I tried Indian food for the very first time when I was in London at the age of 18. Considering Indian food is to London what Tex-Mex is to Austin, I was in an ideal place to get hooked on the cuisine. Right? Right.
But I hardly remember what it tasted like. And oh how I wish I did.
I grew up in a small, rural Texas town. The most ethnic restaurant in it was, of course, Tex Mex, so my culinary upbringing was sheltered beneath all of that yummy Southern-y goodness: chicken fried meats, green beans, corn, potatoes, barbecue, anything and everything smothered in cheese if it sat still long enough…
I’m kidding, that last one is just American food. ‘Mmmmerica.
All that to say, I didn’t branch out into other culture’s foods until college, when one night, the boy made a chickpea curry over rice from the blog The Vegan Stoner. Perhaps it took me aging a few years, or just the fact that a handsome boy with hobbit hair and the arms of a Disney prince was making me dinner, but from that dish on I was hooked on Indian food.
It’s filled with some of the most satisfyingly complex flavors I’ve ever tasted, which might explain why most recipes for Indian cuisine have a craaaaaaazy long list of ingredients. But you know what? It’s worth it. Somehow sweet and savory, earthy and light, fragrant and (should you choose) insaaaaanely spicy. Coconut milk, turmeric, cumin, coriander, cayenne, dried red chilies… Any way you toss them all together (because we’ve done quite a few variations), it makes for one surprisingly comfortable meal. One that I’ve never craved like any other.
And you know what’s best about making curries? It’s prime opportunity to purge your refrigerator of any vegetables that are lingering on the verge of trashcanhood. Carrots crying out for attention whilst stuffed deep in the bowels of the crisper? Toss ’em in. Half used box of mushrooms starting to enhance their fungus-y appearance? Add it. Celery turning limp and in need of a boost? Throw it away, because celery is the absolute worst. We’ve also made curries using a trusty bag o’ frozen vegetables, so utilize whatever you have on hand.
We prefer our dishes prescription strength spicy, so if you’re the type who likes to wave a jalapeno at your salsa instead of dive into the heat, maybe decrease the measurements of cayenne pepper and chili powder to your liking. But believe me, the balance of spice with the cool creaminess of coconut milk is an amalgamation of flavors you don’t want to miss. Toss this over plain rice, like we did in the photos, or serve over our Yellow Jasmine Rice.
Now, if you’ll excuse me… I’m going to go scrounge for the leftovers.