The Boy and I consistently and most seriously acknowledge the fact of his Irish heritage having given him a genetic affinity for potatoes. While we can’t explain his attraction to curry by such convenient AND INCREDIBLY SCIENTIFIC means, we accept it without question as another certainty of our little life together (Do we like curry? Uh, is the Pope Catholic? Does the sun rise in the East? Does Bad Mama Genny like fishnets? I rest my case).
Thankfully, potatoes are also excellent budget food, and therefore, were to be a staple of our sobering (in many senses) week of post-Christmas meals. Meals the week after Christmas tend to involve…innovative…combinations. Take this morning’s scrambled eggs with hot dog wheels (“Mmm, wheeler-ific!”) or noon-time’s handful of leftover spiced pecans with a swig of grape juice (“Goes down so much smoother than Listerine!”). So while The Boy and I were naturally okay with the idea of a week of potatoes, we were also bored with the same old standby options. Enter…
You guessed it, my dollies: the mailman, unhindered by rain, sleet, or snow (or in the case of our neighborhood, stoned Mexicans, cantankerous elderly Asian men, or the cat-lady’s many savvy, trained-to-kill, unnecessarily aggressive “kitties,” if we may call them that), saved our day–NAY–our LIVES! That’s because the mail brought us a Christmas present from the Girl and the Girl II–a Curry Lover’s Gift Box.
from the Spice House!
I mean, great jumping Jehosephat, that kicks all kinds of ass!
For you poor souls who are unfamiliar with the Spice House, suffice it to say that they are a tiny chain of, well, spice houses that exist only in the greater Chicago/Milwaukee area (but by the magic of the Internet, absolutely anyone can enjoy their wares!). I’ve managed to spend hours perusing their collections, and have never left disappointed (Spiced cider blend anyone? Corned beef seasoning? But of course! I’ll take fifty!).
So after we got over the initial giddiness from huffing the Double-Strength Vanilla Extract and the Saigon Cassia Cinnamon they also sent us, our thoughts turned, naturally, to potato curry. A quick survey revealed that we also had peas and carrots, and a dinnertime star was born.
The curry that resulted was beyond good. If you can’t find a good hot curry powder, or if you’d like to try to work out your own blend, the one from Spice House is hand-mixed from “turmeric, Cayenne red pepper, China No. 1 ginger, Indian cumin, white pepper, cinnamon, fenugreek, fennel, nutmeg, arrowroot, cardamon, cloves, and Tellicherry pepper.”
Stick that in your tandoor and smoke it!
The addition of coconut milk in this recipe keeps things smooth, creamy, and, hellooooo, vegan! What are you waiting for? A freaking sign? Here is your sign, people! Here is your sign!
Thank goodness for the Girl and the Girl II. Thank goodness for the Spice House. But really, let’s not forget the real hero here–no, not the potato. It looks kinda like a potato, though. That’s right–the mailman.
Thank you, Mr. Mailman–this time, you’ve really managed to deliver! (You still receive no credit for last week’s shredded magazine, though I will grant that the mangled perfume samples made our building’s wretchedly stanky hallway somewhat more bearable.)
Potato Curry with Peas and Carrots
Makes 4 generous servings
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 Tablespoon hot curry powder, preferably from the Spice House (the Boy and I like it hot, as I’ve heard some do…use discretion, you may want to add it gradually)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 large onions, thinly sliced
8 oz. carrots, thinly sliced
1 1/4 cups frozen peas
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. turmeric
4 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 1″ chunks
1 can coconut milk
1 cup water (you may need more)
In a large, heavy-bottomed skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. When hot, add the hot curry powder and stir it around for 30 seconds. Add the onions to the pan and saute until they are tender and a bit golden. When you’re there, add the carrots, potatoes, and minced garlic. Give it all a good stir, and then add about a half cup each of water and coconut milk. Stir in the turmetic, salt, and coriander. Reduce the heat to low and cover it. Check every so often to stir the pot and check the moisture level. When the moisture is almost all absorbed, add more coconut milk and water, in equal parts. Continue to cook, stir, and add liquid until the vegetables are very tender and the curry is nice and thick. At this point, taste it to check that the spice levels are where you like them. When you’re there, stir in the peas and the rest of the coconut milk (and water if necessary), and cook it for another 3 minutes or so, until the peas are heated through and the curry thickens up again. Serve over brown rice.