Permanent link to archive for 24/7/08. Thursday, July 24, 2008
Kurma's Canberra Curry

cooking coordinates:

The topic of curries is on my mind, since I've just planned a class menu based on the topic. But in actual fact, the word 'curry' is a misnomer, popularised and perpetuated by the British. There is no historical precedence to that name in classic Indian culinary culture before the 18th century. There's a great deal of speculation and guess work as to how the name 'curry' was first introduced.

Some sources explain: "The term curry could be possibly derived from 'koora' in the Telugu language, which means stew or gravy of any vegetable."

Also: Curry leaves - (Murraya koenigii) are known as 'Karuvapillai', in the Tamil language, 'karibevu' in the Kannada, and 'kariveppila' in Malayalam.

Another theory: the root word for curry is 'Kadhi', which derives from the term 'Kadhna' meaning 'to simmer' or 'Karahi' denoting the cooking vessel used in Indian kitchens.


It's my guess that definitely the Brits just Anglicized words they heard and these words 'morphed' into new words.

Here's a well-known example: The British witnessed the awesomely massive wooden chariots of Jagannath rolling down the main road in the seaside Temple festival at Puri, and upon asking about them from locals, invented the word 'Juggernaut' to approximate how they heard the word 'Jagannath'. (Read this fascinating disambiguation).

And another: the classic rice and lentil stew 'Khicheri' was enjoyed by the British during their sojourn during the Raj period. After the recipe returned to England, the Brits added fish, and it became 'Kedgeree'. There's many more examples.

Anyway, I'm meandering. Here's our Curry Class menu, to be held in Canberra in September.

degustation 2:

"Vegetarian Curries of the Subcontinent"

"India still surpasses as the vegetarian capital of the world. Kurma Dasa is back to share some of the most inspirational 'curries' of the Subcontinent. His generous class includes Simple & Sublime Gujarati Pumpkin Curry, Creamy Maharashtran Mixed Vegetable Karhi with flaky Paratha Breads, Karachi Masoor & Potato Dal-fry with Fresh Lime Wedges & flame-toasted Pappadams, Cashew-Studded Sooji Upma with Sourdough Toast, Fresh Yogurt and Chutney, and Bengali Chickpea, Panir and Cauliflower Tarkari. Come hungry!"

And the class details:

Cooking Co-ordinates Cookery School
Belconnen, Canberra ACT
Morning Cookery Workshop, Saturday 13 September
Bookings call 02 6253 5133

Hope to see you there!

Posted by Kurma on 24/7/08; 12:56:41 PM from the dept.

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Kurma's Canberra Curry


Gitte from Copenhagen, Denmark asks: "Hello! Do you have a recipe for Sri Kand, which we tried while in India last year. Delicious!"

My reply: Yes indeed, here's my new revised version, complete with a fragrant, thick saffron syrup on top."


Creamy Cardamom-infused Condensed Yogurt Dessert with Pistachios and Saffron Syrup (Shrikhand)

This popular Indian sweet from India's Maharashtra State is simple to prepare. Yogurt is hung in a cloth to remove the excess liquid. The solid residue, called yogurt cheese or dehin, is sweetened, flavoured with saffron, pistachio nuts, cardamom, and rosewater, beaten until silky-smooth, and served ice-cold in little cups.

Shrikhand is ideal to prepare in large quantities. Remember the simple sugar to yogurt ratio: good quality yogurt should yield up to 50% liquid (whey) when hung. Add sugar to the final yogurt cheese in the ratio of one to four: in other words, the sugar content of shrikhand is one-eighth part the original quantity of yogurt.

You may wish to reserve the liquid that drips out of the yogurt. Its a first-class curdling agent for making your own homemade curd cheese, panir. Shrikhand is delicious served with slices of fresh mango and puffed plain flour pooris sprinkled with sugar (called Loochis in Bengal). Makes enough for 810 persons.

1 kg whole-milk yogurt
¼ teaspoon ground saffron threads
¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
1 tablespoon rosewater
2 tablespoons blanched raw slivered pistachios
½ cup powdered sugar

Place a triple thickness of cheesecloth in a colander. Spoon in the yogurt, gather up the corners of the cloth, tie it into a bundle, and hang it, either in the refrigerator or in a cool spot for at least 12 to 16 hours, or a day or two if you like. Catch the drips in a bowl.

Combine ¼ cup sugar of the sugar with a little of the saffron infusion and reduce in a small saucepan to make a fairly thick syrup.

When you are ready to prepare the dessert, combine the ground saffron threads with the rosewater for 5 or 10 minutes to allow the saffron to steep and release its flavour and colour. After the required hanging time, the residue of yogurt cheese should have reduced to half the original quantity.

Transfer the cheese to a bowl, add the ground saffron and rosewater infusion, ground cardamom seeds, pistachio nuts and sugar. Beat until light and fluffy, and serve in small bowls. Alternatively, do not add the nuts to the mixture, pipe out the dessert from a piping bag with a fairly large nozzle, and sprinkle the pistachio nuts on top. Drizzle with saffron sugar syrup.

Posted by Kurma on 24/7/08; 6:49:57 AM from the dept.

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