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Curry and other spices

A few weeks ago, I wanted to make a curry but couldn’t find my curry powder, which was a commercial mixture. I’ve had bad luck with commercial curries anyway. I don’t use them enough, mainly.
I cobbled together a mixture of cardamon, cinnamon, cumin, hot pepper flakes and powdered ginger. It didn’t taste totally like curry but it was pretty good.

And it made me think. I’ve been using commercial mixtures because I’m not familiar enough with the cuisine to make it authentic. Also, I’m lazy.

I think authenticity is important. I think research is important. But, if it’s a Thursday night and I’m making dinner for just Jonathan and me, the only thing that counts is that it tastes good.

And, it is very authentic to make curry to suit family tastes. So I did some googling and found out that “yellow” curries are variations based on cumin, coriander and turmeric (plus other spices as the dish and taste require.)

I already owned cumin. I love it with lamb and Middle Eastern stews. So, I got the other two. Coriander has a lovely, fresh scent that seems to want to be with beef.

I used the combo plus black pepper on chicken and it was delicious.

I did more research (meaning I poured over a spice catalogue) and saw several things. 1. I need fenugreek. 2. Chili powder is ground chile, coriander and cumin. 3. Middle eastern flavors are cinnamon, cumin and coriander. 4. Adobo seasoning contains cumin (and garlic, pepper onion, chile and Mexican oregano) So, C is important as a first initial.

But also, if I make my favorite cuisines, I will go through ground cumin and coriander very quickly. This is, to me, a good thing, because I am still lazy and don’t want to grind things.

I need fenugreek. I need ground chiles. The rest of the ingredients are staples in my pantry anyway.

Meanwhile, I made a red lentil beef soup tonight, perfumed with cumin and coriander, plus fresh dill and garlic cloves. So much flavor. Authentic to no one but me.

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