Honouring the nation’s favourite cuisine, National Curry Week runs 7th-12th October and DabbaDrop have put together some easy recipes.
DabbaDrop is a sustainable takeaway service that delivers a weekly-changing set menu of plant-based curries direct to doors, weekly or fortnightly.
Taking things back to basics, DabbaDrop have shared their go-to Curry Powder recipe, the basis for any good curry. It can also be used as a spice mix rubbed onto practically anything that goes under the grill or on the BBQ. Dal is a DabbaDrop classic, featuring in their set meal delivery every week and this no-nonsense recipe nails it every time. Okra, one of India’s most recognisable vegetables features alongside aubergine in a delicious tangy, spicy dish curry for those looking to experiment.
DabbaDrop have also shared a few ‘curry hacks’ – simple hints and tips to help elevate your curry to the next level.
DABBADROP CURRY POWDER/SPICE MIX
This recipe makes enough for one cup. Use it liberally in a tomato or coconut based curry or as a spice rub for grilled vegetable, tofu or meat. We love it as a tadka* on our dal and raita and sometimes use it to spice up our peanut butter sarnies too!
30 dried red chillies, preferably Kashmiri or Byadagi chilli (but any long dried variety, not Thai birds eye chillies as they’re too spicy here)
2 cinnamon sticks
1/2 cup coriander seeds
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
2 tablespoon fennel seeds
Dry roast all spices individually, move them around the pan and don’t let them burn. You might want to open the doors when you do the chillies, the smells are beautiful but it can catch the back of your throat.
You could also roast them all together in the oven, preheated at 170 deg for 10-15 minutes. Keep an eye on them so they don’t burn.
Once all the spices are cool, grind to a fine powder in a coffee/spice grinder.
*tadka is an Indian cooking method where you infuse oil with whole spices or spice mixes and aromatics for a minute or two and then pour over your dish to give it added depth and flavour.
DABBADROP HOUSE DAL
250g yellow moong dal
1 tsp turmeric
Salt to taste
200g Coconut milk (optional)
1 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tsp black mustard seeds
10-15 curry leaves (fresh best but dried perfectly fine too)
Squeeze of half a lime
4-5 strands of coriander, left long and whole
Thoroughly rinse the dal. Add the water and cook until the dal splits and begins to get mushy – around 20 mins. Add more water if needed – the cooked dal should be a porridge-like consistency.
Add the oil and mustard seeds to a separate frying pan. Wait until you hear all of the mustard seeds have popped before turning the heat off and adding the curry leaves, then 2 tsp of the spice mix, along with the turmeric. Add this mixture to the cooked dal and stir to combine. Add coconut milk if you prefer a creamier consistency and season with salt to taste. Squeeze on some lime to finish and garnish with long strands of coriander.
DABBADROP AUBERGINE, OKRA AND TOMATO CURRY (AKA CHETTINAD KARA KUZHAMBU)
FOR THE MASALA
Use the spice mix above, for two people you’d need three – four teaspoons depending on how hot you like it.
FOR THE CURRY SAUCE
• 2 tablespoon vegetable oil
• 1/4 teaspoon mustard seeds
• 2 sprigs fresh curry leaves
• 1 medium sized onion, chopped
• 3 ripe tomatoes, chopped
• 1 aubergine, chopped into 2cm chunks
• 6-8 pieces of okra
• 1 tablespoon tamarind paste
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1 teaspoon jaggery/brown sugar
Toasted coconut flakes, crispy onions, sesame seeds, chilli flakes and coriander
Heat up your oven to 180deg. Lay out your aubergine in a tray and lightly cover with oil and salt.
Roast for 20-25 minutes until golden brown. When there’s 10 minutes left to go, add in the okra, whole and let it roast until it’s a dark green colour (10-12 minutes).
Heat the oil for the curry in a wide but shallow sided pan. Add in the mustard seeds and curry leaves. Let it sizzle and splutter and when it starts to go quiet, add in the chopped onions and sauté for a few
minutes. Add in the spice mix and cook for a minute or so while stirring and then add tomatoes. Cook until the tomatoes are falling apart and you can see the oil separating from the sauce. Add some water at this stage if you’d like more of a gravy for your curry.
Add in the aubergine and drumstick/okra and tamarind paste, salt and jaggery/brown sugar. Cover with a lid, turn down the flame and cook for 2-3 minutes until it all comes together and the sauce is coating the veggies.
The curry should be tangy, spicy, sweet and sour. Serve hot with brown rice or flaky Kerala paratha, garnished with lots of chopped coriander, toasted coconut flakes, crispy onions, chilli flakes and sesame seeds.
DABBADROP CURRY HACKS·
If you’re using mustard seeds, always ensure they’re cooked out in very hot oil. You’ll know they’re done when they stop popping. They can add a bitter quality if they’re not properly cooked out·
Tumeric is a delicate spice so if you’re using it in your cooking, always ensure it’s over a very low heat as it can burn easily·
Fresh curry leaves might seem like a difficult item to source, but using fresh rather than dried really does elevate a dish. If you can’t find any, ask your local greengrocer – they may be able to pick some up when they’re at the early morning markets·
Garnishes maketh the meal! Make sure you have plenty of chopped herbs, crispy or pickled onions, nigella or sesame seeds and of course chilli to add to your curry masterpiece. The more textures and colours the better. Your taste buds will thank you