Thursday, December 11, 2008

supermodel curry and earlobe sweets

I always end up making curry on a whim. Without fail I am on my way to make something else, something usually boring and somehow between the fridge and the stovetop it turns into curry in my brain and I'm always thankful for the switch. I can always eat more red lentils... and I got to try out these unreal curry powders my friend J brought me from India when he went this summer. Why have I not used these all over the place before???? They are crazy good, more on them later. They made an acorn squash, red lentil, coconut, pea and green pepper curry absolutely golden. Actually, pistachio coloured. Who says curry is homely? And cardamom raisin quinoa underneath doesn't hurt in the pretty department, either.

Here are those spices (I couldn't be happier that there's massive quantities of both).

The south indian blend has --- white pepper, chili, mango powder, dagger fool, clove, ginger, mace, citric acid, concoun, cassia, and akarkhora. Badass.

The garam masala is black cumin, black pepper, bay leaves, piper, cinnamon, mace, nutmeg, clove, black cardamom, ginger.

These are seriously aromatic and complex, and for some reason taste different in every curry I add them to. Maybe it's like that chemical thing where the same perfume smells different on various wrists? Maybe it's the akarkhora.

Then I made some DAIIIII-FU-KUUUU, yippee! I didn't realize I was out of red dye for my envisioned green-and-red holiday colours, but I did have a beet, which worked perfectly and the subtle flavour didn't mess with the beans at all. They are bean paste (anko) filled, which has got to be my favourite stuff ever. I'm still not 100% on the mochi part, I may have found the one food I'm not super crazy for, but they are definitely fun to make. And it was much as Julie in Japan describes: truly they are weird. But I did keep eating it and then later I did really want another one. That strange earlobe jellyness kinda becomes... intriguing? In a way? I must say I can taste the difference in the supple freshness of homemade mochi versus those awful pucks I got over christmas.

Okay, this is actually making my mouth water now, so disregard any blabbing about weirdness. You can also see that I like my anko (I LOVE my anko) chunky, generous in proportion to earlobe-jelly, and only moderately sweet.

J's (half awake) response was A: "They look like the kind of thing that people eat in cartoons, Liz." (I nodded). And B: "Hmm... they taste like rice cake." Which I thought was mighty open-minded for a technicoloured blobby-dessert ambush, and indicative of an awesome generation of eaters. My parents would have certainly gone for the bugspray or something. :)
Yay Daifuku!!

EDIT:
In response to KingoftheFrogs -- what I did for the mochi:

The red and the green both had pretty different textures, since I used more water in the green, but they were both good... it takes some playing around I think.

approximately...
1 cup rice flour
1/4 cup sugar
2/3 cup water + (if needed) 2-3 tablespoons
food colouring (optional)
(1 cup of anko/red bean paste)

* stir the flour, water, sugar and colouring together in a microwave-safe bowl, adding more water so that it's smooth (but still pretty thick)

* microwave 2 minutes, then stir it like crazy

* microwave until it inflates, stir like crazy and stretch it and wack it with a wooden spoon until it's smooth and bouncy.

* turn it onto a tray covered with potato starch (or cornstarch) and roll it into a snake, then cut that snake into 12 equal pieces.

* stretch a piece into a disc, thicker in the middle than at the edges, place 1 tablespoon of anko paste in the middle and wrap it up like a parcel, pinching the seam to join the mochi together. Dust with extra cornstarch, and set it aside, repeat with remaining mochi pieces.

note 1: they freeze pretty much perfectly, so uneaten candy can be squirreled away for later.

note 2: anko is soooo easy to make, it's just red beans cooked with sugar and a touch of salt. Take cooked adzuki beans, add sugar til it's sweet enough for you, mash with a spoon and cook over medium heat stirring constantly until it's really thick, like cookie dough. Let it cool completely before using.

16 comments:

VeggieGirl said...

OOOOOH, magnificent.

Hannah said...

Oh, Yum! It's been far too long since I've had daifuku... and I used to be addicted to the stuff!

Jenni said...

OMG that curry dish looks soooo yummy...i wish I could cook!

aTxVegn said...

Those little candies do sound intriguing and they look beautiful. Your curry dish looks fantastic! You are so lucky to have the real stuff in your pantry.

T said...

I'm totally drooling over the quinoa... cardomom!? How come everything is better with quinoa?

The little candies/ cookies look precious but a little scary... ;) I'm sure, like all japanese food, you get used to it and love it.

tofufreak said...

ooh im so jealous of your curry! T_T

haha. I LOVE YOUR CHRISTMAS DAIFUKU!!!!!!! !!!!!!! !!!!!!! they are way to cute!

shellyfish said...

Some friends brought me Garam Masala from Inda two years ago (so much I'm still using it) - it is like nothing I've ever bought here in Europe! Spicy, hot & full of flavour. Yummers!
I need to try to make some "earlobes" - you are hilarious!

Cyn said...

I love mochi/daifuku - I'm so impressed you made your own.

jessy said...

your curry rocks so hard! it looks awesome! and i love the quinoa! mmmmmmmm! very cool on the spices from India! i'm superjealousfaced! ;)

i love your Daifuku! and i really love that you made your own. that's downright impressive! you rock, Liz!

Carrie said...

I'm so jealous of those spices!!!

Jes said...

Curry in a hurry! I miss using my old roommate's spice mixes she brought back from India. Your look amazing. And congrats on the daifuku!

sarchan said...

Your daifuku are the cutest, and that South Indian curry powder sounds absolutely beautiful and is making me long for Indian food.

KingOfTheFrogs said...

i love mochi :-) keep trying to make them at hom ebut the consistency just doesn't turn out quite right. don't suppose you have a linky/instructions? or a book recommendation?

Melisser; the Urban Housewife said...

Those spice blends sound wonderful! Homemade mochi, soooo cool!

vegetalion said...

I AM SO EXCITED ABOUT THE BEANCAKES

Léna, said...

oh how i was there was a daifuku recipe that didn't involve a microwave! fun little colour bean scrotum sweeties.