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alexsmom
04-23-2016, 01:04 PM
Please help!
I want to make yummy curries at home (since itd be impractical to eat them as often as I want in restaurants (daily, usually twice)).
I browse the web for panang, for tikka masala and chicken biriyani.... and the recipes usually involve ingredients Ive never heard of (except on other recipe sites).
Fish sauce? Seriously? Do I have to keep a bottle of rotted, liquified fish decomposition in my kitchen?
Garam Masala? What one do I get? Amazon sells them (unlike my local grocery store) from between $5 and $20.
Ive done the (wildly inconsistent) jar o simmer sauce (about $7 per meal). Ive tried a bunch of the Seasoning Packets (Think Lawrys Sloppy Joe seasoning but rebranded to look asian).

Are there recipes out there that an average american housewife will recognize as her favorite dishes from the restaurants? I dont want super authentic... just something I can cook for dinner without it being a special occassion.
OH and Id name my next kid after anyone who can provide a reasonable fascimilie of tom kah gai, that coconut lemongrass soup (with chicken).

Mariam
04-23-2016, 01:07 PM
I can provide zero help, but would love to know too! :)

inmom
04-23-2016, 01:53 PM
Um, I'm probably no help. My dh LOVES to cook and has all kinds of ethnic foods in his repertoire. However, we ARE the ones that have fish sauce, palm sugar, grow our own Thai, Italian, and holy basil, umpteen kinds of mustard, lemon grass, and an entire kitchen cabinet (all three shelves) jammed with spices.

I'll take a look at some of his curry recipes, though, and see what I can come up with.

ElizabethK
04-23-2016, 03:19 PM
I use the jars. And store bought naan. Very authentic, I know.

Years ago, before kids, we were regulars at an Indian restaurant about a mile from our house. And I mean regulars. We went there for years and were on a first name basis with the servers and owners. Knowing how much we loved the food, one of the servers actually gave us an Indian cookbook.

The cookbook was in English but it was very authentic and very, very detailed. I think I tried one or two dishes, but they were so involved, and I ended up substituting all sorts of things (like ghee?), and skipping steps to avoid having to spend two days on a meal, so my end result wasn't terribly accurate.

So now I cook with the jars.

I know none of that was very helpful, but I did make curry last night with two jars of Taste of India (or something like that) sauce, chicken, cauliflower, rice, and naan. My 8 year old and I approved. My husband said it needed more cream, but he likes Indian food that fills you up for two days.

In a recipe search, I would search for Chicken Tikka Masala - that's one of the most common curry dishes. It's also called Murgh Tikka Masala. My spellings could be off, but hopefully something will come up. Chicken Vindaloo is another one, but it is a really spicy dish. I find it almost inedible but my husband likes it. He also chooses 'extra spicy' when we have Thai food.

ejsmom
04-23-2016, 05:54 PM
We love Indian food here. I don't think I could replicate what we get at the restaurant we frequent, but a "good enough" version for nights when we need a quick meal is a jarred sauce by the brand Seeds of Change I get at a local upscale grocer. Maybe you can find it near you, or amazon carries it. It will quell the craving for Indian food with some chopped up chicken meat, veggies, and I enrich it with butter (I don't usually have ghee on hand.) It's not restaurant quality, but the price is far more reasonable. It is probably as good as I would make it myself, even with a fully loaded spice cabinet. I sometimes add a bit more of whatever spice I seem to be in the mood for.

I have made kheer at home. It's not difficult, but is time consuming. It was not much different than what we eat out. I am not a fan of raisins so I leave those out and top with chopped pistachios. Rosewater for some reason is difficult to find at times, but does make a noticeable difference. I generally use recipes from blogs and Allrecipes and make a recipe 4 or 5 times, adjusting the amounts/ingredients from the various sources until I get a recipe the way I like it.

I hope someone posts a great easy recipe for curry!

Artmama
04-23-2016, 06:30 PM
Two of the moms from our CSA started a business making spices. Great stuff if you are looking for an authentic mixed spice to use. They have recipes on the web site too. Check them out here: Spice Tree Organics (http://www.spicetreeorganics.com/)

muddylilly
04-23-2016, 06:38 PM
Maybe search for some youtube videos that show some tricks of the trade. Have you tried that?

Not much help here, but now I'm hungry. Thanks a lot :)

Avalon
04-23-2016, 09:38 PM
I make lots of curries and I usually use ginger, cumin, coriander, turmeric, and sometimes cinnamon. I've always been able to find them at the grocery store. Coconut milk and curry paste are not usually hard to find, and make a fabulous soup or curry, too. Fish sauce keeps forever in the fridge. Honest.

Making a really authentic biryani or pho soup is much harder (they're the foods I'm currently obsessed with). I work at an immigration centre, and a lot of people there get their spices from their home countries, or they know a local friend who makes mixes for them. I'm jealous.

KittyP
04-24-2016, 04:14 AM
Short answer: no. Longer answer: what spices are you talking about specifically? I saw fish sauce (can be replaced with soy, I personally think it tastes terrible, though) and garam masala (I make my own. It's pretty easy and tastes a million times better). I make my own curry paste as well, it's really not hard and you can make enough for several batches of curry for about the price of one jar of premade stuff. I use the recipes from True Thai by Victor Sodsook and love all of them. Here's his recipe for Tom Kha Kai:

3 cups Chicken Stock
8 large slices (about 5 1/2 oz) unpeeled ginger (preferably Siamese)
1 large stalk lemon grass, tough outer leaves discarded, trimmed to 12 inches and angle-cut into 2 pieces
12 fresh Kaffir lime leaves OR thin strips of peel from 1 lime
2 cans (14 oz each) unsweetened coconut milk
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into bite size pieces
1 1/2 - 2 Tbs chili-tamarind paste
1/4 c fresh lemon juice
2 1/2 Tbs coconut palm sugar OR golden brown sugar
2 1/2 Tbs Thai fish sauce
1/2 lb mushrooms, sliced
5 small Thai chilis, stemmed and lightly crushed

Put stock, ginger, and lemon grass in soup pot. If using Kaffir lime leaves, tear each leaf in half and add to pot. If using lime peel, add to pot. Gradually bring the stock to a boil over med-high heat. Boil for 1 minute, stir in coconut milk, and return to a boil. Stir in chicken and return to a boil. Add chili-tamarind paste, lemon juice, sugar, and fish sauce. Stir until the chili-tamarind paste and sugar are dissolved and blended. Add the mushrooms and simmer until just tender, about 1 minute. Float the chilis on top and turn off heat. Serve immediately.

KittyP
04-24-2016, 04:44 AM
And because I can't sleep (and love geeking over food) here's his panang recipe. This is for the curry paste itself, to be used on anything you want:

1 pkg (3 oz) dried red new mexico chilis
1 Tbs + 1 tsp whole coriander seeds
2 Tbs shrimp paste wrapped neatly in a double layer of aluminum foil OR 3 Tbs creamy peanut butter
2 fresh Kaffir limes OR 1 small lime
10 fresh Kaffir lime leaves OR 1/2 tsp grated lime zest
2 1/2 Tbs chopped cilantro, including stems
1 large stalk lemon grass, tough outer leaves discarded, lower stalk trimmed to 3 inches and finely sliced
2 Tbs finely chopped, peeled fresh Siamese or common ginger
1/3 c chopped garlic
1/3 c chopped shallots

Stem chilis and shake out most pf the seeds. Cut chilis in half lengthwise and remove any tough, dried ribs. Cut crosswise into 3/4-inch pieces and put them in a bowl. Cover with water and soak for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, dry roast the coriander seeds in a small skillet over medium heat for 3-5 minutes, until toasty and aromatic, shaking the pan often to prevent burning. Transfer coriander to a small bowl and set aside to cool.

(Skip this step if using peanut butter.) Set skillet back over medium heat. Place the foil wrapped shrimp paste in skillet and cook for 5 minutes, until aromatic, turning packet over once or twice. Remove packet from skillet and set aside to cool.

Put the roasted coriander in a large heavy mortar and grind to a powder. Transfer to the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Peel Kaffir limes. Mince the peel and set aside.

If using the Kaffir lime leaves, stack them and cut them into fine slivers.

Combine lime peel, lime leves, cilantro, lemon grass, and ginger in the mortar and pound for a minute to break down fibers. transfer crushed mixture to food processor. Unwrap the shrimp paste and add to food processor, or if using peanut butter, add to food processor.

Drain chilis and add to food processor, reserving soaking liquid.

Process ingredients until rich, moist paste forms, stopping occassionaly to scrap down the sides of the bowl. Add a few tablespoons of chili-soaking liquid now and them, if needed, to ease grinding.

This paste will store in an airtight container in the fridge for 1 month, or in the freezer for 3 months. Makes 1 2/3 cups.

alexsmom
04-24-2016, 09:37 AM
Thanks everyone!
Im glad Im not the only one who resorts to Jar O Simmer Sauce!

What exactly is in *fish sauce*? Ive read thst its absolutely revolting to smell...

And shrimp paste? But it can be substituted with peanut butter?! Wouldnt thst give a totally different taste and effect?

Ive found ginger root in the grocery store, and Im willing to go back and look again for lemongrass... Keffir lime leaves, Im not so sure about. Same with exotic varieties of peppers. :(

I guess the short answer really is... no, not really. Not going to find recipes I can start on at 4:30 for a 5:15 dinner. (Other than jar o simmer sauce.)

The local indian restaurant owns a grocers, too, about a block away; I will check them out. :p

KittyP
04-26-2016, 03:14 AM
Fish sauce is just fish (often sardines) fermented in salt until they liquefy basically. It smells like salty seaballs, but the flavor is much more mellow than soy sauce; not as salty or sour and the smell dies almost as soon as you add it. As for peanut butter, it's Sodsook's answer to a vegetarian substitute. It adds the texture, but doesn't add the umami of shrimp paste. It still tastes fine as long as you don't use an overly sweet pb, but it takes a little more curry paste to get the same amount of flavor in your curry. I've even made it without either of them, but it does come out a little...flat. BUT, once you make the curry paste it's a pretty fast dinner to put together, I can usually get a curry ready to serve before the rice finishes cooking.

As for the peppers, I've never had trouble finding them at conventional grocery stores, just look in the Hispanic food section. I have no idea why they're always there, but it's usually a little section of dried peppers in baggies. Lemon grass is the same, in the produce section with the fresh herbs. If you're really lucky you'll find it pre-pasted in a tube. Breaking lemongrass down is the worst part of the whole paste making recipe. I've never found any real difference between Kaffir lime and regular lime in the recipes so I don't bother looking for them.

Oh, and the other recipes, biryani and tikka masala, you could try 660 Curries (http://smile.amazon.com/dp/0761137874/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pC_nS_ttl?_encoding=UTF8&colid=3RJA9CXO0H7M2&coliid=I2Q64CHFDUCPRO) by Raghavan Iyer. There's a whole chapter on biryani and several masalas. It's on my wishlist and has excellent recipes for dry curry mixes, a specialty of Indian cuisine and much simpler to make that Thai-style wet curry bases. I think I saw someone wanted a Pho recipe and I have an excellent one for that as well.

Also, I may be obsessed with food. XD

TFZ
04-26-2016, 09:42 AM
This looks easy and yum: https://www.facebook.com/buzzfeedtasty/videos/1663360610583248/

I love these Tasty videos. It makes me think I can cook.

alexsmom
04-26-2016, 05:36 PM
Okay Kitty, Im gonna try making at least that panang base. It seems like a lot of work, but if it then makes a lot of panang dinners (just add coconut milk?), I can see it being feasible.

alexsmom
03-26-2017, 08:12 PM
Woo hoo! I think Ive found a gateway curry. :)

Kuku Paka Recipe (Kenyan chicken in coconut curry sauce) | Whats4eats (http://www.whats4eats.com/poultry/kuku-paka-recipe)

And it ties in so well with African Civilization documentaries!

It includes ginger, which is usually a bit of a PITA for me cuz its woody and hard to mince... but this you just throw in the blender when youre making the "pre-spice paste". (I used my stick blender sttachment.)

No fish paste, no exotic specialty store ingredients. :)

inmom
03-26-2017, 08:48 PM
Good to hear! It's on our menu list for Friday this week.

I've printed a recipe for chapati to serve it over. Should be fun!

Artmama
03-26-2017, 09:01 PM
Two of the moms in our CSA started their own spice business and their stuff is AMAZING! It is all organic - Middle Eastern fare. Their website has recipes too! I used the chia confection blend making apple butter last fall and it was fantastic. The NYC halal cart chicken has become a go-to favorite in our house too. Spice Tree Organics (http://www.spicetreeorganics.com)

Luv2HS
03-27-2017, 04:57 AM
Fish sauce is really necessary to get the flavor you seek. It doesn't smell in your pantry at all! I keep a bottle as a staple. This is Thai, but I thought I'd share. It's super easy, accessible, and yummy. It's Vietnamese.
A marinade for grilled pork:
3 TBS vegetable oil
3 TBS fish sauce
3 TBS brown sugar
2 TBS garlic
lots of fresh ground pepper
Marinade thin cut pork for 20 minutes then grill until cooked through; we like ours a teeny bit charred on the outer edges. Serve with kim chee (I know Korean but we like it), rice and salad.

crazyme
03-27-2017, 11:15 AM
I have an Indian friend--unfortunately, it's a 'he' and he said that men were never allowed in the kitchen growing up, so most of his food comes from packages and such. But I did learn that there is a finishing seasoning to vegetables that is common in Indian cuisine (he is from southern India): saute cumin and black mustard seeds in Ghee (or butter or oil), then add to your vegetables for the last couple of minutes. It really does make a difference!

But that's all I got (well, that and I've been able to find garam masala at most stores--it's a cinnamon-pepper spice blend). I desperately need Indian cooking lessons. As for Thai, I make a Pad Thai that we like, but isn't really like what you get at a restaurant (I add in lots of vegetables like broccoli and carrots, but I always forget the bean sprouts).

inmom
03-28-2017, 12:31 PM
Woo hoo! I think Ive found a gateway curry. :)

Kuku Paka Recipe (Kenyan chicken in coconut curry sauce) | Whats4eats (http://www.whats4eats.com/poultry/kuku-paka-recipe)

And it ties in so well with African Civilization documentaries!

It includes ginger, which is usually a bit of a PITA for me cuz its woody and hard to mince... but this you just throw in the blender when youre making the "pre-spice paste". (I used my stick blender sttachment.)

No fish paste, no exotic specialty store ingredients. :)

Alexsmom: Did you cut up/debone the chicken, or did you cook it still on the bone? Mine is already cut...didn't know if I should reduce the cooking time as a result.

alexsmom
03-28-2017, 12:51 PM
I cut up boneless chicken breasts into chunks since thats what I had in my freezer, and thats what we are used to seeing in restaurants when we order.

It was my first time making it, so I always give some leeway on the spice level... and I omitted the hot chiles. It was a little underseasoned, just saying. I might put some red pepper flakes in next time. Or go heavier on the ginger. YMMV. (My picky older boy loved it, though.)
And maybe finish it with a bit of heavy cream, since I am an American who likes creamy sauces. :p

Making the spice paste with the onion in the mini blender was the revolution for me - now I think.... oh, I dont have to buy the overpriced paste packets from the store now, if I can just get the flavors tuned. :)

Oh, and I browned the breasts a little first (putting pink chicken in a simmer sauce seems weird to me), then simmered it for about a half hour while the rice cooked. Came out fine.

inmom
03-28-2017, 01:07 PM
I cut up boneless chicken breasts into chunks since thats what I had in my freezer, and thats what we are used to seeing in restaurants when we order.

It was my first time making it, so I always give some leeway on the spice level... and I omitted the hot chiles. It was a little underseasoned, just saying. I might put some red pepper flakes in next time. Or go heavier on the ginger. YMMV. (My picky older boy loved it, though.)
And maybe finish it with a bit of heavy cream, since I am an American who likes creamy sauces. :p

Making the spice paste with the onion in the mini blender was the revolution for me - now I think.... oh, I dont have to buy the overpriced paste packets from the store now, if I can just get the flavors tuned. :)

Oh, and I browned the breasts a little first (putting pink chicken in a simmer sauce seems weird to me), then simmered it for about a half hour while the rice cooked. Came out fine.

Thanks for the tips. Dh and I like our food pretty spicy. We'll put in either dried Thai hot peppers or frozen diced ancho peppers.(Yes, wrong cuisine but close enough.)

Sometimes the coconut milK we buy is very thick (Chaohok or even Adli's brand), so that might make it the desired creaminess.

Dh makes an excellent red Thai curry that I could eat every.single.day. (Although I'd likely weigh twice what I do now because of the coconut milk.) He puts in the chicken raw and it comes out cooked and tender.

inmom
03-30-2017, 09:05 PM
Alexsmom, Thanks again for sharing the curry recipe. I made it tonight with some homemade chapati, and both were yummy. Another recipe to add to the rotation!!

FarmMom
04-11-2017, 02:02 AM
We love Thai and Indian food too - DS just likes the naan, but the rest of us like it all.

Buy the fish sauce - it keeps forever in the fridge.

This is the quick recipe I use for Tom Kha Gai - which I always crave when I'm getting a cold. I add a little lemongrass paste or chili too. Thai Chicken Soup Recipe | Food Network Kitchen | Food Network (http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchen/thai-chicken-soup-recipe)

And this is the recipe I start with for Saag Paneer - I puree the peppers into the sauce as the recipe instructs and don't leave them in chunks as the picture shows. I serve it over rice - it's great with paneer or grilled meats. Making homemade paneer is a fun science project with older kids - heat and acid precipitation of protein. Indian Cheese and Red Peppers in Fragrant Spinach Sauce recipe | Epicurious.com (http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/indian-cheese-and-red-peppers-in-fragrant-spinach-sauce-230902)

Butter Chicken - I use butter instead of peanut oil and skip the shallots and just use extra onion. I usually replace the yogurt with sour cream, too. Chicken Makhani (Indian Butter Chicken) Recipe - Allrecipes.com (http://allrecipes.com/recipe/45957/chicken-makhani-indian-butter-chicken/)

and lastly Chicken Jalfrezi (Pakistani - but similar flavors) Chicken Jalfrezi Recipe - Allrecipes.com (http://allrecipes.com/recipe/28372/chicken-jalfrezi/)

I usually make huge batches of just the sauce and freeze it in quart ziplocs. The sauce can heat from frozen in a covered sauce pan in the time it takes to cook rice and cut and saute the protein in a skillet.

alexsmom
08-10-2017, 07:45 PM
Looking over my Emeril's kids cookbook, they had a recipe for tom kah gai.
Thai Coconut Soup With Chicken And Shrimp | Emerils.com (http://emerils.com/127334/thai-coconut-soup-chicken-and-shrimp)

I haven't made it yet, but Im optimistic. I haven't tried the other recipe, with rice noodles, but maybe I'll try both and compare flavors. :-)

HawaiiGeek
08-10-2017, 07:52 PM
I make this homemade naan and it is awesome and actually quite easy - you just need to remember that it needs time to rise. I omit the anise seeds.
Homemade Naan - Once Upon a Chef (http://www.onceuponachef.com/recipes/homemade-naan.html)

HawaiiGeek
08-10-2017, 07:52 PM
I get all my curry spices from Penzey's Spices.

alexsmom
08-10-2017, 10:30 PM
Oh HawaiiGeek, are you the one who led me to OnceUponAChef?
I never thought of looking at her site for naan (thanks!) but her pumpkin bread has become a staple here. :-)

HawaiiGeek
08-11-2017, 10:30 AM
AM: I would love to take credit for that, but her naan recipe is the only thing that I have seen on her blog, but now I will go take a closer look at her blog!

MapleHillAcademy
08-12-2017, 06:00 PM
We lived in Okinawa, Japan when I was pregnant with my youngest daughter and I practically lived on Coco Ichibanya's Chicken Cutlet Curry with naan bread that entire pregnancy lol! I bought a bunch of their spice blend before we moved back to the states and it made a reasonable curry sauce when added to a batch of brown gravy but I finally ran out and started using the Golden Curry sauce blocks from the grocery store (most Walmarts and grocery stores even in my very rural area carry it in the Asian food section). Just add the blocks to boiling water and it's not Coco's but it does satisfy a curry craving. You can adjust the flavor a bit with tumeric and other curry spices.

I have attempted making naan bread in the past and it just wasn't quite that warm, soft, chewy goodness from Coco's. But every other recipe I've seen was baked in a 500 degree oven. I'm interested to try the recipe Hawaiigeek posted that uses my trusty cast iron skillet instead. Thanks for posting that.;)

alexsmom
05-26-2018, 11:39 AM
(I really have been wandering around the interwebs for these past years looking for chicken tikka masala and tom kah gai.)

We found a winner for CTM from.... Once Upon a Chef (why I didnt notice it when HG posted the naan link... I dont know!)
https://www.onceuponachef.com/recipes/chicken-tikka-masala.html

Itís simple, and I think the marinade and broiling make all the difference!

bobbyyan
07-19-2018, 12:34 PM
Thai Golden Vegetable Curry
This Vegetarian Thai Yellow Curry is authentic, homemade vegan Thai food at its best.