Liralen Li (liralen) wrote,
Liralen Li

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Uhm... yeah.  I was making chili when the whole curry fic idea hit me because... really, the Asian equivalent of US chili is curry.  It's a home dish, it's simple, everyone can make it, but not everyone can make it well.  Everyone also makes it differently, and you can nearly tell the region someone is from by how in a what the heck did you put in that kind of way.

I'll have to admit that knowing how to make Indian curries has actually influenced, a little, how I make chili.  Though the same techniques are used by Mexicans in the preparation of their food with chilies in it.  Toasting the chilies and spices really well with the deeply golden onions in a tasty amount of the right kinds of fats. 

I used a humble pound of local, Highland beef, aged and dried, raised on grass and finished on local grasses.  The onions and garlic were the new spring onions and garlic planted from the previous year, tender and sweet and pretty much still growing.  The chili powder (yeah, I use a mix to start) was from Penzey's, and has no salt actually in it and comes in three heat grades.  I really like half of the medium and half of the no-heat variety to start.  I can always add heat, then.  I can't take it out.  The Mexican oregano was from a local Hispanic shop, fresh and still tender and green.  I add Masa for thickness, chipotle and a bit more cayanne for good heat, a bay leaf for that herbal hit, and use the organic Muir Glen diced tomatoes with green chilies for just a bit more kick and that odd combination of tangy, sweet heat that is the New Mexican green chilie.  I also cooked the pinto beans myself for a good hour or two, with a smoked ham hock, its own hit of tomatoes, garlic, onions, and the special soak/boil that takes all the really complex carbs out of them, so no gas.  Two pounds of dried beans turns into six pounds of frozen, cooked beans, so it's as easy as canned, and I can reuse the bags.

Uhm.  Yeah.  I guess I go for high-end chili.

I brown the onions first, until they're good and deep gold, like I'm actually trying to start a curry instead of a classical American chili, where most folks don't even let the onions see heat other than in the Crock Pot.  Then I add the minced garlic and all the spices, and toast it all until it "smells right"... i.e. it's not quite burnt.  I pour 'em into the Crock Pot on the beans and canned tomatoes and green chilies and start the heat because, as usual, I haven't quite thawed the beans completely, yet.  I smash in a couple of gloves of slow-roasted garlic as well, as I always have that around, and it adds to the body of the sauce. 

Then I take that fragrant pan and brown the beef in it, drain it, and throw it into the pot along with the bay leaf, some of the oregano, and stir thoroughly.  Then I taste and adjust salt, heat, and if I want sweetness, I like grating in a bit of Mexican drinking chocolate. Then I cook it on high for about an hour, and then put it on low until we're ready to eat. 

So it gave me plenty of time to think about curry.  *laughs*

And write about it.

Tags: cooking, writing

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