Thursday, August 25, 2011

curry revisited

     Last month's Daring kitchen challenge was to do a traditional Southern Indian dish.  No problem, right?  Wrong! I found that the meat dishes all involved curry leaves... not to be confused with curry powder. It took a trip to out of state to find this elusive ingredient! Ok, so we didn't go out of state to just get curry leaves.  We went on a mini vacation and for us that involves either hitting an amusement park or visiting all the ethnic markets we can find.  We couldn't find any curry leaves in Portland but our lovely Indian hotel manager advised us to go to his favorite market in Vancouver, Washington. There I was not only able to find curry leaves but I gathered up several other interesting items off the shelves as well. Unfortunately, these leaves needed to be kept frozen.  I bought a small package and hoped and prayed that using our tiny cooler would keep them fresh enough.
     We later drove on up to Seattle to visit our son.  One of the best things about Seattle is their Pike Street Market.  I love browsing through all the fresh vendors! There are literally hundreds of shops throughout Pike street and right across the street we found an Indian market.  They carried dried curry leaves so I bought a package in case my frozen ones did not survive.  There are tons of ethnic markets in Seattle we just didn't have enough time to visit all of them.  Looks like we will have to do a return visit!
    Luckily, now that I have my ingredients, the August Monthly Challenge was to make an ethnic dish.  I wish to revisit the curry challenge and make a curry dish using the curry leaves. Totally worth the effort of seeking out the ingredients!  Yes, all of these ingredient can be bought online, but really, is there any fun in that?

Marsala Beef With Ginger and Curry Leaf
adapted recipe from
3 bay leaves
1 (1 inch) piece cinnamon stick 
5 cardamom pods
2 whole cloves  (recipe called for 4 but I am not a huge clove fan)
2 teaspoons fennel seeds
10 whole black peppercorns
2 pounds cross rib roast, cubed
3 cups chopped onion, divided
2 pasilla peppers,chopped
1 (1 1/2 inch) piece fresh ginger root, grated
6 cloves garlic,chopped fine
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons oil
1 teaspoon whole mustard seeds
4 fresh curry leaves
1/2 cup coconut butter
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 teaspoon ground black pepper

1. To make the masala powder: Grind the bay leaves, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, fennel seeds and peppercorns in a spice grinder until mixture is a fine powder. I used a coffee grinder that I set aside for grinding spices only.
2. Place the beef cubes, masala powder, 2 cups chopped onion, green chiles, grated fresh ginger, garlic and turmeric in a large, heavy pot. Add water to cover (about 1 cup) and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes until beef is cooked through. Add salt. Stir and continue to simmer about 10 minutes or until mixture is almost dry, but do not allow it to burn (add a bit more water, if necessary). Set aside.
3.  Over a large skillet over medium-high heat, add oil and mustard seeds; cook until they begin to pop. Immediately add remaining 1 cup chopped onion and stir over medium heat until onions soften and begin to brown, about 10 to 12 minutes. Add curry leaves and cook until brown, about 3 minutes. Add coconut butter ( used the butter found at the top of an unshaken can of coconut milk)

4.Stir in the beef mixture and black pepper,. Cook until heated through. Top with lemon juice just before serving.


  1. I can't wait until my little Curry Plant (a REAL one, too! That actual curry comes from! Hee!) gets large enough to harvest, cause I had to use dried curry leaf powder, which, just isn't the same.}:P

  2. Good to know that I can freeze my extra curry leaves, at $30 per pound I hate throwing even one away.

    Cook Lisa Cook