Tuesday, January 28, 2014

52WoC Week 3: One Pot - Curried Cabbage with Potatoes

I have a serious love for curries. I didn't discover how good they were until later in life but, man, when I did, it was life changing. It all started back in college when I had my first curry in a small place in Ithaca called Sangam1. By no means is it the most authentic nor even the tastiest Indian food but it started my love affair with curries. I was Flavor Flav and Sangam was my Surreal Life that would eventually lead me to my Flavor of Love like quest for curry. So when I moved to Houston, I knew there had to be a Hoopz for me. At the recommendation of Bizarre Foods: America's trip to Houston, I went to Raja's Sweets. Apparently it is one of the oldest Indian bakeries in the states, known for all of its traditional Indian desserts. It also has a nice selection of savory food served cafeteria style which is where I was first introduced into a dish of curried cabbage. I had never thought of using cabbage in a curry but it works so well and makes for a hearty vegetarian dish that doesn't require sides. Not to mention it can be made using only one pot.

I went to the lab (with a pen and a pad) and tried my best to replicate the curried cabbage and failed multiple times. Discovering Indian food so late in life, it was hard for me to judge the quantities of spices and how to execute the dishes. After multiple tries, I have finally come up with a curried cabbage dish that I love and thought was worth sharing. I ended up adding potatoes to make it a more fulfilling dish as opposed to a side. You could just as easily replace this with chickpeas if that's what you're into. The key to making this dish is really building the flavors layer by layer. As you'll see in the recipe you slowly build flavor at each step and it's important to taste at each step to see where you're going. If your foundation isn't good, the rest of your dish is dead in the water. And while I find this delicious, the words of Eddie Huang kept running in the back of my head: can you ever trust a gringo making ethnic food? You can trust this is delicious but in no way is it authentic.

Curried Cabbage with Potatoes

Qty Ingredient Procedure
1 medium onion
  1. Dice onion and sauté until translucent.
2 tbsp canola oil
4 gloves of garlic
  1. Add chopped ginger and garlic and cook until fragrant.
1 1/2 inch ginger root
1 tbsp curry powder
  1. Add the dried spices to the mix stirring constantly for 1-2 minutes.
1 tbsp garam masala
1 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp cumin
2 tsp coriander
28 oz canned diced tomatoes
  1. Add tomatoes and juices and bring to a simmer.
3 medium potatoes
  1. Add diced potatoes. Cover and simmer until tender, about 20 minutes.
1/2 head green cabbage
  1. Stir in sliced cabbage and cover until cooked, about 5 minutes.
1 cup half and half
  1. Add half and half and bring back up to a simmer.

Start by dicing your onion and sautéing it in a neutral oil until translucent over medium high heat2. Once fully cooked, add the chopped garlic and ginger until the just start to become fragrant - you are not trying to brown the garlic or ginger. This will not take longer than a minute or so. Make a well in the center of your pot and add the dry spices. These spices need to be cooked to bring out their oils and bring the most flavor out of them. Stir fairly constantly as the spices will have a tendency to stick to the bottom of the pan and burn. Do this for about a minute or two until extremely fragrant and add the canned tomatoes with juices. Once this comes up to a simmer, add the diced potatoes and bring back up to a simmer and cover. Lower heat to maintain simmer - let it go for 20 minutes or so until the potatoes are tender.

Once your potatoes are done, you are ready to add the sliced cabbage. I used about half of a head of green cabbage that weighed one pound. This could easily be replaced by a bag of coleslaw mix if you don't want to have excess cabbage hanging around; no one likes excess cabbage. Toss it in the curry sauce and cover to help cook the cabbage. I like my cabbage like I like my Barq's3, so I let it go for only 5 minutes. Let it go longer and you will end up with some dead ass cabbage. Once the cabbage is cooked to your liking, finish it with half and half. I like eating the curry as is but I know for others it will go nicely with rice or naan.

  1. Sangam has the best Indian food in Ithaca. Mehacks is for schmucks.  
  2. This recipe is pretty mild in terms of spice. If you want it to be hotter, add chilies with the onions or add cayenne to the spice mixture to add a bit of kick. 
  3. Barq's has bite. 

No comments:

Post a Comment