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Don’t let spices shake your curry courage
Despite their name, Indian curries are not made with curry powder.
What kind of restaurant would you like to see in York?
When this question appears in social media, many people answer,
“Indian.” As it stands now, if you want to eat Indian food, you have to drive to Lancaster or Harrisburg. I’m a fan of Indian curries, dals and breads, but driving 50 miles round trip isn’t my idea of a night out.
With a good recipe, making Indian food at home is not difficult. The most daunting task is assembling the necessary spices for the dish. This can also be expensive if you buy the spices in jars at the supermarket.
Instead, I recommend visiting Kramer at market (www.krameratmarket.com), located in both Central Market and the New Eastern Market. There you can buy fresh spices in just the amounts you need.
Despite their name, Indian curries are not made with curry powder. “Curry” was a word coined by the British, an anglicization of kari, the word for sauce in Tamil, a South Indian language. Each “curry” is made from a different blend of spices, or masala, so a generic jar of curry powder is not the answer to every Indian dish you want to create.
One of my favorite Indian dishes is egg curry.
Because there is no meat or fish involved, the preparation isn’t arduous.
Before you begin, measure the spices and combine them in a small dish. Frying the spices in the oil with the onions enhances their original flavor, making them more intense. The garam masala is a pre-mixed blend of warm spices that you add at the end to give an additional flavor boost.
Serve the egg curry with basmati rice for an authentic Indian experience.
5 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, finely chopped
1 stick cinnamon
8 cardamom pods
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon each red and black pepper
2 cups crushed tomatoes
11/2 teaspoons salt
6 eggs, hard boiled
2 teaspoons garam masala
3 tablespoons fresh cilantro, finely chopped
In a large cast iron skillet, saute the onions in oil until brown, about 15 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger and saute for 2 minutes more. Add the cinnamon, cardamom, ground coriander, turmeric, red and black pepper and fry for about a minute.
Add the tomatoes and cook uncovered for 10 minutes. Add the salt and one cup water and mix. Simmer covered over low heat for 25 minutes.
When ready to serve, peel the eggs and cut them in half lengthwise. Add the garam masala, and simmer the sauce gently over low heat. Taste for salt. Arrange the egg halves in the sauce and continue cooking until the eggs are heated through.
Serve sprinkled with chopped cilantro leaves.
Note: You can make half the number of eggs and freeze half the sauce, adding more eggs when you reheat.
— Julie Falsetti, a York native, comes from a long line of good cooks. Her column, From Scratch, runs twice monthly in The York Dispatch food section.