Sunday, 11 January 2009

Curry traditions – of sausages and potatoes

Food is nourishment. For the body and the soul. Some recipes delight me with their fresh and interesting flavours. Others comfort with tastes that return me to the happy times of childhood. One beloved dish of my childhood was sausage curry.

When we had a birthday, we could choose whatever dish we wanted and one of my sisters always chose sausage curry. I couldn’t tell you my favourite dish ever of my childhood but this one has fond memories, probably more so because it is so easy to convert to a pleasing vegetarian version that fits with how I eat today. It also satisfies my love of sausages which I have written about before.

This sausage curry is about my family traditions and home comforts but I highly doubt many eat such a dish in India. In fact I just used a curry paste from a jar and vegie sausages from the supermarket. Nothing at all authentic about it.

When I had a quick look for sausage curry on the internet I found one on a student recipe site where it instructed to mix cooked sausages with a jar of curry sauce. I thought it made my recipe look quite sophisticated. My version had many more vegetables than my mum used to put in her curry. In fact when we were eating it, E commented that it is more like a casserole than a curry. It tastes so good and is so easy in times of low energy that it seemed worth blogging.

I made it before Christmas when I was busy and welcomed a dish to keep me going for a few nights. I was going through one of those phases when one dish led to another. I had made a dahl (similar to this one) and made some Aloo Jeera to accompany it. Once I had finished the dahl, I needed something else to serve with the leftover aloo jeera.

The recipe for the aloo jeera or cumin potatoes came from The Book of Yum and looked so good I had to try it. My recipe was an adaptation of Yum’s version because I was a bit lackadaisical in making it but it still tasted astonishingly good. Yum had been seeking to recreate a dish she had encountered in Bangalore. The aloo jeera was great with some dahl and chopped tomatoes, and even better with the sausage curry. It elevated a bog standard curry to something full of wonderful fragrant flavours. This is a tradition that I am happy to embrace.

Sausage curry casserole
Serves 6

1 packet of 6 vegetarian sausages (I used Sanitarium)
1 tbsp oil (optional)
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 carrot, diced
3 heaped dessertspoons of Rogan Josh curry paste (I used Pataks), or to taste
660g pumpkin, trimmed, peeled and chopped
1 large zucchini (250g), chopped
2 button mushrooms, chopped
400g tin diced tomatoes
225g tin chopped unsweetened pineapple, drained*
400g tin chickpeas, drained and rinsed
½ a 400g tin of water
½ cup of frozen peas

* I used pineapple because I didn’t have any sultanas but you can substitute a handful of sultanas. If you do use the pineapple you can put the juice in if you like but I prefer to drink it in a glass or keep it aside for a smoothie.

Cook sausages under the griller (or broiler), turning regularly til well browned. (Mine often get a little burnt, especially if I forget them while doing other things but this recipe is quite forgiving of a little charcoal.)

Meanwhile cook the onions and carrot in the oil in a stockpot (or if you want less fat in the curry, just heat a little water in the bottom of the stockpot and cook onions and carrot in that). When onions soften, add the curry paste and cook another minute or so.

Add remaining ingredients, cover and simmer for about 30 minutes. The sausages might not be done by now but if not, they can be added a little later. Once sausages are cooked sufficiently, chop into inch-long pieces and add to curry.

Serve with rice and accompaniments of your choosing. The below Aloo Jeera gives the curry a real lift!

Aloo Jeera (Cumin potatoes)
(Adapted from the Book of Yum)
Serves 4-6 as a side dish

5-6 potatoes, diced
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 tbsp finely grated fresh ginger
2 tsp brown mustard seeds
1 tbsp cumin seeds
4-6 fresh curry leaves, roughly chopped
1 tsp ground coriander
¼ tsp turmeric
generous sprinkling of salt

Heat 1 tbsp. oil in a nonstick frying pan over medium heat. Fry onion and ginger until they become translucent.

Scrape the onion and ginger to the sides and add an additional tablespoon of oil in the centre of the frying pan. When the oil is hot, add mustard seeds and cumin seeds till they begin to pop. Stir curry leaves, coriander and tumeric into the centre mixture and gradually mix in the onion and ginger mixture.

Toss in the potatoes and mix with the spices. Add salt to taste. Let the potatoes brown a few minutes and then add a small amount of water. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes. (After this my potatoes were nicely charred – I am not sure if this was intended but it did taste good). Use an eggflip or spatula to flip the potatoes over. Add a little more water and cook for 5-10 minutes covered until potatoes are cooked (5 minute was plenty for me).

NB: Here The Book of Yum added more oil, more cumin seeds and fried the potatoes a little longer but I just served them as is. If you want the authentic version, I suggest you check out her recipe.

On the stereo:
Cocktails, Carnage, Crucifixion and Pornography: Ordo Rosarius Equilibro

11 comments:

  1. Mmmm comfort food at it's best! Yum!

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  2. That sounds good and definitely worth posting about. It is great to have recipes like this to hand, where you can throw things in. It is a great way to use up leftovers. I am going to have to find better veggie sausages though. I bought some Linda McCartney ones last week on a whim and couldn't eat them, it makes me shudder to think of them, but I do want to try this dish.

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  3. I'm loving all this Indian food! The curry sounds quick, easy and delicious--quite a feat for a curry! I used to love sausages. Maybe I should try to find a faux version that doesn't contain seitan.

    Our family had a similar tradition at birthdays--except we got to pick the dessert we wanted!

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  4. Oh my, what an absolutely beautiful curry! I love the wonderful variety of veggies (even pumpkin! wow!) and the beautiful pineapple too! Such a wonderful story, too, to go along with this wonderful dish... I love hearing about special food memories... :-)

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  5. I LOVED Sanitarium vegie sausages when I was younger... I think I will have to give this curry a try just as an excuse to eat them again... looks delicious!

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  6. Yum! I don't think I've ever tried a sausage curry but I love sausages and curry separately so I don't see why I wouldn't just adore it together!

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  7. I love the random adding of sausages to things. My mum used to add sausages (frankfurts, I think) sliced up to minestrone soup, and that was definitely a favourite.

    I like your story, too. :o)

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  8. sausage curries with a fiery chorizo-style goan sausage are common in goa. i remember relishing those.

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  9. Thanks Vegetation - that's so true!

    thanks holler - glad you like the look of it - when I returned to Australia, I missed the range of veg sausages we had in Scotland - much better than what we have here (and I include linda mccartney in that) so am sure you will find some good ones!

    thanks Ricki - we got to pick both main meal and dessert on our birthday - and whether we wanted cream or lemon filling in the spong birthday cake! (I always chose cream because I hated lemon filling) Birthdays are wonderful in childhood!

    Thanks Astra - I don't think I would enjoy it as much without all the vegies - or the memories!

    Thanks Tara - yes do try this - I find sanitarium sausages a little rich on their own some times but they hold together so well and taste good with some nice side dishes!

    Thanks Lorraine - you should try sausage curry at least once - I always think of it as being a real aussie dish!

    thanks AVAT - I can be guilty of adding sausages to casseroles and soups at whim - but I don't think i have tried it in minestrone - must try that some time

    thanks Bee - that is good to hear that sausage curries are not unknown in India - they are probably more spicy than I can cope with but sound intriguing!

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  10. ...one dish led to another . . . I think that's a really grand way to cook. Oh I think I'm loving that potato dish ;))

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  11. Sausage curry - LOL! That reminds me of currywurst that's so popular in Germany. Who said thing have to be authentic to be tasty?!

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