By Ashley Pererya
When I tried curry for the first time, I was in Ireland. It was at a high priced restaurant in Dublin city center. The whole experience was a night of firsts. I had a lamb curry. Here in the States, lamb is not as accessible on a student budget. But while I was eating the curry, I thought this could easily be done with different kinds of ingredients, much like stir fry. It had its simplicity and the ability to involve any kind of vegetable or meat I wanted. As a college student, this was paramount to me.
So, when I came home from my trip, I began to experiment. Curry can be as fattening or healthy as you want. The vegetables can be cooked in water. Meat is not necessary. A curry doesn’t necessarily even need curry powder but can contain spices such as turmeric, powdered coriander, cumin, ginger and fennel seeds. Dairy products such as sour cream and milk or coconut milk can be used to create a creamy curry. This led to many random, experimental dishes of three bean curries and lentil curry. However, over time, I came to favor a curry dish I stumbled upon during my junior year. I call it simple potato curry.
6 potatoes cut into small pieces
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 Chopped onion
1 Bell pepper,
2-3 garlic cloves
Frozen peas or pre-cooked peas
Mushrooms (canned or fresh)
2 cups water
1.5 chicken bouillon pieces
3.5 bay leaves
¼ teaspoon paprika
¼ teaspoon chili powder
½ teaspoon cumin powder (or less)
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
¼ teaspoon ginger
¼ teaspoon curry powder (or coriander and fenugreek)
Cayenne pepper to taste
Salt and fresh pepper to taste
2 tbsp. of sour cream
1/2 cup whole milk (maybe more)
1 tablespoon of butter
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Cut up 6 potatoes (I used golden potatoes) into small pieces. Grease a pan with olive oil and place them in. Bake for 22 to 25 minutes (until soft…I don’t cook them on the stove because I don’t want them becoming mushy).
Cut up onion, bell pepper, and garlic. Sautee onion in olive oil/water for several minutes. Then add bell pepper and garlic. When they are nearly done, add in frozen peas and canned or raw mushroom of choice. Then cook for several minutes. Add potatoes after they cool off from the oven.
I started making the sauce by adding two cups of water and a piece and a half of chicken bouillon to the sautéed ingredients and bringing it to a boil. Then I started to add the spices slowly.
Salt and fresh pepper to taste after all the spices are in.
For the creaminess, I added: nearly two tablespoons of sour cream at least half a cup of whole milk (maybe more) and 1 tablespoon of butter.
While curry is like stir fry, there are a few differences. It is OK if you accidentally overcook some vegetables. Consider it like a stew. The body of it can be soft. I find the flavor to be the most important part. It is the heart of the curry. Curry does not really need exact measurements. You can mess up and fix a curry by taste.
Also, curry does not necessarily need to be served with rice. It can be served with pita or just on its own. It is completely versatile which is why it makes an easy recipe for a week’s worth of food — that is, if you’re willing to eat curry for an entire week. I normally freeze part of it. This saves me from walking around with yellow fingers every day from turmeric stains.
This curry is one of the easiest recipes I have written. For people who regularly make stir fry, it won’t be a far stretch. You’ll only be making a sauce in theory. Therefore, I give this recipe 2 out of 5 stars for difficulty. Sauces can slightly be finicky, but if you continually taste your sauce as you put in the spices, your curry will turn out well.