Ruminations and recipes from a small kitchen in a big city.


First day of summer. Let's make a curry.

The product ranges at the two major supermarket chains, Safeway and Coles, continue to dwindle in favour of their own house brands of doubtful provenance; in fact of unknown provenance as far as the consumer is concerned. The smaller IGA chain of independents allows its member stores to stock product according to local need, something Safeway and Coles can't or won't do.

IGA deserves support. A huge number of small businesses have been cut out of representation on Coles and Safeway shelves across Australia by the two majors, in favour of cheap imports. If that's globalisation, I'm not buying. Give me quality and the hell with China.

Example: Margaret Rowland Authentic Indian has been manufacturing genuine high quality curry products for more than forty years; but, as far as I am aware, has never been stocked by Safeway and Coles. Margaret Rowland probably can't manufacture in sufficient quantities for their vast supply chains. All the more reason to support Margaret Rowland. Another reason to support her is that - as I read on the company's quaint website - in between manufacturing genuine curries, pickles and spices, originally in East Preston, she had ten children. That's a busy woman.

I bought a jar of Margaret Rowland tikka masala paste from the IGA store in Brunswick, right there at the tramstop on top of the hill, next to Rumeli's Turkish restaurant.

Tikka masala is apparently a traditionally hot curry for chicken, but it is of course ideal for currying any kind of meat or vegetable. You can follow the recipe on the jar, but I varied it as follows:

Potato, cashew and tomato curry.

Fry a finely chopped onion in a little oil. Now throw in a good handful of raw unsalted cashews, two chopped cloves of garlic and a teaspoon of grated ginger. Stir until the cashews just start to brown.

Add two large tablespoons of tikka masala paste and a dash of water. Stir until smooth. Add a teaspoonful of fenugreek powder and stir through. The Margaret Rowland tikka masala paste is mild; I added some extra chili here.

In another pot, parboil two large potatoes cut into one inch cubes and half that amount of similarly cubed pumpkin until barely soft. Drain and add to curry. Stir to coat. Add another onion, sliced into eight segments. Continue to add water - from the pot in which the vegetables boiled - gradually, to maintain consistency. Simmer very gently for ten to fifteen minutes. Now add two very good largish tomatoes - the truss or vine-ripened type, not billiard balls - cut into eighths. Simmer until the tomatoes have softened but retain their shape.

Serve on long grain rice, squeezing lime juice over. And here's to a long, hot summer. (With a little rain every now and again, of course. We don't want the lawn to die.)


Anonymous said...

What's 'off' about summer?! :-)

Julie said...

"Give me quality and the hell with China"...

We should get that made into tee shirts. Or chant it a lot. Or have it branded into the chests of government officials.

kitchen hand said...

Thanks, Anonymous - fixed.

Julie, indeed! Half of the steel once buried in the Australian outback is now leased office space in Shanghai and in return we get lead-painted children toys. As I said, I'm not buying.

noodlebowl said...

Bizarre. You are the third person I know that has made a curry on the weekend.

Ange said...

I agree, I do my best to shop at the iga or local fruit & veg/butcher/seafood monger etc & when I do have to buy from Coles or Safeway I never buy the Coles brand, we really dont want all of the great local producers oushed out any more than they already have been

kitchen hand said...

Curry is sweeping the world, Noodlebowl, on a wave of spice and heat and taste and yumminess; and not a tin of Keen's in sight.

Ange, together we can change the world. We just need to convince the rest of Australia.

Sara said...

I miss summer.