopped
5 oz plain yoghurt (I use 2% Greek plain but any plain is fine)
Ground black pepper
½ tsp of Garam Masala

Blend the ginger and garlic in a food processor with the 3 tabs of water until pureed.
Heat oil in ovenproof flame top dish (I use a clay tagine) and fry the meat, setting it aside when lightly brown.
Add the whole spices to the hot oil and stir for just a few seconds.
Add the onions and fry for five minutes until they soften and turn light brown.
Add the paste and stir for a further 30 seconds.
Add the ground spices and salt for … another 30 seconds.
Add the browned meat and juices and combine thoroughly.
Gradually add the yoghurt one spoonful at a time. When it has all been added, cook for above five minutes more.

Add water: Lamb needs ½ pt, beef ¾ pt.
Stir again and bring to the boil
Cover the casserole and transfer it to the oven at 160 C or 325 F.
Lamb needs about 1 ½ hrs and beef 2 ½ hrs
Check half way through and add a little water if it looks as if it is drying out.

At the end, the sauce should be nice and thick.
Finally, stir in the garam masala and serve.
*You might want to remove the cardamom pods before serving – I don’t mind them, but some people do.

Leave a comment today, and you could win some fun swag and a spot of tea from Hannah!  Remember to include your email address so she can contact the winner.

You can reach Hannah on her website,  Facebook, and twitter @HannahDennison.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Welcome our special Saturday guest, Christine Myskowski from Salt & Pepper Books

Please welcome our special Saturday guest, Christine Myskowski. She is the owner and manager of Salt and Pepper Books in National Harbor, Maryland, just outside of Washington, DC. [Note: name has an ampersand, but blogger doesn't like that symbol for some odd reason!]


It’s been almost seven years, but I still sometimes stop and think, “I own a cookbook store… how did this happen?”  The short version is that after leaving a career in the financial industry, I decided to turn my hobby of collecting cookbooks into a business.  The learning curve was steep because I had no small business, retail, or bookstore experience.  The money was an issue because I had only a very tiny budget.  And the progress was slow because the store opened a month before the recession began.
Salt and Pepper Books' new location

But there were angels along the way (they know who they are) and a steady stream of loyal and supportive customers, many of whom have become good friends.  I was also lucky to have opened in the quaint town of Occoquan, Virginia. 

View of the Potomac River from our front door
It was the ideal place for a small bookstore and the town welcomed it with open arms.  This summer, however, we said goodbye to Occoquan after a bittersweet decision to accept an invitation from the National Harbor.

We now have three times the square footage as the original space, including room to build a kitchen for the cooking classes I’ve been talking about for the past four years.  Thanks to an amazing staff and an army of family and friends, we were able to set up the new space quickly.  I can’t wait to finish the kitchen so that we can start scheduling the classes!

In the meantime, we have a makeshift break room kitchen where I test the recipes for our newsletter.  The “kitchen” includes only a small refrigerator, toaster oven, microwave, blender, and a slow cooker.  The only “counter” space is a small round kitchen table so prep work can sometimes be a challenge.  A couple of weeks ago though, my cooking options were greatly expanded thanks to a gift of an electric wok (which works for way more than just stir-fry dishes).  Simply plug in and go!  I normally make this soup at home in a Dutch oven, but the wok worked just as well.

Curried Carrot Soup

3 tablespoons Canola oil
1 tablespoon Curry powder
2 teaspoons Tumeric
½ teaspoon Kosher salt
2 pounds Carrots, peeled and cut into ½ inch pieces
6 stalks Celery, peeled and cut into ½ inch pieces
1 medium Onion, peeled and cut into ½ inch pieces
6 cloves Garlic, peeled and chopped
6 cups Vegetable stock
Juice of 1 small Lemon
1 to 2 cups Water, if necessary

Combine oil, curry powder, turmeric and salt in a Dutch oven over medium high heat and cook for 1 minute. 

Add carrots, celery, onion and garlic and toss to coat evenly with the flavored oil.

 Cook over medium high heat, stirring occasionally for 10 minutes.  Stir in the vegetable broth and simmer for 15 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.  (You can test this by mashing a piece of carrot with a fork.)

Reduce heat to low and use a stick blender to puree soup.  Alternatively you can puree the soup in small batches in a blender (return soup to pot and heat through afterwards).  Stir in the lemon juice and water, if necessary.

Serves 6.

Salt and Pepper Books (it uses an ampersand...but blogger doesn't like that symbol) is an independent bookstore in beautiful National Harbor, Maryland.  We love all things food and cooking!  We have a large selection of cookbooks, including books on kitchen basics, baking, soups, vegetarian meals, gluten-free recipes, international cuisines, and more.  We also carry many food writing titles and a growing inventory of culinary mysteries.  The store also features an ever-changing variety of kitchen gifts from aprons to recipe cards to pepper mills.  Please stop in and take a look where there's a book for every cook!

Salt and Pepper Books
171 American Way
National Harbor, MD 20745
(301) 839-1849