Curry in a hurry, 162pp.
by Jacki Passmore
Anne O’Donovan, Melbourne, 1998
Cooking on page 32
This is one of more than 20 books I bought this year at the Lifeline Book Fair in Canberra. Lifeline is an outstanding nationwide telephone counselling service that I have supported for most of the 30-plus years I’ve been in Australia. For about 10 of those years, I organised the annual doorknock within our suburb.
Aussies would know all about doorknocking, but others might not. It’s our expression for going door-to-door, asking for donations. Can anyone remind me of the US equivalent expression?
I used to have a great track record for our suburb—regularly getting the highest per-capita and overall contributions in the city. Not surprising, because I bribed my collectors with homemade brownies.
These days, the book fair is king, and a brilliant and lucrative money-raiser. Lifeline does good work and very much worth our support.
But I digress.
I was pleased to get this book for just $2. As far as I can tell, it’s currently out-of-print, so I consider it a lucky find.
1 cup desiccated coconut
1 cup boiling water
1–1.4 kg chicken pieces
2 tablespoons ground coriander
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon bottled crushed red chilli
1 1/2 cups tomato-based pasta sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons bottled crushed ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/3 cup coconut cream
1 tablespoon tamarind concentrate
1 teaspoon garam masala
chopped fresh coriander, dill or mint
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Pour the coconut into a bowl and cover with the boiling water. Rinse and dry the chicken, and place in a greased oven dish.
In a bowl combine all the remaining ingredients, except the chopped herbs. Add the soaked coconut and mix well. Spread over the chicken pieces and cover the dish with foil, pierced in a few places to allow some steam to escape during cooking. Place in the oven and cook for 30 minutes.
Uncover the chicken, increase the oven temperature to 200°C and cook for a further 10–15 minutes, by which time the coconut mixture should have a golden-brown crust.
Transfer the chicken to a serving dish and scatter on the chopped herbs.
How it played out
Made pretty much as written using boneless chicken thighs that had been trimmed of fat. I did make the coconut cream from powdered coconut—a couple of months ago I bought a huge sachet of powdered coconut and I really need to finish it before the use-by date.
Wasn’t exactly sure what was meant by tomato-based pasta sauce, so I just used tomato puree.
Jacki Passmore knows her Asian cuisine, having written more than 20 cookbooks on the subject. This one is designed for people who like curry, but who are time-starved.
This great throw-together meal didn’t have quite the guts and depth of flavour I usually expect in a curry. But gosh, it was done in no-time and plenty tasty.
P.S. Poor John bought about six non-cookbooks, including a guide to India, which is where we head in a couple of weeks for an overland trip that focuses on wildlife. Be sure to watch my travel blog to see what we’re up to there.