When visiting Vancouver, I had got recommendation for an restaurant called Vij’s. I was told that the restaurant is very popular and they do not take reservations. Also, I was told to be there at 5PM in order to get in to the restaurant when it opens at 5:30. I did not take the suggestions seriously and we reached there by about 5:15 PM or so. When we got there, there were already nearly 15 or so people ahead of us in line. Since the restaurant is a little small, we could not get in. We had to wait almost 1 1/2 hour when we finally got in. By that point, we were hoping the restaurant better be really good to make our wait worthwhile. I am happy to say that the food was excellent. It was Indian food but the dishes were very different from what you are used to eating at Indian restaurants. The dishes were created by the owner and his wife and I was impressed with the way they used various Indian spices and ingredients to create dishes that were lip smackingly good! If you have ever visit Vancouver, Canada, I suggest you try the restaurant.
One of my co-workers was visiting Vancouver and I recommended the restaurant to him. When he got back, not only did he like the restaurant, but he gave me a cookbook that featured the recipes from Vij’s. It is called Vij’s: Elegant and Inspired Indian Cuisine. That was really nice of him to present me with Vij’s cookbook. His only condition was for me to cook a few dishes from the cookbook and get it to work. So this is my first attempt at trying out recipes from the cookbook. This came out quite good. I modified it slightly.
Curry means different things to different people. Basically, curry means a meat or vegetable dish made with various spices. There is a misconception that curries from India are made with curry powder. In fact, Indian curries are seldom made with curry powder. Depending on the region of India, curries are made with different ingredients. Curries from northern India are made with yogurt or cream with butter and other spices. Curries from south are different from curries from the north. Curries from south are made with coconut and coconut milk (ones from the state of Kerala) or sauce made with various spices using tomatoes etc. You probably are most familiar with tikka masala (northern Indian curry). You might not be as familiar with Malabar curry that is made with coconut milk and coconut. Also, curries also contains nuts like cashews or almonds that are gound into a paste and fried and added to curries. I have made all kinds of curries that I have used various ingredients including coconut milk or cream or spices with tomatoes.
Coconut Curry with Pan Fried Potatoes
Serve with Naan (Indian bread)
1/4 cup sunflower oil (or any vegetable oil)
1 large onion, thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves
1 large tomato, chopped
1 red whole chilli
1 teaspoon cumin seeds, ground
1 tablespoon coriander, ground
1/2 teaspoon red chili powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 inch cinnamon stick
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoon chickpea flour (besan)
3 cups water
1/2 cup coconut milk
4 potatoes, boiled, peeled, cubed
1 tablespoon oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon red chili powder
Heat oil in a saucepan on medium heat. Add chopped onions and saute until brown, about 10 minutes or so. Add the tomatoes, garlic, serrano chilies, cumin, coriander, cayenne, turmeric, cinnamon stick and salt. Stir the contents and cook for about 8-10 minutes. Reduce the heat to low.
In a separate bowl, combine chickpea flour and 3/4 cup water and mix thoroughly with a whisk. Add the mixture to the tomato mixture along with the rest of the water and stir. Bring the mixture to a boil by increasing the heat to medium. Reduce the heat to low and add coconut milk to the tomato mixture. Let the curry simmer for approximately 20 minutes or until the mixture is thickened to a cream sauce consistency.
In a non-stick saute pan, heat the oil on medium heat. Add the potato and pan fry for approximately 10 minutes or until the potatoes are a nice golden brown in color. Add the red chili powder and salt and stir.
In order to serve, spread a ladle of curry sauce on a plate and add the potatoes to the curry sauce and add some freshly chopped cilantro.
Enough for 4-6 people