End of October 2018
Tchicken Tchuesday
Tchicken Tchuesday

So I arrived in Greenock just in time for Hallowe'en and KFC's bargain bucket Tchicken Tchuesday: 9 pieces for the special low price of £6. I know it's evil, but I love it.

For the past 4 months I've been engaged in a round-Ireland odyssey of Guinness and curries, pursuing all the ingredients available in Ireland which can be curried. Mostly potatoes, if you're interested. Though it now occurs to me that I failed to try currying Guinness. Hmmm, an opportunity missed. The quest became sufficiently desperate that I even broke into my boat's collection of buckwheat groats. I have no idea why even bought those!

So although the KFC makes a welcome break from the endless round of curries, I can't say the same for the inevitable Hallowe'en pumpkin - which has made its way into at least one more curry, and may yet appear in the future!

I shall be wintering here in Greenock, or rather Harmony will - I hope to spend as little time here myself as possible, KFC offers not withstanding. Although Greenock has some impressive Victorian architecture, fine old churches, and terrific views out of Greenock across the Clyde it is blighted by the usual British urban growth - tat shops, chav-malls and ugly sprawling fucking supermarkets™.

Enjoy your endless round of curries...

Creamy Matar Paneer
Pea and Curd Cheese Curry
curry main veg
It's easy enough to make a batch of paneer, even on a boat. All you need is some old milk and a lemon.

Serves 4

Cut the paneer into cubes and grill or fry in a generous amount of oil in a non-stick pan (good luck otherwise!) until golden all over. Set aside.
Purée the onion, garlic and ginger together to a paste, adding a little water if required.
Mix the salt and ground spices with a little water to make a paste.

Heat oil in a pan and fry the cumin seeds over high heat until they release their aroma and start to pop. Add the onion past and saute gently until beginning to colour a little around the edges and the oil begins to separated. Add the spices and fry until the oil separates.
Add the skinned, chopped tomatoes or tomato passata I used passata and also first fried a spoonful of tomato paste and cook for 5-10 minutes until broken down and thickening.

In a bowl beat the yoghurt and gradually add the sauce, whisking until smooth, then return back to the pan. This might help stop the sauce from curdling. Maybe. If you like you can stick blend the sauce at this point for extra smoothness. Add the paneer, peas, dried fenugreek and a swirl of cream, and simmer gently for 5 minutes until cooked through.
Pretty good creamy paneer.

Universal Chicken and Potato Curry
curry main fowl
You can follow this base method to make either a tomato or a coconut finished curry.
In which case you'll need a really big pan.
Or you can do as I did and make one of each flavour using two normal-sized pans.

Serves 8-10

Fry the whole spices in a very generous amount of oil or ghee until they spit and release their aroma. Add the chicken pieces and fry, skin down, in batches if necessary, until crisped. Set aside.

Chop the potatoes into largeish chunks and fry in the same oil until they take on a little colour. Add to the chicken.

Grind the ginger, garlic and onion into a paste and fry in the same oil until the harsh smell cooks off and the oil separates.
Mix the ground spices and salt with enough vinegar (or water) to make a paste. Add to the onion paste and fry until the oil separates. If using tomato purée add this next and fry a little. Add the tamarind, return the chicken and potatoes to the pot, pour in enough stock and tomato juice or passata if using to lubricate and simmer for 15 minutes.

Roughly chop the aubergines and add to the pot along with the coconut milk if using and cook for 10 minutes.

Serve, with a dressing of chopped coriander leaves if you like.
You can add dried red chillies to the whole spices, use a chilli sauce, or add green chillies towards the end to spice things up a bit.

Pumpkin and Buckwheat Curry
curry main veg
Now that I've emptied my boat of beans and porridge it's time to start on the buckwheat. BUCKWHEAT!
And it is pumpkin season.

The mango powder in this curry enhances the slight natural sourness of the buckwheat.

Serves 2

Cover the buckwheat with stock or water in a small saucepan and simmer until al dente (10-15 minutes).
Set aside.
It's a nice to heat the buckwheat dry in the pan first, shaking occasionally, until they turn a little toasty.
Heat a generous amount of oil or ghee in a large pan and fry the seeds until they spit and release their aroma, add the grated ginger and fry until it loses its harshness, then add the onions. Fry until they begin to caramelise around the edges.
Add the powdered spices. Fry until they release their aroma and the oil begins to separate.
Add the potato pieces, the yoghurt, and enough stock or water to cover put on a lid and simmer for 10-15 minutes until the potatoes soften a little. pour in any stock from the buckwheat, but likely it will have absorbed it all
Add the pumpkin pieces, curry leaves and chopped prunes. The original recipe adds a handful of frozen sweetcorn, which I'm unsure about, but anyway I didn't have any sweetcorn, but I did have prunes! Add enough water to just cover (the end result should be a dry curry), cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the buckwheat and continue simmering until the vegetables are soft.
Not bad, though it is a bit of a study in brown.

Buckwheat and Cashew Curry with Coconut Cream
curry main veg vegan
A mild oriental style curry, this is a good match for the characteristic fungal nuttiness of toasted buckwheat. The internet offers many versions like this one.

Serves 2

Toast the buckwheat and the cashews:
Either spread them over a baking tray and roast for about 10 minutes at 180°C, checking and tossing until golden, or fry them over low heat in a large dry frying pan tossing frequently until they take on some colour.

In a large amount of oil or ghee, fry the grated ginger until the moisture and harsh aroma has cooked off, then add the onions and fry until glassy. Add the minced garlic, cover and sweat for a few minutes.
Uncover and stir in the powdered spices and the palm sugar. Fry carefully until the harsh aroma is cooked off and the oil begins to separate, then add the toasted buckwheat and nuts, then mix in the coconut milk, soy sauce and sriracha (to taste).
Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes until the buckwheat is softened. Add more water if required.
It's not bad - as usual with buckwheat the result is surprisingly brown, and not terribly creamy, but brings out the mushroomy best of the groats.
Feel free to add some finely sliced kale before simmering for a bit of colour and texture.
Or serve over garlic-fried kale try adding some maple syrup too! or cabbage or broccoli.
Or do both!

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