So, this weekend it came time for an annual party that I have been to every year for the last dozen years or so, and this year’s theme dish challenge was for everyone to bring a curry. One of the requested stipulations was that the curry have no nightshades in it, because of an allergy problem from one of the hosts.
Of course, that ruled out my recipe for curried venison (you might remember the recipe from when I was being featured as a guest rooster), since it incorporates quite a bit of crushed tomatoes and other bits, all of which are nightshades.
Time to come up with a new recipe! I knew that I wanted to make a curry that had the dietary requirements needed, but also one that was not too spicy, because for some reason there are folks out there that cannot handle a bit of spice in their diet. (OK, to put things into perspective for you, I consider Taco Bell’s hot sauce to be a mild sauce, and their mild sauce to be the equivalent of catsup. My motto for spicy things is that if I’m not crying, it isn’t spicy enough.)
Scouring the interwebs, I found a couple of ideas that seemed to work, and turned out to not only be nightshade free, but were gluten free as well! Of course, in my kitchen a recipe lasts about as long as it takes to actually print out, and then I start modifying it to suit my personal tastes and desires. So the recipe turned out to be something like this:
- 1lb chunked meat (chicken, pork, beef, etc.)
- 3-4 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1/2 onion, chopped
- 1-2 inches of fresh ginger, chipped finely
- 1-2 teaspoons curry powder
- 1 can coconut milk
- 1/2 teaspoon cornflour
- 1 cup chopped vegetables
- salt and pepper
- Heat some oil in a pan or wok
- Cook garlic, onion, and ginger until onion starts to turn translucent
- Add in meat and turn heat to high until browned
- Remove from heat, add in coconut milk, vegetables and curry powder
- Return to medium heat and stir until it comes to a simmer
- Keep on low heat for 15-20 minutes to allow things to get nice and happy
Of course, that is the base recipe. I found as I was preparing things that I had forgotten to buy any veggies that would be suitable for this. I did have some frozen peas in the freezer, and there was a very nice butternut squash just sitting there on the counter, so I quickly chopped up the squash and roasted it in the over, then added that and the peas.
The squash was a bit of a mistake.
It is just too soft for a curry or stew. It tends to mush up and turn into a paste in no time flat. I would have been better off hitting it with a stick blender or something after it had roasted and putting it in that way. Ah well, knowledge for next time.
Of course, one curry wasn’t enough for a competition! So I made a second curry, this time following the venison curry recipe (sort of). I used a can of condensed tomato soup and some craisins that I had lying around instead of tomato paste and raisins, and I also made it a nice spicy version by adding in some sambal oelek and a couple of dashes of some sort of hot sauce sitting in the cupboard. It was good!
That was a quick addition though. I still wanted to really wow the other party-goers… which brings us to the point of this post: Curried Empanadas!
And of course I had to go and get fancy even with an empanada. Most of the time an empanada is made with a pie crust or short crust and deep fried. Not me. I felt it needed an even bigger twist, and decided to use phyllo dough and bake it… and I was going to do it without ever having used phyllo dough before.
I went with pre-made stuff, because I really didn’t have time to learn how to do two things this time around, and it worked out pretty well. The pre-made stuff comes in big sheets, so once it was defrosted I rolled it out so that the sheets were flat but stacked up one atop another (you get about 15 sheets in a roll, two rolls to a box), then cut the sheets into three equal sections.
Taking three sections on top of each other, I put a spoonful or two of the curry I had just made onto one end of the section, the wrapped it up into a triangular shape.
Got a bunch wrapped up and onto a baking sheet, then sprayed them with olive oil so that they would get a nice golden crisp on them. Into the oven at 400F for about 15 minutes. While I was waiting for the first batch to finish cooking, I put the unused phyllo dough back in the fridge. It has to be worked while cold. If it starts to get warm it gets gooey and you can’t work it anymore.
The first batch came out of the oven, and I thought they looked to be a success, except for one or two which were wrapped oddly. Those were obviously not presentable, so I had to eat them to discard of the evidence…. and they were delicious.
Finished off the second batch, popped them into a bit of tupperware for transport, and went to the party. Abigail was there, and she tried one. It kind of blew her head off because of the spicy heat of the second curry I had made and used, but she still enjoyed it, I think!