July 8, 2009

Stand by Your Naan

Ok, baaaaad pun. Not mine either. I read this book once, I can't even remember what it was about, although I think it was by Marion Keyes, and the main character and her friends would go out for Indian food and have a contest fitting the names of the dishes into songs. The only two I can remember are Stand by your Naan and Korma, Korma, Korma, Korma, Korma Chameleon. I know it must have been set in the UK or Ireland because they didn't say "let's go get Indian Food" they said "let's go get a curry." One of those weird Englishisms. Like calling math "maths". As in "I'm good at maths." Since they invented the language (more or less) they are probably right. But still, maths?

Back to curry. When I was growing up, curry was a dish my mother made, one of my favorites that involved meat in a yellow creamy sauce, usually studded with raisins, and served over rice. it wasn't until we moved to Ireland that I really had curry from a restaurant. The choices were mind boggling, the flavors were nothing like what I had grown up with. I was immediately hooked. Inf act, throughout my pregnancy with Evelyn, which was riddled with terrible morning sickness and an almost total loss of appetite, Chicken Korma was one of the few real meals that I craved. That and Sushi (I know, baaad, I also wanted coke, coffee and goats cheese. Seriously, what should I expect from this child's teenage years if she was making me break all the rules from the womb!)

We had a great, relatively cheap curry place down the street from us that we frequented so often that I became totally spoiled by the almost instant access to good Indian Food. Imagine my surprise when we moved back to the states only to find that curry was not cheap, not really easy to find and often not that good. Sad days. I spent about the first six months that we were home having daydreams about a fantastic meal we'd eaten in a small town in the west of Ireland, probably the best I've ever had, and cursing the fact that I couldn't find the same thing at home.

There are, of course, great curry places. And they aren't all expensive, but so far I haven't had the greatest luck in finding a substitute for my curry love so I've been reduced to making things myself.

Well, sort of making it myself. I'm not quite ready to dive into making sauces and naan from scratch, but I have discovered that there's a pretty decent selection of sauces and mixes out there and I'm taking full advantage of it. So far my favorite sauce has been Trader Joe's Korma Simmer Sauce. It's spicier than we like (I'm a wimp!) so I usually add a can of coconut milk and a teaspoon of sugar to the sauce as I'm cooking. The korma from my beloved curry shop was mild and kind of sweet so I try to nudge it more in that direction. Our local grocery store has some decent Naan that I buy most of the time but last night I used a box mix I'd found which turned out much better than the store bought stuff. I also tried the ready to cook poppadom which are crazy! They come out of the box looking a little like thin, round, lasagna noodles. But brush them with a little oil and pop them in the microwave (seriously, the microwave!) for a minute and poof! Poppadoms. Nutty. And yummy. It's one of my favorite weeknight meals to make since it's fast and fun and delicious. In fact, it was so fast last night that maybe I'll reconsider the making naan from scratch thing and give it a whirl.

And speaking of interesting foods, I was just flipping through this great old cookbook my mom gave me and found a recipe for peeled melon filled with tomato aspic, frosted with cream cheese. i mean, maybe it's good, but really , who sat down and said, you know what would be great with cantaloupe? Tomato aspic and cream cheese. There's even a photo of the frosted and aspiced cantaloupe slices up on a platter of lettuce. It looks, ummm, interesting?