I remember the first time I ever had Indian food. It was in Greenville South Carolina of all places. Wal and I were both living in South Carolina and we’d take a day trip to the big city of Greenville from the little town we both found ourselves in and we just happened upon this place. Wal went a bit bonkers when he saw the place. I don’t think I realised then how much he missed Indian food or how much a part of British culture going out for a curry was until I moved to England. Anyway we made plans to head up to Greenville again the next weekend so that we could try the restaurant out. I’d never had Indian but from that day on I was hooked! Although Wal didn’t rate it much it was the best he could get so we became fairly regular, well as regular as you can be when a restaurant is an hour away.
Living in South Carolina, a state not known for it’s diversity or forward thinking was a challenge. The challenges of living there would manifest itself in the oddest of ways for both of us. For poor Wal it was food. He’d try to cook Indian at home and would be unable to find most of the ingredients. I remember one time he wanted lamb. You’d think that would be a pretty easy ingredient to find. I mean it’s lamb- a baby sheep- nothing exotic there… well you would be wrong. We tried every grocery store in our town, we headed to different towns, we tried to find a butcher and we struck out every single time. Wal became a man obsessed. For months every time we went to a new place he’d look to see if they sold lamb. I can safely say that 10 years ago in Upstate South Carolina you could not buy lamb. Although Wal was on mission to find lamb that didn’t mean he didn’t cook and luckily for me he loved to cook and well we were still in the trying to impress so I can get into your pants stage of our relationship. While home for the holidays Wal had packed some Indian spices and had a pretty good stash so we were able to make some fab dishes at home whenever he had craving- which oddly enough usually hit him on a Friday night after a couple of beers.
Now we’re both living in England and we can go out for Indian any time we want. The thing is we love to cook so more often than not we’re in the kitchen cooking a curry and loving every minute of it.
In 2014, global flavour leader McCormick, parent company of leading herbs and spices brand Schwartz, is celebrating its 125th anniversary. The year long celebration kicks off with the launch of the 125th Anniversary Edition of the Flavour Forecast and the Flavour of Together programme, with the goal of connecting people around the world as they share 1.25 million stories about the special role food and flavour plays in our lives through. Flavour Forecast – an annual prediction of what ‘flavours’ will be most popular in the cooking world. I love the idea of flavour forecasting- it’s great to see what the newest thing in cooking is going to be. When Schwartz sent us some spices I knew exactly which one I was going to go for- Modern Masala!
I made my current favourite a mix of saag gobi and saag aloo- I call it saag gobi-aloo. I know, I know you’re amazed at my creativity- it took me ages to come up with that name *tongue firmly in cheek*
6 tsp oil
1 onion sliced thinly
1 tsp turmeric
2 fresh chilies finely chopped
small/medium cauliflower (gobi)
125g potato (aloo)
1 250g bag of fresh spinach (saag)
I parboil the cauliflower and potato for about 5 minutes.
In a lidded pan, heat the oil and add the onion and cook until soft. Add the ginger, turmeric, chillies and garlic and cook for 5 minutes. Add the cauliflower and potato, salt to taste, stir everything really well and cover. Cook until the cauliflower and potato is just soft. Add the fresh spinach and cook for another 5 minutes until the spinach is nice and wilted and the cauliflower potato is soft.
South Carolina Curry Chicken
25g veg oil
3 large onions
cinnamon sticks (2)
2 garlic cloves
1 tsp chilli powder
2 tsp paprika
500g boneless skinless chicken thighs
1 tin of chopped tomatoes
salt/pepper to taste
I mix all the spices together and fry them up in the oil for about 2 minutes. I then add the onions and cook together for 5 minutes. Add the chicken and the tin of chopped tomatoes and simmer in a low heat for 20 minutes.
Serve with rice and chipati’s
Check out the Schwartz FaceBook Cooking club for some inspiration and to read about flavour stories from around the world.