Video: How to make vegetable curry with puri

Moreen Hall. Photos by Gregor Richardson.
Moreen Hall. Photos by Gregor Richardson.
Flavours of home is a series of recipes from around the world cooked by people at home in Otago. This week, Moreen Hall, from Fiji, shows us how to make vegetable curries.

Moreen Hall came to New Zealand 24 years ago, going first to Auckland before moving to Dunedin. She used to own The Dainty Dairy in Stuart St. Now she sells food at the Sunday market at the stadium.

She learnt to cook when she was a little girl and never measures anything, she says with a laugh.

There are lots of vegetarian dishes in Indian cuisine, and these curries would usually be served at weddings or special occasions, she says. They have been handed down from her grandparents, who came from South India.

She serves these curries with steamed rice, raita (a yoghurt condiment), puris (fried and puffed flatbreads) and tomato or tamarind chutney.


Recipes

Potato, pea and eggplant curry

1/3 cup canola oil
2 tsp cumin, mustard and fenugreek seeds (see tips)
1 onion, peeled and chopped
1 Tbsp ginger and garlic paste (see tips)
2 Tbsp mild curry powder1 tsp turmeric2 cups peeled and chopped pumpkin or kumara
Salt to taste
2 long chillies, quartered (1 red, 1 green)
1 cup water

Heat the oil in a large pot. When the oil is hot, add the cumin, mustard and fenugreek seed mix. Let it simmer and pop a little, then add the chopped onion. Stir and cook until the onions are turning brown at the edges. This makes it tastier, she said.

Add about 10 fresh curry leaves, the ginger and garlic, the curry powder and turmeric. Stir in the potatoes, eggplant, peas, chillies and salt.

It's important to keep stirring and cooking until the mix is nicely browned and sticky. Add three cups water, stir, cover and leave to simmer for about 20 minutes.

Add the tomatoes and cook another 20 minutes or more. The long cooking helps the flavours develop. Add the chopped coriander and simmer a little longer until ready to serve.

Puri

1-2 cups flour, white, brown or atta (chapati) flour
a little saltwater to mix (it can be hot, warm or cold)
1 tsp ghee or oil
oil for frying

Mix the flour with a little salt and enough water to make a soft dough, then knead, mixing in a little ghee or oil as you go until the dough is soft and springy.

It's best to leave the dough, covered with clingfilm, to rest for an hour or so. It rolls more easily. Roll the dough into balls about the size of golf balls.

Roll the balls of dough into circles a couple of millimetres thick, turning the dough over as you roll. Puri can be made any size but about the size of a saucer is common.

Heat 2-3 cups of oil in a wok or saucepan. When it is hot, slide a flatbread in. It will puff up immediately and start to turn golden.

Turn over in the oil, then lift out when puffed and golden brown; drain on a paper towel. Serve while hot.

Raita

1-2 cups plain unsweetened yoghurt
finely grated carrot
finely grated cucumber
finely grated onion
1 green chilli, finely chopped
fresh coriander leaves, chopped
a little cumin powdersalt to taste

Mix the ingredients together.

Pumpkin curry

½ canola oil
1 Tbsp cumin, mustard and fenugreek seeds (see tips left)
1 onion, peeled and chopped
fresh ginger and garlic paste (see tips)
about 10 fresh curry leaves (see tips)
3 Tbsp mild curry powder
1 Tbsp turmeric powder
2 large potatoes, peeled and chopped
2 long pale pink-purple eggplants (see tips)
2 cups cooked dried peas (see tips)salt to taste
2 long chillies, one red, one green
3 cups water
3 large tomatoes, chopped
a handful of fresh coriander leaves, chopped.

Heat the oil in a large pot. Add the mixed cumin, mustard and fenugreek seeds. When they start to pop, add the onion, ginger and garlic, curry powder, turmeric and curry leaves.

Stir, and cook for a little, then stir in the cubed pumpkin, then the chillies and salt. Stir well, and add the water.

Turn down the heat, cover and let the pumpkin curry simmer for 20 or 30 minutes until the pumpkin is soft and the flavours absorbed.


Tips

• Moreen mixes equal quantities of cumin, brown mustard seeds and fenugreek seeds and keeps them in a jar. She uses this mix in both these curry recipes.
• There are many different types of eggplant. She likes the long, thin, pinky-violet eggplants but says you can use the regular black-purple ones although they have a different flavour.
• Moreen uses dried peas which she soaks overnight, drains and cooks in water for about half an hour so there is still some bite to them.
• To make the ginger and garlic paste, peel and finely chop and crush fresh ginger root and garlic together
• Curry leaves are best fresh. Dried ones have little flavour. They can be found at specialist Indian shops and sometimes good supermarkets. Some people use bay leaves instead but the flavour is different and bay leaves need to be removed before eating.
• Curry can be made with any vegetables. You can use kumara or taro instead of pumpkin. Coconut milk is nice in taro curry.
• Pumpkins in Fiji are sweeter because they are left to ripen longer, she says. If you like sweet curry you can add a little sugar to the pumpkin curry.
• Ghee, or clarified butter, has had the solids removed. It can be found in good supermarkets and specialist shops.
• You can mix mashed potato or mashed pumpkin with the flour to make potato or pumpkin roti or puri. Roti are flatbreads cooked on a hot griddle or pan, while puri are fried.


 

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