|Curry in a Hurry
The U.S. Navy inherited a taste for curry—a hot, spicy, gravy-based
dish of East Indian origin—from the Royal Navy. It has been a favorite
menu item in navy wardrooms for a century and at my table for decades.
Recipes abound, meatless versions as well.
stuff from scratch was enough of a hassle that we didn't’t
have it at home all that often. I then discovered
a curry sauce mix that is very good and quick. It
is called S&B Golden Curry Sauce Mix. It’s available
in many supermarkets. (Safeway has it.) It comes in
three strengths—try medium-hot first. Just add 2.5
cups of water, bring it to boil, and its ready. (Note:
the mix contains MSG and meat by-products.) Good as
it is, it can be improved.
Yield: 3-4 servings
1. Start with a 10-inch sauté pan and brown in oil a sliced
large onion, a diced green bell pepper, and a couple of carrots diced and
blanched in boiling water for a few minutes before joining the onion and
green pepper. This takes time to ensure that everything is cooked
2. Most often, at my home, the meat product (about 1.25 lbs)
for this everyday dish is leftover lamb that is cubed or chicken that is
pulled apart and tossed in with the veggies when they are done. Shrimp
can also be used. If raw meat is used, cut it to bite sized cubes,
stir fry it in a skillet to just barely done, drain and add it to the sauté
pan with the veggies. If using raw shrimp, add them directly to the
veggies, since they cook so quickly. If using pre-cooked shrimp,
don’t add them until Step 5.
3. In a large measuring cup, break up the sauce mix bar and add
2.5 cups of water. Use only 2 cups of water if you prefer a drier
4. Dissolve the sauce mix in the water—heat in the microwave
5. Add the sauce mix to the veggies and meat or shrimp, bring
to boil, simmer for about 5 minutes or until the meat is tender or the
shrimp are done. Serve over rice, preferably basmati rice (prepare
about ½ cup of rice per serving).
6. Option: You can increase the heat of this dish at the
end of Step 1 by adding 2 teaspoons of curry powder or Patak’s
Kashmiri Masala Paste. Lamb takes the additional heat best.
Shrimp not at all.
7. Desired Option: Add to the warmth and bouquet of this
dish wonderfully with garam masala—a northern India blend of dry-roasted
spices available in many supermarkets. Sprinkle a tablespoon of garam
masala over the surface of the dish at the simmer stage in Step 5.
The addition of garam masala will remove all doubt in the household that
it’s curry night.
Traditionally, this dish is accompanied by an array of garnishes selected
to add contrasting textures, flavors and to reduce the heat. Each garnish
is served in its own bowl. Favorites include chutney, fresh lime
wedges, toasted coconut, raisins and finely chopped unsalted peanuts, hard-boiled
egg, and bacon.
If you want to step back into India a hundred years, prepare lamb curry
for a dinner party. Then gather up the grandchildren—one for each
the seven garnishes—to parade and serve your seated guests. You can
then, as they did in the Raj, describe this entrée as a “Seven Boy
Beer goes great with curry, especially when the curry is spicy hot.