Curry Curiosity

/ Wednesday, April 2, 2008

When it rains, it pours...
...and not just because Paris has been like a wet rag the past few days. Temps de chien. No, infact it is my kitchen that is flooded with flavor and not water! Letting down my culinary barriers has opened my tiny studio to a whole new array of  ingredients and spices. This new found
 adventurousness comes with quite a lot of trial and error,  but for every disaster there seems to be a success as well. 

Curry curiosity arrived in my kitchen in two forms; in a powder and in a paste. When I first came upon the gorgeous golden powder in the Bastille Market, I was in awe. The pigment was so intense. I had absolutely no idea how to cook with curry or what it even tasted like for that matter. Regardless, I couldn't resist. I filled a little jar with the colorful dust and continued on with my day's shopping. So ended my love affair with curry powder, at least for the next few weeks. It wasn’t until Monday that I rediscovered my aromatic friend. I was cleaning out my kitchen cabinet and there sat the forgotten jar…just as golden as it was the day I came upon it in the market. I placed the container on the countertop and vowed to make a curry dish as soon as I found a recipe. I scoured the internet for a dish to fit my appetite, yet I was discouraged by long lists of ingredients and lengthy cooking times. Finally, I was faced with the image of a mouth watering veggie burger on one of my favorite blogs… Curry Lentil Burger. Bonne idea! 

I would have followed the original recipe from The Student Stomach

but I didn’t have yellow onion or paprika. So, I took some creative

license with the contents of my refrigerator and my own version of the veggie treat evolved. 

The result was delicious!

Curry Lentil Burgers

1 can Lentils drained

1 Red Onion finely chopped

2 cloves Garlic

1/3 cup Fresh Breadcrumbs

2 tsp Curry powder

¼ tsp Cumin

¼ tsp Cinnamon

¼ tsp Pepper 

1. Put the lentils in a plastic sandwich bag and mush, leaving only some lentils whole for texture. 2. Place the lentil mash in a large bowl. Mix in chopped onion and garlic. Add the breadcrumbs and spices. 3. Mix until all is combined. 4. With you hands, form mixture into patties of whatever size you’d like. (I chose to make smaller patties because I don’t have a spatula to flip larger patties with) 5. Heat a bit of oil in a sauté pan 6. Pan fry the patties on for about 2-3 mins on both sides, flipping when the patties begin to brown.

(Read The Student Stomach for instruction on how to bake your patties. I would have baked the burgers but my tiny studio doesn’t have an oven!)

I hooked up my burger by stickin' it between two pieces of freshly toasted bread and dressin' it with avocado, lettuce, tomato and home made yogurt sauce (plain yogurt, cucumber, garlic and a little cumin)

Feeling a bit confident following my savory success, my next trip to Monoprix I picked up a packet of Blue Elephant Green Curry Paste. At this point, I had obsessed over so many different curry recipes I was sure that I could whip up a spicy lunch for one! I decided to make my own version of Green Curry Tofu with Veggies. Well perhaps a bit more research would have done me well. Somehow I over looked the fact that Green Curry Paste is the spiciest of all. Perhaps the "hot" sign on the front of the package should have been a dead give away. The recipe I created was fine, but my lips were not very please. My mouth was burning! Looking back I made a few fatal mistakes. 
  • I didn't feel like buying coconut milk and felt I'd make a healthier curry without it. Instead, I used a small contained on non-fat yogurt to thin out the paste. It didn't take enough heat out of the dish and the coconut's tenderness was missing. Coconut milk is a must next time around
  • Again in the attempt to be a bit healthier, I didn't include any plain rice or couscous. There was nothing bland to mix with the curried veggies and to cool down my mouth! 
  • I used the entire packet of curry paste for only a little block of tofu and enough veggies for one person. Oops.
I'm not posting a recipe until I find a way of making the meal without killing off half of my taste-buds. My dad was lucky enough to witness, via iChat, my meager attempt at cooling down my lips by mushing yogurt in between them as if it were lipstick. Quite attractive. 

So perhaps I got a bit carried away with my curry curiosity, but I'm not completely  disappointed. The Curry Lentil Burgers were a definite success! One new meal to add to the arsenal...I am content. Thanks curry...enjoy!

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