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It’s been a challenging few days and with the temporary absence of alcohol in my life, food has suddenly become an extremely important comfort tool to me (yes, even more than usual). Under these circumstances, curry is most definitely permitted on a Monday (and should be everyday). ‘Curry Friday’ may well be a thing of the past in the House of Greedy.

We have been working our way through Madhur Jaffrey’s ‘Ultimate Curry Bible’ and last night we stumbled across one of the best recipes yet. Well…two, actually. Plus, the meal served three people generously for a cost of around seven English pounds. You can’t complain at that. Admittedly, this was with the help of an extensive and well equipped store cupboard, a pack of reduced pig cheeks that we had sitting in the freezer and the leftovers of a large pork shoulder joint that we cubed and froze for another day.

To make the pork bhuna (serves three to four) you will need:
– 900g of boneless pork shoulder cut into cubes
– Five tablespoons of sunflower oil
– Two teaspoons of whole cumin seeds
– Four teaspoons of whole coriander seeds
– Two teaspoons of whole mustard seeds
– Three dried red chillies
– Two teaspoons of whole fenugreek seeds
– Two teaspoons of whole fennel seeds
– Three large shallots (peeled/finely chopped)
– One and a half inch piece of ginger (peeled/finely chopped)
– Five garlic cloves (peeled/finely chopped)
– Ten fresh curry leaves
– Two medium tomatoes (peeled/chopped)
– One and a half teaspoons of salt

Method:
– Heat a large lidded stove top dish to a medium temperature. Add the cumin seeds, coriander seeds, mustard seeds, chillies, fennel seeds and fenugreek seeds. Stir until they darken.
– Remove from the pan and set aside, then once cooled, grind to a powder.
– Pour the oil into the pan and when hot, add the garlic, ginger and shallots.
– Fry for around five minutes or until golden brown, stirring constantly. Next add the tomatoes and curry leaves to the pan.
– Continue to cook until the tomatoes reduce and become a thick paste, at which point, add the ground spices.
– Stir until well combined for around a minute, then add the meat and salt. Cook for a further five minutes.
– Add 250ml of water and bring to a simmer, then place the lid on. Reduce the heat to low and gently simmer for approximately eighty minutes or until the meat is tender.
– Take the lid off, increase to a high heat and cook, stirring continuously, until the sauce reduces (we omitted this last reduction process as we like a nice lot of sauce with our curries!)

To make our version of Red Lentils with lime and cheese (serves three to four) you will need:
– 180g of red lentils
– One small onion (peeled/chopped)
– Half a teaspoon of ground turmeric
– One fresh green chilli (seeded/chopped)
– One tablespoon of lime juice
– Grated zest of half a lime
– Two fresh kaffir lime leaves
– Two tablespoons of grated Cheddar

Method:
– Place the lentils in a stove top lidded pan with 600ml of water. Add the onion and turmeric, then bring to the boil (don’t let the pot boil over).
– Skim off any residue that rises to the surface of the pan, then place the lid on. Turn the heat down to low and cook for around fifty minutes or until tender.
– Stir in around a teaspoon of salt to taste. At this point you can pass the dal through a sieve, however we chose to miss this out as we like a lot of texture.
– Set the lentils over a low heat. Add the lime juice, lime zest, kaffir lime leaves, chilli and cheese. Stir well and serve.

As the title suggests, this ‘dark’ curry is very aromatic and heavily spiced, but extremely tasty. The meat literally melts in your mouth after that length of cooking time. This is the first time we have tried the dal, which has both a deep savouriness and sharpness that comes from the cheese and the lime. A very interesting new flavour. We served both with some plain basmati rice, a couple of chapatis and some mango chutney. The whole meal made me feel happy and comforted. Satisfaction more then achieved…and on a Monday!!

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