Dave's Curry

Stage 1

If you intend to serve Naan Bread, begin preparation for this and set the dough to rise.

Stage 2

Cube the meat. Indian meat traditionally has been a good deal tougher than ours, and responds well to the long slow cooking that allows the flavour of the spices to soak right through the meat. If we do that in New Zealand, our meat will fall apart. I typically use a 2cm cube compared with the more traditional 3-4cm cube, so that a greater surface area of meat is exposed to the spices. (Except for chicken, which I usually cook in 4-5cm pieces.)

For the same reason, I often use a ground meat base for a curry, but if you do this, make sure the meat is of good quality and low in fat. Animal fat does not on the whole contribute positively to the flavour of a curry.

Place the cubed meat in a deep, lidded casserole or cast iron lidded pot. If you like you can brown it beforehand. Pork responds best to this.

Stage 3

50g Ghee
1 teaspoon Mustard Seed
0.5 to 1.5 teaspoons Cumin Seed, lightly bruised
Up to 0.5 teaspoons Kalonji (Nigella)
300 g Onion, coarsely chopped

Melt the ghee in a heavy based pan and when it is hot, add the spices. When the mustard seed begins to pop, add the onion and stir to combine. Cook until the onion is transparent.

Stage 4

This is the point where each meat calls for a slightly different emphasis. For mutton and beef, I'd use slightly more cloves, cinnamon, allspice. For pork a little more caraway, a hint of nutmeg, a touch more cardamom, for chicken, less cloves, cinnamon etc and a touch more anise and fennel. (Just a very little more anise and fennel!!) Also, for chicken, a little less tomato paste.

1 level teaspoon fenugreek
1-2 teaspoons Ground Coriander
1 generous tablespoon grated Ginger Root, or equivalent ginger paste
2-5 cloves Garlic, chopped, or equivalent garlic paste
4-5 icecubes of tomato paste (40-50ml)
4-5 icecubes of coconut cream (40-50ml)
(The above two do not need to be in frozen form. That's just how I store the leftovers after opening a can. Otherwise they go mouldy in short order.)
0.75 teaspoons Ground Cardamom
0.5 teaspoons Ground Cinnamon
0.5 teaspoons Ground Mace or 0.3 teaspoons Nutmeg
0.3 teaspoons Ground Cloves or Allspice (Best with pork or mutton only, or a little less with beef.)
0.3 teaspoons Caraway Seed, lightly bruised
0.5 teaspoons Fennel or Anise Seed, lightly bruised
1 heaped teaspoon turmeric (best to add this near the end or it burns and becomes bitter)
To Taste: Chilli Powder, chopped green or ripe chillies etc
Water as needed to maintain sauce consistency, and prevent burning.

Turn the oven on to 180C to preheat.

Add the above spices, tomato and coconut cream, and stir to combine, adding water as necessary to maintain a consistency about that of thick gravy. Allow to cook for a few minutes while the oven heats up.

Using a spatula, pour the spice mix over the meat in the casserole or cast iron pot, and scrape pan clean to make sure nothing is left behind. (I'm like that.) Stir to combine and add water to just below the surface of the meat. Place in the oven and set the timer to around 80 minutes.

Stage 5

Pay attention to naan bread, punching down and kneading a little. If you wish to make a dal to accompany, you may wish to do this now.

Stage 6

To Taste: Salt and Fresh Ground Black Pepper. I usually use about a teaspoon of each

When the buzzer goes, remove the casserole from the oven and add the salt and pepper. Stir to combine, adding a little water if it appears to be somewhat dry. Replace casserole in the oven for a further 30 - 40 minutes.

If you are intending to have rice with your curry, now is a good time to begin preparation. If you are serving naan and/or dal, you may wish to omit the rice.

Stage 7a (Naan cooked in oven)

60g Melted butter
Sesame Seed, Rock Salt (optional)

Remove casserole from the oven and check for flavour and tenderness. Set aside.

Turn oven up to 220C, and place one oven shelf about 15cm from the top and the other about 15 cm from the bottom of the oven. Place a baking sheet on each to heat up.

Roll out the individual naans to about 5mm thickness. Oil the hot baking sheets, place four naan on each sheet and brush with melted butter. If you wish to add a little sesame seed or rock salt at this point, go ahead and try it. Likewise, if you want to incorporate a little garlic paste with the melted butter, that's another option. Replace the baking sheets in the oven, and monitor carefully. As soon as the top shelf naan begin to brown, switch the two shelves and continue cooking until the remaining naan have turned golden brown on top. Repeat if necessary, depending on the number of naan you require.

Stage 7b (Naan cooked on blacktop, barbecue, or in cast iron frypan)

  1. Heat the barbecue to about the same heat you'd use to grill steak. (If you're doing this inside on the stove, use a heavy base pan and a 5-6 setting on a 12 point thermostat. Get the pan well heated to begin with, so there isnt a hot patch in the middle and colder areas near the edge of the pan.)
  2. Organise tongs, melted butter, pastry brush and a plate for cooked bread. Once you start there won't be time to run errands.
  3. Roll out all the lumps of dough to about 5-6mm thick. You will need to place greaseproof paper between them to avoid their recombining. For a standard frypan, 80g pieces are about right. A blacktop or barbecue allows a little more leeway..
  4. Lightly oil the barbecue surface you will be using. A flat iron plate is best. Brush the top of the first piece with melted butter and place butter side down on the barbecue. Repeat for pieces 2-4, depending on how much space you have available on the barbecue.
  5. Bubbles will start to appear on the surface in less than a minute. Brush tops with melted butter and turn over. Allow another 30 seconds to a minute, and stack on plate ready for eating. Repeat process until dough is finished.








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