10th June 2019
Muck and Brass and Curry

The rather picturesque Wee Isles off the south of Skye consist of Muck and Brass, Eigg and Chips, Rum and Coke, and Canna [insert your own joke here]. I visited while working my way through a series of curries. Or at least I started with Muck, and then the wind came and then the rain came. So that's as far as I got for a while. Scottish summer eh?

Bit of a funny old place, Muck. Incredibly busy when I was there, but I suspect populated almost entirely by visitors. As far as I saw there was a tea room, but not a single shop.
Very pretty views though.

Palak Murgh
Spinach and Chicken Curry
main fowl curry
I adapted Maunika Gowardhan's recipe by adjusting the spices and adding some lime pickle. I might be inclined to try it without the pickle next time though :)

I had only 500g of spinach, but frankly more would have been better - perhaps double.

Serves 6

Roughly grind the coriander seeds in a mortar. Mix into the yoghurt with the other marinade ingredients: lime pickle, salt, turmeric, chilli powder, garam masala. Joint the chicken into 8 pieces (breasts, thighs, legs, wings), leaving the skin on. Deeply score the pieces and mix with the marinade. Leave in the fridge overnight.

Set aside a handful or two of spinach (for texture) later. Blanch the rest of the spinach in boiling water for a few seconds then drain, and purée.
Purée the onion, and then the garlic and the ginger together, reserving a few slices of ginger cut into slivers for garnish.

Heat a generous quantity of ghee or oil in a large pan and fry the bay leaves, cassia and cardamoms until they fizz, then taking a few pieces of chicken at a time, scrape off excess marinade and fry them until lightly browned and set aside. Do this in batches until all the chicken is done. Scrape out the bits and spices from the pan and add to the chicken.
This will be a long, slow process generating a lot of spitting and burning. But if you want to leave the skin on, without it ending up too pale and fatty it seems necessary.
The alternative would be to skin the chicken, and then just fry up the marinated pieces after the onion, garlic and ginger without looking for much browning.
Reheat the oil, adding more if necessary, and fry the onion paste until cooked and the oil beginning to separate, then add the garlic and ginger paste and fry until it too smells cooked and the oil separates.
Stir in the tomato paste and cook again until the bitter smell cooks off and the oil separates.
Scrape in the leftover marinade and stir well, then add back the chicken, bring to a simmer (add a little liquid if too dry), cover and cook for 15-20 minutes until the chicken is tender.
Add the spinach purée, the handful of chopped spinach and cook through, season to taste, then stir through a swirl of cream.

Garnish with crushed dried fenugreek leaves, ginger slivers, coriander leaves and/or toasted cashew nuts. As you like.
Serve with rice or chapatis and more lime pickle on the side.
Not too dusty.
The lime pickle adds a nice hint of citrus zestiness, but don't overdo it.
Feel free to pep it up with some sliced green chillies though.

Cauliflower, Potato and Pea Curry
veg main curry
I combined a number of similar yoghurty cauliflower curry recipes and incorporated the potatoes and peas I had to hand.

Serves 6

Heat oil or ghee in a large pan.
Fry the panch poran and the chilli flakes until they pop and release their aroma.
Add the potato cubes and fry to colour.
Add the cauliflower florets and fry to colour.
Throw in the ground spices (except the garam masala) and the salt and fry, stirring to prevent burning the spices, until the oil begins to separate.
Add the dried fenugreek leaves and the chopped tomatoes. Cover and cook until the tomatoes collapse.
Add the peas and warm through (if frozen) or cook until tender (if fresh).
Stir in yoghurt and heat through.
Serve dressed with a sprinkling of garam masala and coriander leaves.
S'alright. Like all the other yoghurt-based cauliflower curries :)

Green Beans Curry with Coconut
veg vegan curry side
I had a go at currying a bag of reduced-price green beans.
To go with the other curries I had on the go.
The results weren't too awful.

Serves 4

Top and tail the green beans, then cut them into 2" sections.
Heat oil or ghee in a saucepan until shimmering, add the onion seeds and fry until they fizz and pop.
Peel and mince the ginger and add to the pan, frying until it colours.
Peel the garlic, slice thinly lengthwise and add to the pan, frying until it begins to colour.
Mix the ground spices and salt with enough water to make a thick paste and add to the pan, fry until the harsh aroma has cooked off and oil begins to separate.
Add the chopped tomato and stir through.
Add the green beans and stir through.
Mix the coconut water with enough hot water to make a thin paste then add to the pan. Mix thoroughly, adding more water if necessary and cook until the beans are tender.
A perfectly acceptable, if slightly underwhelming, mild curry.

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