So, a food writer, former fellow blogger, and soon-to-be published cook book author sends you Indian curry pastes to cook with, he having come across your work with Indian spice blends for a contest organized by East India Company Restaurants. He asks you to be creative. What do you do?
[Seriously, if you like beer in any way shape or form, pre-order David Ort's Canadian Craft Beer Cookbook from Amazon.ca. It'll sit very nicely with your copy of The Beerbistro Cookbook by Stephen Beaumont and Brian Morin.]
Then, you throw caution to the wind.
[And no, I'm not sharing recipes as such...more techniques that can be easily adapted in any home kitchen. Recipe-less cooking is how I feel curry pastes should be employed. Cooking by taste, a little bit of this and dash of that, ensures your dishes align with your diners' palates. That said, even if you cook "paint-by-number" with a recipe, always taste for seasoning as you go.]
Rogan Josh Beef and Cabbage Baked Spring RollsThe label on the bottle of Ferns’ rogan josh paste lists spices that reminded me of Thai-curry pastes, only without the characteristic fermented shrimp or aromatics: ginger, galangal, and lemongrass. Still, cardamom and tomato-based, I decided to treat several tbsp of rogan josh paste like its Thai analog and “pad” it in broken coconut cream (cream cooked until it separates). The resulting fragrant mixture, I then diluted with coconut milk and employed as a braising liquid.
A 14 oz can of quality coconut cream (just coconut…no carrageenan, guar gum, other stabilizers, or sodium metabisulfite preservative), generally yields 1/2 to 3/4 cup of cream to water. To the cream, I added approximately 3 tbsp of rogan josh paste.
I braised beef short ribs for a little over 2 hours in the braising liquid until the meat was pull apart tender. This, I left until cool enough to handle.
Then, I followed one of our older recipe for baked spring rolls with the pulled meat, scant spoonfuls of de-fatted braising liquid (for moisture), and shredded savoy cabbage.
For a drier filling, roast the savoy cabbage beforehand.
The rich and savoury pulled rib was balanced by the earthy greenness of the savoy cabbage and tomato brightness from the curry paste.
In fact, openly sharing kitchen experiments as we normally do on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, one of the owners of Kettleman’s Bagels, Craig Buckley, took interest.
Opened in in 1993, Kettleman’s rolls, “kettles,” and bakes Montreal-style bagels in a wood burning-oven, using hand-picked hardwood. It’s two locations (on Bank Street and Carling Avenue) open 24/7, 365 days a year. Besides handmade bagels, Kettleman’s is also known for its house gravlax made from never-frozen fish.
Buckley, who trained at legendary St. Viateur and Real Bagel in Montreal, let us attempt a batch of the baked spring rolls in the wood oven of his Bank Street location.
He also sent us home with bagel dough, but more on that later…
For my next trick, rogan josh chili…
Rogan Josh Chili
Field testing a pork-based pho stock recipe, we very slowly cooked a large batch of meaty pork bones overnight in a crock pot. When the mixture was cool enough to handle, we deboned the meat and set it aside. The soup was strained, de-fatted, and frozen for a cold miserable day.
Not one to waste food, I added store-bought tomato sauce, spiked with rogan josh curry paste, to a pot and mixed in the soup meat. This, I brought to a simmer and added freshly shelled beans and then butter sauteed mushrooms.
What resulted was a very serviceable pulled meat chili, which happened to go well with spinach on hard shell tacos.
Unhappy with the metallic undertones of the purchased tomato sauce and general lack of flavour depth, I wanted something more to accentuate the spicy goodness, coming from Indian curry pastes.
Roasted Tomato Vindaloo Bagels
Eyeing the last harvest of my in-laws’ tomatoes, I roasted them, large and small, until charred and ran them through a food mill. The resulting smoky tomato sauce, I mixed with Fern’s vindaloo paste. Vindaloo is an English, not Indian, curry concoction noted for its extreme spice.
Mixing approximately 2:1 by volume of roasted tomato sauce and vindaloo paste, I added enough to bagel dough to “ripple” it. Then, I made bagels.
To keep with the English tradition, instead of a honey water soak, I created a treacle version with Lyle’s golden syrup.
Spicy, savory, and slightly smokey, the bagels made amazing pastrami sandwiches.
Addendum: A gallery of how bagels are made by the pros!
Tags: bagels, curry, featured, Fern's, Indian, Kettleman's Bagels, rogan josh, sponsored