09 December 2008

Beef Madras, Aloo Gobi, and Strangely Pale Yellow Rice

I had a craving for some spicy, warm Indian food. But not from my ex-favourite Indian take-away which the Calgary Health Region's website reveals to have had (on more than one occasion) a rodent problem.

So I dug out my trusty recipe for Aloo Gobi (modified slightly from the extras on the Bend it Like Beckham dvd) and yellow rice. I also bought a jar of Madras curry paste, because it's got a great flavour that makes a really fantastic meatloaf and followed the recipe on the side of the jar (sort of).

Too bad it all tasted wrong.

I think my spices are all dead, maybe. It's like they smell like what they're supposed to smell like, but they don't seem really to taste like what they're supposed to taste like. My yellow rice? Didn't turn yellow. My curry didn't have any of the spiciness it usually has. I don't know.

I didn't have any cilantro, which did change the taste of course, but it seems more off than just missing cilantro. Maybe it'll taste better tomorrow once it's had a chance to sit and blend flavours even more?

The beef Madras tasted good, though I didn't read the instructions before hand, so I didn't know it's meant to be a sort of slow-cooked thing (I assume with cubed beef) and I ended up cooking it in a flash at the end once my Aloo Gobi was cooked through (and just needed to sit for a bit to thicken up a little). It actually did taste pretty good, but I cut back on the curry paste by quite a bit (I used 1 tbsp rather than 2, because I was concerned it would be too over-powering) and I did notice that it didn't have quite the zing I was expecting. The spices tasted particularly good on the tomatoes though, which were just cooked through - I used fresh chopped grape tomatoes rather than canned tomatoes.

I often wonder when I cook things like this if I'm sort of... breaking food rules, though that's not quite what I mean. But like.. I don't know anything about the food tradition behind real Indian cooking, I just know that I like this taste and that one, so I've put them all together, but maybe eating Beef Madras with Aloo Gobi would be like eating.... Poutine with Jambalaya. They maybe both come out of a French tradition, but one is Quebecois and the other is Cajun. And I don't think any classical French chef would claim either one. I know very little about either cuisine, but I do know enough to know that they have different flavour profiles and different cooking methods and I know that they don't really blend together. Indian food? I don't know anything about it at all.

Anyway, I guess that ultimately it doesn't matter, since I am cooking for myself and nobody else is going to come along and tell me that I've got Northern Indian that and Southern Indian this and that other dish is just made up and isn't actually Indian at all. (Or whatever.)

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