Being on vacation and staying in is great. I am able to sleep in until 7:30 or 8 am! I can do as much yoga as my body allows me. I can watch all kinds of cooking shows and news on the Food Network that I usually don’t get to see. And, of course, I can cook all kinds of deliciousness that I don’t usually have time for.
As the temperatures fell to -15 C and snow fell all over the city, I wanted nothing more than to cuddle up on the couch with a steaming bowl of comforting curry. Curry has really become our comfort food and my go to when I don’t know what to make for dinner. Curry is fantastic, provided you have all the spices available. I stocked up on dried spices on our trip to India. They traveled with me from India to Korea, and now to Mongolia. All the spices provide such a great tool for creativity in cooking. Depending on how much of what you mix, a different masala is created. Today, I happened to have a pumpkin in the fridge. I thought it would mix great with the flavours of fennel. Off they went into the curry.
I have a confession to make; I like chopping. Yes, yes, I like chopping vegetables. I am a chopper. It is so soothing and relaxing. I think of absolutely nothing when I chop. It is a form of meditation sort of. I like chopping and line all the chopped vegetables on the chopping board before I begin to cook them. Weird? I don’t think so.
1/2 tbsp cumin
2 cardamom pods, cracked and emptied
mace from one nutmeg
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
2 tsp coriander seeds
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp Himalayan pink salt
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp chilli pepper flakes
1 bay leaf
1 tbsp coconut oil
1/2 onion, chopped
3 cm of raw ginger, shredded
3 tomatoes, pureed
1 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp garam masala
1/2 c of very thick coconut cream
1 c water
1/2 small pumpkin, chopped into cubes
1/2 block of firm tofu, chopped into cubes
1. First, make the spice mix. Mix cumin-pepper flakes in a mortar and pestle and crush them until powder form. You can alternatively use the spices whole. It is, after all, what I did for years before finally finding a mortal and pestle I liked. Just make sure to fish all the whole spices out before serving, unless you don’t mind them. I left them in.
2. Heat the oil in a pan. Toast the spices in the oil for a minute or two.
3. Add the onion and cook until translucent.
4. Add the ginger and cook until toasted.
5. Add the tomato puree and turmeric. Cook until a thick paste is formed by water evaporation.
6. Add the water and the pumpkin. Cook for about 5 minutes.
7. Add the tofu. Cook for 5 minutes and add the garam masala.
8. Taste. Do you need any salt? Mine did.
9. Once the pumpkin is cooked, add the coconut cream.
10. The curry should be cooked for about 10 minutes on low heat. Once it is done, cover with a lid and let rest for an hour.
This is a slow food. Cook it slowly to maximize the flavours. Savor it when you eat it. Taste everything in the bite; the warmth of the spices and the slight acidity of the pumpkin. Enjoy a relaxed evening.
Love and light,