A wide range of curries


July 30, 2008|By Laura McCandlish | Laura McCandlish,Sun reporter


The Gateway to Indian Cooking

By Raghavan Iyer

Workman Publishing / 2008 / $22.95

Think curry dishes are limited to the menu items at your local Indian restaurant? Raghavan Iyer urges you to broaden your definition to any preparation of meat, fish, poultry, legumes, vegetables or fruit that is simmered or smothered in a fragrant gravy or sauce. Move over, plain yellow powders and pastes.

There's a treasure-trove of Indian recipes here, both authentic and experimental. "Contemporary curries" is the most unusual section, melding Iyer's native cuisine with Western cooking techniques. Featured dishes include Macaroni and Paneer, and Wild Salmon Fillets Poached With Chiles, Scallions and Tomato. The book also has chapters on "Appetizer Curries," "Biryani Curries" and "Curry Cohorts" (more rice dishes, flatbreads and chutneys).

The salmon entree, with its garden-fresh tangy broth, made for a perfect summer dinner. Don't skimp and substitute farm-raised fish. I used frozen Alaskan sockeye, which was cheaper but just as tasteful. Be generous with the turmeric you pat into the salmon's flesh.

To flavor the salmon's coconut-milk sauce, I made my own red-chile-vinegar paste from Iyer's detailed section on spice blends and pastes. But you could probably use coarse Vietnamese chile garlic sauce souped up with Indian spices instead.


250 Recipes From Around

the World

By Byron Ayanoglu

and Jennifer MacKenzie

Robert Rose / 2008 / $24.95

Though smaller in volume, Byron Ayanoglu and Jennifer MacKenzie's book casts a wide net with truly global curries from regions far beyond the subcontinent. There are African, Caribbean, Thai, Japanese and Filipino dishes, in addition to numerous Indian staples.

The sweet/savory Chilled Curried Banana-Coconut Soup was a soothing dessert, but you also could serve it as a palate-cleansing appetizer or at a luncheon. I substituted lime zest for wild lime leaves, which wasn't a problem.

Go heavy on the chopped tomato in the Okra (Bindi) Masala and cut back on the minced peppers if you can't handle the heat. And decrease cooking time if you don't like your okra mushy.

The book recommends a whopping seven different kinds of samosa filling: curried tofu, curried chickpea and paneer, curried lamb and eggplant, coconut green curry pork, curried beef and peas, curried chicken and the standard potato and green pea.


Okra (Bindi) Masala


1/4 cup vegetable oil

8 ounces okra, stems removed and pods sliced lengthwise

1 onion, finely chopped

1 small onion, cut into rings

6 cloves garlic, minced

2 hot green chile peppers, minced

2 tablespoons minced ginger root

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup chopped tomato

1/2 cup water

chopped fresh cilantro

In a large skillet, heat oil over high heat. Add okra, in batches as necessary, and cook, stirring, until browned on both sides, 2 to 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a bowl, leaving as much oil in the pan as possible. Set okra aside.

Bring pan to medium heat. Add chopped onion and onion rings; cook, stirring, until onions start to soften, about 2 minutes. Add garlic, chile peppers, ginger and salt; cook, stirring, until softened and fragrant, about 1 minute. Add tomato and water; cook, stirring, until saucy, 2 to 3 minutes.

Return okra to pan and fold into sauce until coated. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring gently occasionally, until okra is tender and sauce is slightly thickened, 20 to 25 minutes. Season to taste with salt. Serve sprinkled with cilantro.

From the "Complete Curry Cookbook"

Per serving: 179 calories, 3 grams protein, 14 grams fat, 2 grams saturated fat, 14 grams carbohydrate, 4 grams fiber, 0 milligrams cholesterol, 302 milligrams sodium


Find recipes for Wild Salmon Fillets Poached With Chiles, Scallions and Tomato; Red Chile and Vinegar Paste; and Chilled Curried Banana-Coconut Soup at baltimoresun.com/taste

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