Yesterday afternoon, I set out to make a BIG Pot of Curry.
It was time.
We are now just about settled into the new house. Earlier in the morning I had just bought – at last – a “Hi Fi Stereo (for us oldies)” on which to play my beloved collection of LP’s, there was little chance of me being called out to work and there were a few six packs in the fridge that had been calling out to us throughout the week.
Yip, it was time.
My very co-operative butcher put together a great deal for me, and cut a whole mutton leg as well as threw in a few extra knuckles – at the fabulous price of R99/kg. 4.12kg’s, to be precise.
So out came the AMC 40CM Magnum. A 28L beast of an electrified pot. It has been said that many a home cook has fallen in, never to be seen again.
I peeped in, a little scared, and poured Sunflower Oil until it covered the base. I intentionally wanted to go easy on the oil.
To that I added 8 large onions that had been finely chopped, as well as a handful of curry leaves.
Once the onions started to soften, I added half a large clove of garlic and huge piece of ginger, that reminded me of the index finger attached to 160kg of muscle who we called, “Samajoor”
The ginger and garlic were grated before I added them.
Credence Clearwater Revival was playing in the background, the familiar sound of an old LP with it’s occasional pops, hisses and scratches edged me on. You can do it, you can do it.
Now, 4.12kg’s of meat would require at least 16 tablespoons of our All-in-One Masala.
I say, at least, because we know that 16 level tablespoons is the base recipe, but if we want it a little stronger we simply heap our tablespoons a bit more and more until we hit the perfect ratio.
I was worried that approx 150g would be to too much for the amount of oil that I had in the pot, so I drew on a lesson from Eshana Suleman and added the mutton first, gave it all a good stir and then added the masala.
This worked very well, and allowed me to coat all the meat in the masala, without risking burning the masala.
The pot dried up pretty quickly, so I added about a cup of boiling water in and mixed it all up, turned down the heat and put on the lid.
Now it was time to chop up 10 Jam Tomatoes.
I used to grate them and get all scientific and complicated, but nowadays I just chop them up roughly and throw them in. I feel that if you cook your curry properly, it all breaks down and there is no difference than if you grated it.
I may do an experiment one day, but for now, I know how I would vote on the matter.
So boom. I open the lid and a cloud of steam hits me in the face, like a slap from the previously mentioned Samajoor. (but that is another story)
The kitchen smells heavenly and I open the kitchen windows, hoping that the neighbours catch a whiff, as a prelude to what they will be eating later.
My 5 year old daughter wanted to choose the next, “CD”. I tried to explain the difference between a record and a CD, but was very happy that she chose Neil Young.
So to the crooning sounds of Neil Young and my third Black Label, it was now time to peel the potatoes.
The heat in the pot was reduced so that the steam was only very slightly escaping out the sides of the lid, the trick with an AMC is to get it on that cusp – where the steam only just starts to escape.
After 3 songs by the Master Neil Young and complaints from my wife that the music was putting her to sleep and some rather honest descriptions from the 5 year old, it was time to liven things up with some Guns n Roses.
I poked all the potatoes a number of times, by now I was headbanging to the brilliant, “Restless Life” off the album GnR Lies.
Glad that I did not poke my fingers, I poured a couple of drops of Egg Yellow onto my potatoes, mixed it up to cover all the pieces and let them stand for a bit.
The pot had been cooking for probably 45 mins by now, so I tested a piece of meat and it felt like it was getting nice and soft, so I added the potatoes.
Some Joe Cocker, Boston & Dire Straits later, with another beer down the hatch, it was time to check on the progress.
Eish, either the potatoes had gone soft very quickly or I had put them in too soon, as they were ready but the meat still had a bit more to go until it was that tender gelatinous mouthful of perfection that we all expect out of knuckles.
I counted the time on my fingers and decided that I added the potatoes too soon.
Take the very sensible and “tried and tested” advice of Paul Snyman and simply remove the potatoes and then add them back a little later, or try and be a clever Trevor and reduce heat and coach it home with good intentions and a vision of the potatoes being like “balls of mash potato, that had been scooped up with an ice cream scoop”
I decided on the latter, because firstly I was still scared of falling into the pot and secondly, it seemed like such a big mission.
In retrospect and in the pursuit of perfection, I should have removed the potatoes, added a bit more water and let the meat cook a bit more, as the smaller pieces of potatoes cooked down which resulted in quite a thick gravy.
Not that I, or anybody else was complaining, the flavour was absolutely spot on and the meat was soft.
Unfortunately, I noticed half was through the cook, that the neighbours had gone out and were still out, so they missed out on Bunny Chows, but I am just about to make a pile of Toasted Curry Sandwiches and send some over.
All in all, a great afternoon. Family, Music, Curry and a few beers while being safe at home.
If you would like to try our Durban Curry Lovers, All-in-One Masala, you can purchase from our online store www.currylovers.co.za
We deliver nationwide and internationally. If your country is not on the list, then pls contact me and I will arrange the delivery.