When it comes to Indian food, I’ve throw in the towel. I know that there’s no way I could even come close to what I get in a restaurant. As the saying goes “hope springs eternal” and this time it’s springing from a simmer sauce jar. Yep, I decided I can’t fork over $10 bucks every time I get a hankering for Indian curry, so I grabbed a jar of Trader Joe’s Indian Curry simmer sauce. You know what? It turned out great. Because J is lactose intolerant, my curries will never get the flavor of what you get at a restaurant but a doctored up simmer sauce comes awfully close. While I did a lot of doctoring, I am using the simmer sauce as a crutch to make sure that’s a base of curry flavor.
My first attempt was a clear-your-vegetable-bin curry with some frozen shrimp throw in for protein. I put in zucchini, carrots, onions, and garlic into a pan with some vegetable oil, added a teaspoon of garam masala and a tablespoon of curry powder and then added some fresh tomatoes from the garden (the last of the bunch). That is something all of us need to know about Indian cooking, it invariably starts off with heating up some spices before adding liquid because the heat activates the spice flavor. After sauteing for a few minutes, I added the simmer sauce and the frozen shrimp and let it all simmer together until the shrimp as cooked through. It taste great, though the shrimp texture in soup is always tricky. I find it impossible for the shrimp not to get rubbery.
It was a victory nonetheless. Sunday, I soldiered on and decided to make a big batch of beef curry for lunches. And guess what? That turned out even better. I did what I always do with red meat and stew and I seared the meat first and then did the same thing as the shrimp curry. The challenge is, that the stew meat takes FOREVER to get tender – a hour and a half of simmering. Luckily this wasn’t dinner but that’s fair warning. On the plus side, I’m eating that curry for lunch right now and wow does it taste good. Like restaurant good.
In the future I might take the training wheels off and omit the simmer sauce but for now, it stays.