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THE FOOD WE ATE 2. Shadley’s curry recipe of “ones” [1hour to prepare]

This one recipe is useful for  500g of meat/chicken/fish/crayfish [yes, it has a strong flavour and goes well with curry], minced meat, minced abalone, beans,[cooked up/canned] dhals, mixed veg, cauliflower and green peas [a definite favourite], etc, the following will suffice:

Stage 1

1 x Tablespoon oil heated in a pot. I use flax seed or chia seed oil for their high polyunsaturated fat content.  Most other oils, except canola, have high monounsaturated fats like sunflower seed and olive oils.  Read the labels if you are cholesterol-conscious. NB “Poly” is good; “mono” is as bad as saturated fats.1   A centimetre of oil floating on top of a curry will put me off that food.  It just ain’t necessary!

1 x Teaspoon of mustard seeds – I like them black

1 x Tip of a teaspoon of fenugreek seeds – too bitter if too much

1 x Flat teaspoon of turmeric powder(or root crushed up for a more interesting flavour).

Reduce the heat as the mustard seeds start to sizzle.  Try not to let them pop, or they will burn and change the character of the curry.

Stage 2

1 x onion. I like a big onion, esp the stronger purple type. As the onion softens, I love the smell and the mixed colours of black seeds, purple onion, and the yellow turmeric, even in the driepoot pot on an open fire. I prefer a thick onion cut, so I cry less – yep, I’m sentimental.

1 x heaped teaspoon garlic AND 1 of ginger added with the onion. And yes, my G&G comes out of a jar.  If you use whole ginger, don’t peel it or the turmeric root and watch out or it’ll stain your fingers.  My four-bladed small blender works well even on the frozen roots. I add some warm water to the mix to allow the onion to braise farther.

Stage 3

1 x heaped teaspoon of ground cumin and 1 x  ground coriander seeds.  Zonjia reckons 1 tsp cumin to 11/2 tsp coriander – and SHE knows!)  I grind my own in an old coffee grinder and place them in a sealed container in the deep freeze.  Smell these two spices, and you will know when to throw them away when they have lost their oomph especially if they kept in a cupboard.  These two ingredients take on water so add more warm water and keep the mixture  a bit runny.  Keep it runny for rice; cook till a bit dryer for finger eating with the naan, etc. breads.

Let the spices roast for several minutes. I stir regularly as I hate things sticking in my pots.  Wooden spoons are my preference.  I get them at the local markets, so I keep some of the wood-turners out of mischief. The wooden spoons make less noise when I bang on the pots – it keeps Zonjia happy, my main mission in life.

Stage 4

Add 1 can of diced tomatoes – about 60 cents at Aldi!  OK then, fresh tomato or two if you must. I do not use tomato paste, but if you must, …..  Some cooks may add a flat teaspoon of sugar to reduce the tartness of the tomato.

Add salt to taste.  Even with high blood pressure, curry without salt just ain’t curry!  So forget the BP.  Trust me, after all, I AM a doctor with a BP.

1 x chilli, will do, but choose the chilli for its heat content – also added flavour with Habanero.  I often add the chilli with the onion.  Chilli on the side does not work as well. It should cook through into the food.  Thanks again are due to Raju for that tip.

So, simmer away for another 5-10 minutes.   And stir.

Stage 5

Now add the solid food bits as noted in the first paragraph. Mutton/beef need browning first.

Sea foods need the juice of 1 x  lemon.  Lemons vary in their sourness.  Years of Friday margheritas taught me this, so you may need a bit of sugar if too sour.

Most meats are best cooked cubed.  Chicken breasts are supposed to have lower fat; turkey is better, and turkey mince is excellent. The less white there is in mince, the less fat there is.  Check out premium mince versus standard mince and avoid the mushy, ultrapulverised, slushy pink mince  – it may have salivary glands, intestines, sweat glands, ears and other nastier bits in there.

But I digress.  Again the sniggering is from my offspring!  Thanks guys.

Stage 6

Close to the end, add 1x handful of curry leaves.  Every garden should have a tree.  They can be massive, so I prune to about a metre and a half high at the end of summer when a bit of mould hits the leaves.  The bush also does well in a large plant pot, and they do well in heat. Add 1x can of coconut cream to a fish curry – Goan/Malay style with prawns, fish, fish head, mixed seafood including calamari, crayfish. High cholesterol folk – coconut is a no, no!

Include 1 x diced potato or two with meat dishes.

1 x bunch of green coriander to chicken or dhal curry.  It will transform how you eat chicken curry.  I add the roots and stems cut up fine about 5 mins before the heat comes off.  Then i add the cut up leafy bits and thin parts of the stems and place them on top and switch off the heat.

Add 1 x  small handful of dried methi leaves.  Stir in deep at the same time as the green coriander stems,   All Indian stores stock methi; check their deep freezers for the frozen type in convenient palm-sized balls which cut up easily.  The two, together in a curry, can be transformative. That’s what food should do to one’s life.Again, switch off the heat and allow a slow cook as the pot cools down.

Add smoke – best with a driepoot pot!        –>


Serve meat and dhal curries with paratta[no fat/oil] or naan breads/rhoti [watch the fat/ghee content!]and get the fingers stuck into the food.  Try three fingers if you can.  I’m a five finger man as I have a big mouth!   Actually, my family would say I am like oil – the unrefined type!  Once more, thanks my darlings.

So, give the CURRY RECIPE OF ONES a shot.  You won’t be disappointed.


What onion do you use for curry?  Thin cut or thick?

What about a marsala?  There are as many formulae for marsalas as there are people on this earth.  Find one you like and add a generous spoonful or two towards the end of the cooking.  Stir in well.

What about ready-mixed spice packs or jars?  Some are not bad, some need jazzing up; some can be used to jazz up a tired curry. Watch their fat content, especially the ones in jars.  Remember, read the labels – see Dr Esselstyn in Footnote abelow  1

Footnote 1. See Dr Esselstyn’s Prevent and reverse Heart Disease Programme.

Posted: 17.10.17


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