My high school crush was Jamie Oliver. Yes, I dreamed of him spotting me while I carefully selected produce at the Old Strathcona Farmer's Market, being instantly drawn to me, and insisting he take me to my high school grad. And then, obviously, whisking me off to London and have his little Jamie Oliver babies. Clearly, this isn't how life panned out, but what I will say, is though my crush on Jamie waned, my gratitude for what his TV series and cookbooks have taught me has not. Aside from my Mom, he was the one that made me feel cooking was an accessible skill to me.
I have eleven Jamie Oliver cookbooks, and the reason why even my oldest one (Sweet Sixteen Birthday Gift, circa 1997) remains accessible in my kitchen is because I've found comfort in the fact that his recipes are less about exactitude and more about learning and understanding a method. My exploration with curries has been no exception, once you've got a quick method down you can play with your protein and add a variety of vegetables (or not), but there's always the promise of a wonderfully hearty and satisfying meal that can come together with very little effort (or skill). This recipe is just that; here's a method and adjust as you please. Further to this point, there are countless types of curries. The term curry just refers to a combination of chilies, herbs and spices that yield a deep, intense flavor and aroma. This recipe is a launchpad for you to explore what tones in curry flavours you enjoy (tikka, korma, thai green...). Here, you have a one pot wonder (save the rice pot) that has layers upon layers of flavor added in an order that is totally forgiving. If you haven't tried your hand at putting together a curry, consider this a great initiation recipe!
For the Warming Pork Curry
Adapted from Jamie Oliver's Chicken Korma recipe, in "Jamie's Food Revolution"
What you'll need:
- Anywhere from a 1¾ to 2½ lbs. pork tenderloin, chunked in inch by inch by inch pieces (essentially you just want the pieces roughly the same size)
- 2 medium onions or three small onions, sliced in half moons
- Thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger, peeled and minced
- Bunch of fresh cilantro, leaves picked and set aside, stalks finely chopped
- 1 green chile, seeded and chopped (I typically use a serrano chile)
- 1 x 19 oz. can of chick peas (aka garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed
- ½ jar of your favorite curry paste, as Jamie does, I use Patak's
- 1 x 400 ml. can of coconut milk
- 2 handfuls of sweetened shredded coconut
- 1 handful of sliced almonds, plus extra for serving
- Sea salt and ground pepper to taste
- A few glugs of vegetable oil
- 2 tbsp. butter
What to do:
- Do not concern yourself with exact quantities here. You'll get there, and with this combination of ingredients it's tough to disappoint. As you continue to make curries you'll start to learn how much heat you like, the level of sweetness your palate desires, and the heartiness of dish you want.
- In a large pan warm your oil and allow the butter to melt. Add your sliced onions, ginger, cilantro stalks, and green chile.
- On low heat, allow the ingredients to meld together until you onions are translucent. This will take about 10 minutes. Careful not to burn the ginger or onions.
- Once the onion mixture has moved the translucent phase, add curry paste and meat. Stir till meat and onion base so they are covered and slick with curry paste.
- Add can of coconut milk along with a can-ful of water, sliced almonds and shredded cocounut. Stir and bring to a simmer.
- Allow curry to simmer for about 30 minutes uncovered. You'll want to avoid a heavy boil as this could toughen the meat.
- After 30 minutes of simmering, give the curry a taste, here you'll want to adjust salt and pepper to your taste preference. Too, this would be the time to add more shredded coconut if you desired a sweeter curry, keep in mind that the rice will have a sweetness to it as well.
- Add chick peas and continue to simmer uncovered. Now move on to the rice.
For the Perfectly Sweet Coconut Rice
Adapted from Jamie Oliver's Light and Fluffy Rice recipe, in "Jamie's Food Revolution"
What you'll need:
- 1-1½ c. basmati rice or long grain white rice (1 c. for 2-4 people, 1½ c. for 4-6 people)
- 1 handful of sweetened shredded coconut
- ½ tsp. salt
What to do:
- Find the pot in your set that has the steamer basket along with a tight-fitting lid.
- To that pot, fill halfway with water and bring to a boil.
- As the water is coming to a boil, in a fine-meshed sieve or colander rinse your rice till the water runs clear, this could take a full minute or two.
- Add salt to boiling water then add rinsed rice, turn heat to med-high and give a few stirs. Once you start to see the rice grains come the surface and bounce around, set your kitchen timer for 5 minutes. Go ahead and stir the rice a few times during this 5 minute period.
- From here, drain the rice directly into the steamer basket and rinse out pot into the steam basket to loosen any stuck pieces of rice, don't sweat this though, whatever stays on the pot washes easily. Let basket of rice stand for about 30 seconds. Refill pot with an inch or so of water and return to heat.
- Put steamer basket back over pot, add your handfuls of shredded coconut and secure lid.
- Steam rice for 10 minutes.
- Remove rice from heat and put a piece of paper towel under the lid and let stand for about 10 minutes before fluffing the rice.
- Fluff rice and serve!
When I make curry, I generally have the table set with a bowl of plain yogurt, some lemon wedges, cilantro leaves and sliced almonds. Pro-tip, if you or anyone at your table find there's too much heat to the curry, the yogurt is very cooling. For Xavier I automatically stir a big dollop of yogurt right in to his serving.