Amateur Raita
June 17, 2011 4:08 AM   Subscribe

Give me your favourite curry recipes that don't involve chickpeas, lentils, peas or other legumes.

MrM is allergic to legumes, so we can't go out for a curry - even if he ordered something without the pulses, cross-contamination would lead to an uncomfortable meal. I have never cooked curry except for 'cook meat/veg, open jar of sauce, dump sauce over cooked stuff' so it would be great to try and make it from scratch for us both.

- he doesn't react to kidney beans or pinto beans so if these can be used as a substitute that would be good.
- there aren't any vegetables either of us strongly dislike; we are both meat eaters but I don't eat lamb.
- I prefer the milder end of the spectrum - from korma to tikka masala. MrM is happy with spices.
- I very much like spinach, paneer and saag.
- I have a hand blender but I don't have a food processor. MrM has a slow cooker.
- Paneer and almost all spices are very easy for me to get hold of as I live in London with access to both a large supermarket and, if needs be, the Asian stores in Southall. However if this is stuff that can be bought from Sainsbury's/Tesco that's a bonus.
posted by mippy to Food & Drink (25 answers total) 35 users marked this as a favorite
I just came across this recipe today that fits your criteria. I haven't tried it yet, but it's on my "to cook" list for this week - sounds delicious.
posted by lollusc at 4:23 AM on June 17, 2011

Response by poster: Looks tasty - pumpkin is a pain in the ass to get hold of except at Hallowe'en so it's handy that you can substitute.
posted by mippy at 4:34 AM on June 17, 2011

Eggplant curry. I don't use a recipe, but I do use a little more tomato and a lot more curry than the recipe indicates. And you don't need pepper if you don't like it spicy. Also, I've never put yogurt in it, but that sounds yummy, so I think I'll try it next time.

I don't know if you're familiar with cooking eggplant, but I soak it in some salty water for maybe 2 hours to first - that softens it and makes it less bitter. But then, dry it off and don't put water in the eggplant when you cook it, or it burns your mouth (well, that's what Guyanese say anyway).
posted by lesli212 at 5:20 AM on June 17, 2011

Standard veg curry, minus the peas. Follow the instructions in the dhal recipe that follows for the ghee finish if you find it a little bland.
posted by caek at 5:21 AM on June 17, 2011

I make curry once a week because Mr. Gravy loves it so much. "Curry" covers a lot of territory but here is one of my favorite recipes:

Crockpot Vindaloo

Vindaloo Paste:

6 Garlic cloves
2 TB red wine vinegar
1 TB fresh ginger
1 tsp of cayenne more or less to taste
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp dry mustard
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground cardamon
1/2 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp of mace
Process in food processor until nearly smooth

1/4 cup of oil
3 med. onions, halved and thinly sliced into moons
1/4 cup chopped golden raisins or other dried fruit such as apricots or cherries
Vindaloo Paste (see above)
4 lb of skinless chicken thighs or 2 1/2 lbs of chopped beef or pork
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup sherry (w/chicken) OR coconut milk (w/beef) OR cream

Place oil and onions and fruit in large fry pan and cook slowly for 10 minutes, stirring often. Add vindaloo paste and heat for 20 seconds. Raise heat to medium and add meat. Stir and cook briefly-- just until meat loses raw appearance. Pour in liquid and heat to simmer. Place in crock pot and cook on low for 8 hours. Serve over rice.

Note 1: There are a lot of spices and if you don't have them all, it's ok. I've made this without the cloves and mace and bought them at a later time

Note 2: One of my favorite versions is using beef short ribs, but you might want to make that one day ahead in order to chill and skim off the fat otherwise it is greasy.

Note 3: Put salt on the table. I've found it is always under-salted and it tastes considerably better with a bit more.

Note 4: This smells absolutely heavenly when it is cooking.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 5:35 AM on June 17, 2011 [15 favorites]

FYI, fenugreek is often found in curry spice mixtures, and it is a legume. MrM might or might not also be allergic to it, but it's something to keep in mind in case he has unexplained symptoms.
posted by unsub at 5:57 AM on June 17, 2011

I've become a huge fan of butter chicken. Like, every time I make it, it turns out being the best and tastiest thing I've cooked probably since the last time I made butter chicken. You're supposed to marinate the chicken in a yogurt-spice marinade, but I've successfully skipped that step. I've also dumped the basic makings of butter chicken in the crockpot in the morning day and wound up with deliciousness by the afternoon (add the yogurt at the end).

My "recipe" is cobbled together and simplified from a few different sources, but it is relatively similar to this one (I think trace amounts of cinnamon and clove go into mine, and I use more yogurt and no half-and-half). If you don't have cashews on hand, I've successfully substituted things like ground almonds, pistachios, and even a couple tablespoons of tahini--the point is to add something at the end that is nutty and fairly smooth to give added richness and mouth-feel to the dish.
posted by SomeTrickPony at 6:28 AM on June 17, 2011

You should make this. And then you should watch all of Manjula's videos, because she's just awesome.
posted by contessa at 6:38 AM on June 17, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks all!

SLoG - is there a way to deal with the spices without a processor?

Eggplant - I never soak aubergine (that's the British name for eggplant) but perhaps I should?
posted by mippy at 6:48 AM on June 17, 2011

You can skip soaking eggplant, especially if it's baby eggplant. If you're finding that your eggplant is bitter, you've managed to find one that isn't all that fresh.
posted by cooker girl at 7:05 AM on June 17, 2011

If you're into curries in general, this British cookbook has a wide variety of awesome ones, along with an excellent intro which goes over all the ingredients used in the book, with pictures.
posted by Diablevert at 7:10 AM on June 17, 2011

If you have a microplane for the garlic that would help. Otherwise I would just mince the garlic and ginger as finely as possible and then stir with the other paste ingredients.

Here is a Thai Chicken Curry recipe that uses Rooster ( Sriracha) sauce which is very yummy and very easy. It might be too hot however so I would halve the sriracha to begin with..

6 Boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 Can coconut milk or more
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp curry powder
2 TB Sriracha or other Asian Chili paste
Zest of 1 lime plus juice
Cilantro for garnish

In a large bowl mix all the ingredients except the chicken. Reserve 2/3 of the sauce and use 1/3 to marinate the chicken for at least 30 minutes. I've actually marinated for 2 days and it came out great.

Grill Chicken either outside or under the broiler. Simmer the reserve sauce-- add extra coconut milk if you want a more mild sauce. Slice up chicken and serve over rice with cooked vegs such as carrots, potatoes, green bell peppers, baby corn. Spoon sauce over top.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 7:17 AM on June 17, 2011 [1 favorite]

Ooops forgot "simmer the reserve sauce until thick as desired-- 10 or 20 minutes."
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 7:18 AM on June 17, 2011

My never-fail curry base:

- Sweat a couple of big white onions, 2-3 minced cloves of garlic and about an inch of grated ginger in olive oil and salt in a big pot, over low heat with the lid on, until the onions are translucent. Add water to keep it moist if necessary.

- Add a teaspoon of garam masala, a teaspoon of curry powder, a teaspoon of chilli powder (or to taste), and a teaspoon of fenugreek (optional). If you have access to solid asafoetida, chip in a tiny bit (like a couple of mm squared) - but this is also optional. Throw in a splash of water.

- Let this simmer until the water and oil have separated. At this point, add whatever the hell you want - chicken and red peppers or runner beans is often what we opt for. Tinned tuna in oil is also delicious (trust me). Cauliflower and boiled eggs. Potatoes. Anything!

- Add another teaspoon each of masala, curry powder and fenugreek. Let it sit and stew over low heat with the lid on til done. Keep adding water as necessary for moisture.

- Stir in chopped fresh coriander right before serving over ride, or with chappatis.

This is what I ate four times a week for the first 17 years of my life, and I'm still not sick of it.
posted by guessthis at 7:54 AM on June 17, 2011 [8 favorites]

Potato curry and cauliflower curry are both delicious and do not contain legumes.

disclaimer: I know the dishes are delicious in restaurants but these particular recipes are a product of Google, not my own personal test kitchen.
posted by aimedwander at 7:59 AM on June 17, 2011

I like Julie Sahni's Classic Indian Cooking.
posted by LonnieK at 8:49 AM on June 17, 2011

this weekend i'm sauteing up some onions, then adding some garlic, some curry powder, a tomato or two diced up (with the juice) - at the same time i'm gonna parboil some potatoes, then add the potatoes to the curry/onion/tomato mix, add in some fake chicken and then eat the crap out of it. i don't know if i'm breaking a million rules about curry, but i think it sounds delicious.
posted by nadawi at 9:42 AM on June 17, 2011 [1 favorite]

More "curry in general" - the Indian dish I wanted to recommend, sold right alongside the curries is xxx do piazza. The tomato-onion based sauce has a lot of the familiar spices. I have tried and been happy with this online recipe, and I have made various vegetable and potato versions of this as well.

If you have a more East Asian market, you may also want to try Japanese curries. A lot of people don't even know Japan has a kind of curry, but it is the awesome. I've never mixed the spices from scratch and usually buy the S&B brand spice blocks, though there are plenty of good ones (ex. Vermont Apple). In Japan you'll find this served with fried pork, or chunks of chicken, but I prefer to make it with potatoes.
posted by whatzit at 9:58 AM on June 17, 2011

Response by poster: Ah yes, dopiaza is nice,

Broiler - what is this, just a grill?

I very much like okra, I think it's available in a can in some of the bigger supermarkets (advantage of living in my part of town is that even chainstores will have a Caribbean and an Asian section, and some even do specialist oriental stuff).

whatzit - do you mean like a katsu? That is nice stuff indeed.
posted by mippy at 10:07 AM on June 17, 2011

Am I the only one that always fries spicy peppers? I do something similar to Secret Life of Gravy, but I chop up and fry a few banana or jalapeno peppers with the onions and don't use any Rooster sauce.
posted by RobotHero at 10:36 AM on June 17, 2011

mippy -- yes, US "broil" = UK "grill", i.e., very high heat from above. Grilling here usually only refers to heating from below, preferably over charcoal on a patio or in a park...
posted by FlyingMonkey at 10:55 AM on June 17, 2011 [1 favorite]

Yes, I mean the カレー (kare) part of the カツカレー (katsukare). Very very easy to make, and you can totally pick-and-choose what to put in it based on your preferences, allergies, and seasonal whatevers. Here is a good shot of the S&B Golden Curry, and this recipe looks good if you want to start from scratch, but I haven't tried it. If you want the meat, here's a step-by-step which again looks right, but I haven't tried it.
posted by whatzit at 12:31 PM on June 17, 2011

Palak paneer is easy, tasty, and legume free. Cut paneer into cubes, fry in a pan on medium heat, turning cubes until several sides are golden-brown. Set aside on a paper towel. Chop up an onion, cook it in some oil. Add some minced garlic and ginger, cook a minute. Add cumin (1-2 tsp), coriander (1-2 tsp), garam masala (1 tsp), a dash of turmeric, and cayenne to taste, cook another minute. Add spinach (frozen chopped spinach, defrosted, or fresh, rinsed, and coarsely chopped spinach) and cook, stirring occasionally, until spinach is hot, floppy, and starting to get a nice mushy texture, adding water if things dry out. Quickly stir in a couple spoonfuls of yogurt or cream, add paneer cubes, salt to taste, and then eat.

Or our dinner last night: Pre-cook a couple cubed yellow potatoes, drain. Fry paneer cubes, as in previous recipe. Blend an onion, a few cloves of garlic, and similar amount of ginger into a paste. Fry the paste in oil or ghee for a 5ish minutes. Add spices (see above), cook for another minute. Add a chopped carrot or two, cook for a few more minutes until the carrots soften a bit. Add 2 cups diced tomatoes (fresh or canned), a bit of water, 1.5 cups peas, and the potatoes and paneer. Stir, squishing the potatoes a bit so that they help thicken the curry. Cook 5-10 minutes, salt to taste, eat over rice.

You can do similar things with eggplant/aubergine, okra, etc. Crushed/blended/ground cashews can be good, esp. in a non-tomato curry. We often put in chickpeas, but I don't see why other beans wouldn't work out.

Before my vegetarian girlfriend and I moved in together, Madhur Jaffrey's Rogan Josh was one of my favorite meat curries. I know you don't eat lamb, but it's also delicious if you substitute chicken thighs (and reduce the amount of water added and cooking time, as chicken is more tender). The recipe in the cookbook also mentions that for beef you should increase the water from 1.25 cups to 2 cups, and increase the simmering time from 1 to 2 hours.
posted by JiBB at 12:44 PM on June 17, 2011

I have slow-cooker curry formula that I just adjust depending on whatever I have.

1. Mix a cup of plain yogurt with your curry spices. (This can be whatever you want! Try different variations to see what tastes best to you! My last one was garam masala, turmeric, ginger, fenugreek, mango powder, cloves, peppercorns and chili.)

2. Cut up an onion and a few garlic cloves. Put some olive oil (about a tbsp) in the bottom of a slow-cooker and layer the onion and garlic on top.

3. Choose a protein: chicken, game, lamb, fish, tofu (unless that sets of your partner's legume allergy), whatever you want. Chop it into large-ish bite-sized pieces and marinate it in the yogurt-spice mixture for a minute or two, then add the whole shebang to the slow-cooker on top of the onion layer. (My last one was 6 chicken breasts, I use fish and moose quite often as well.)

4. Choose any other vegetables you think would go well. Chop them up and layer on top of the protein. (About 1 lb of okra and 2 red bell peppers went in the last one. If I'm using a red meat, I find tomatoes work well.)

5. Cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 4-6 hours. Stir it and serve it! (Or, if you're like me, put most of it in containers for later and serve about 1/6 of it.) It goes well with brown rice or on it's own.

The above is pretty lean and healthy and depending on the spices you use can pack a lot of flavour in. Also, you get to use whatever's on hand instead of stressing about recipe ingredient lists.
posted by Kurichina at 1:22 PM on June 17, 2011 [4 favorites]

I once had a vegetarian curry that used tofu as the protein. It was GOOD. I've found draining the tofu, letting it dry a bit, freezing it, then cutting it up makes for a more "meaty" texture. I think I read on another mefi thread that after freezing you should boil it for that meaty texture. I've been happy with just the freezing.
posted by kathrynm at 6:04 AM on June 18, 2011

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