Cooking for Munchkin
Curry is the very first meal I learned to cook for myself, and all these years, I always used Japanese curry paste that comes in square blocks. There was no reason to change things up because I liked how it tastes; actually, I enjoyed it so much that I used one and a half box of it every time. Now, that would be a dangerous level of sodium for Munchkin.
Hoping to replicate the taste without so much salt, I looked at the ingredient list for the first time and discovered that it starts at the top of the box and ends at the bottom. damn. Thankfully, I found a simple curry powder recipe from “How to Cook Everything” by Mark Bittman. The original recipe calls for grinding your own spices, but I just mixed up ground spices and slightly changed the measurements.
5 tbsp ground coriander, 4 tbsp ground cumin, 3 tbsp turmeric, 1 tbsp ground ginger, 2 tsp black pepper.
Curry doesn’t need exact ingredients or measurements to make it, but I gathered a few tips over many years. Here I used:
2 onions, 1/2 lb ground pork, 1/2 lb ground beef, 1 apple, 2 bell peppers, half carrot, a handful of mushrooms, 3 cup water, 4 tbsp curry powder, salt to taste, 3/4 cup full-fat coconut milk
a. Caramelize the onions. Coat the pan with olive oil. Spread out sliced onions and cook over medium heat stirring occasionally. It may take over an hour for the onions to turn brown but caramelizing onions add depth to the flavor especially when not using broth.
b. While onions are cooking, prepare the meat. Puree one apple and mix into the ground meat and marinate until onions are ready. Apple makes the meat softer and adds sweetness to the flavor. (I’m using a mixture of pork and beef only because I want Munchkin to have a little bit of both.)
c. Chop the veggies and bell peppers. I don’t make curry if I don’t have bell peppers. Curry is better with bell peppers.
d. Once the onions are ready, add the meat to the pot and cook until it’s no longer pink. Add the vegetables and water. Bring to a boil then lower the heat and simmer until the veggies are soft. Add the curry powder and salt to taste.
e. Turn the heat off and add milk. I used coconut milk here, but whole milk works well. Milk softens the harsh taste of the curry.
f. Puree with an immersion blender. Serve over rice or with naan.
g. Dress munchkin in an outfit you don’t mind throwing out. Staining power of turmeric can rival beets. Even after soaking in Clorox, there was no hope of getting the stain out of the onesie. Still, it was all worth it since Munchkin inhaled the curry and nothing makes mama happier than a well-fed Munchkin.