this college student is attempting to cook good curry

<p>Haha, I've moved on from jook/congee ... it tastes good but having two pots of it for winter break is good enough for a while. ;) </p>

<p>I'm going shopping now but I have access to internet on my phone... anyone have any tips for something that's relatively easy or simplified for a college students to make? Also relatively cost-effective... but yet something beyond just tossing curry paste into boiling water without doing anything else...</p>

<p>Such as replacement for some spices, when to use the commercial curry powders or when to make my own. How to make cost-effective use of coconut milk, etc. I have access to supermarkets and an Asian market, but I don't know how diverse its products are.</p>

<p>I sometimes make my own version of curry chicken. You can use different parts of the chicken; the cooking time will depend on whether there are bones, you are using legs or breast meat, etc...</p>

<p>Brown the chicken (fry in in some oil until the chicken surfaced has completely changed color (no raw bits showing).
Peel and chop carrots (if lazy, ready peeled baby carrots can do).
Peel and quarter some onions
Peel and cut potatoes into bite sized pieces.
Toss the lot into pot together with the chicken.</p>

<p>I use Indian curry powder that I buy in an Asian supermarket. It's hot, so I use it sparingly (my family runs the gamut as to hotness). Add salt and some water (not too much otherwise you'll have soup, just enough so that the food does not burn). Bring to a boil then lower the heat to simmer. I do not use coconut milk because a. I would not use it often enough and b. the cholesterol is too high. I substitute heavy cream for it and maybe add a bit of sugar.</p>

<p>For anything more complicated, we just go to an Indian restaurant. :)</p>

<p>I doubt if a college student would have the need to make a personal curry powder....just use an Indian one very sparingly. Marite has given you a good basic curried chicken recipe.</p>

<p>It's possible that learning to cook is the most important skill from my college years. 12 of us rented a house together and we divided into teams of 3. One team cooked, one team cleaned up the kitchen and one team cleaned the public areas of the house. We rotated every week.</p>

<p>Why sparingly? I'm from Singapore. Believe me, I can take very spicy things ... ;)</p>

<p>There are a multitude of spice/herb combinations out there I feel like experimenting with over break ... I can purchase things like tamarind and ginger to supplement the stuff ... it's just that I don't know which combinations are good, which are necessary for good-tasting curry, etc.</p>

<p>Also, I'm not sure about water-paste proportions. Just how much water should I use, if I want to make a big enough batch to last me for days?</p>

<p>Any way to make curry in the style of stew or jook?</p>

<p>I want sort of like the idea of the chicken soaking in my curry on simmer...</p>

<p>I grind my own spices for curry powders. For Thai curries, I make homemade curry pastes that typically start with dried chiles and/or fresh chiles.</p>

<p>Curry is a word that has about a thousand different meanings. Your best bet would be to look on the internet for a simple curry recipe or follow the instructions on a packet or jar of curry mix or sauce from your grocery store. There are plenty of products for making quick and easy Thai or Indian curry dishes. That would be a good place to start for a college student, unless you are prepared to spend $50 or more stocking a spice shelf with just the curry spices (cumin seed, coriander seed, cardamom seed, tumeric, and so forth).</p>

<p>My advice. Never ever substitute store bought Thai curry paste one-for-one in recipe calling for homemade curry paste. I made that mistake once. Even after making an entire second recipe with NO spice and mixing the two together, it was too hot to eat. A storebought curry paste might call for a tablespoon where you use a cup of homemade curry paste... yeoow.</p>

<p>If you are thinking coconut milk curries, look in the Thai section. There will be jars of curry paste, probably with instructions for turning a can of coconut milk into a curry. It's pretty simple. Just brown your meat a bit. Stir in the curry paste. Add the curry milk (like the sear the cream off the top first, then add the liquid). And, add whatever veggies you like. Baby corns from a can. Broccoli is good. Carrots work. Snap peas are good. Whatever. I mean: meat, coconut milk, curry paste, and veggies and you have a Thai curry.</p>


<p>Rereading your request, my advice is get a Thai cookbook or do a search for a good simple Thai cooking website. </p>

<p>Learning to cook is easy if you start by following recipes. I didn't start "winging it" for several years. The cookbooks will get you started with the basic techniques, most of which are universal across all cuisines in all corners of the world.</p>

<p>My "bible" of Thai cooking is Victor Sodsook's True Thai. I think it's one of the best cookbooks ever written. It is not, however, for the beginner cook. It makes everything from scratch and assumes a well-stocked pantry and spice rack. In fact one of the things that makes it such a great cookbook is the long chapter on finding the Thai and Chinese ingredients in US Asian markets.</p>

<p>More curry the better. I too have yet to find a curry that is warm enough for me. Use the crockpot or rice cooker.</p>

<p>True curry makes from lot of different spices frying up together. I have a cupboard full of them because I hate curry paste.</p>

<p>Hmm, I'm looking for a general Southeast Asian sort of curry ... maybe with Malay/Chinese influences too (like laksa!). A big pot -- almost like a stew? So then I can't have too much spice with a pot that big, right?</p>

<p>Also, I've lost 18 pounds since I've entered college. I'm not really worried about the fat/cholesterol issue. :p I am worried about the price of coconut milk though.</p>

<p>I plan to cook rice in coconut milk and a tiny dash of salt. I have cream of mushroom around and a big tub of sour cream -- any way to stretch my supply of coconut milk with a bit of mixing?</p>

<p>I agree curry means many things; Indian, Thai, Jamaican. I recently found jarred products from World Foods that make things really simple.</p>

<p>WORLDFOODS</a> : Taste of Asia</p>

<p>Also, I've lost 18 pounds since I've entered cholesterol

<p>I guess you mean college! still, rice in plain coconut milk will be a little greasy, Lite Coconut milk works great and is sometimes cheaper.</p>

<p>Bad editing ... I meant entering college lol. :p</p>

<p>My favorite, and good for long cooking braises and stews.
Malaysian Rendang Curry Sauce
WORLDFOODS</a> : Taste of Asia</p>

<p>Put the cooker outside and not inside. Some people find curry objectionable within confining spaces (dorm or apartments). And the smell is hard to remove from curtains, beddings, and furniture uphostery.</p>

<p>I'm the only resident on my floor who chose to stay over winter break. =)</p>

<p>Alright, I'm going to try to tackle this as curried soup/stew.</p>

<p>Meaning, I don't think I'll try to dress / spice my chicken before I dump it in, since my first ingredient will be water (not oil) and the chicken is going to be simmering anyway? Or should dress my chicken anyway? </p>

<p>Here's my plan:</p>

<p>I plan to cook my curry in the same general way I'd do for jook, only I'm mixing creamy stuff and curry spices in, and the rice is being cooked separately. That is, heat 9-10 cups water, add vegetables (lots of celery, tomatoes, turnips, carrots, potatoes...), maybe some meat/vegetable bouillon cubes, then toss in 2 chicken backs, some basil paste (can't afford to use fresh basil over the long term!), fresh ginger and garlic. I'll add in peppercorns as well. Let boil for 15 mins, so the ingredients can start dissolving into the water, then add in chicken thighs (dressed with salt/spices?), curry paste and powder? Then simmer on medium-low for hours, stirring in coconut milk and sour cream.</p>

<p>I also have condensed cream of mushroom and cream of chicken -- maybe I should make a pot of cream of mushroom (Campbell's lol), and stew stuff in that? </p>

<p>I'll prepare the rice separately. A cup or two of rice (I'm going to run through my stock of cheap long grain rice first before I buy jasmine rice or something), boiled in coconut milk (is sour cream / cream of mushroom compatible to add in here?) and a pinch of salt, till the rice absorbs all the water. I would totally add pandan or screwpine (still replaceable with a bit of basil?), but I don't have access to them. :( (Well actually I woke up late today and missed the Asian supermarket's Christmas Eve hours by like half an hour.)</p>

<p>Add the veggies in the last two-three hours because the vegs will be very soft if you cook for "many hours". Seasonings and meat can go together. Basil very near the end because the flavors will cookoff. Leave out the boullion cubes and add more chix. </p>

<p>Start with a basic stew recipe. If you want to add more stuff, do so only after you know what a basic stew tastes like.</p>

<p>So should I season all my chicken individually before adding them in? I've got 3-4 ibs worth of chicken thighs.</p>

<p>I've sort of made successful congee/jook and vegetable soups, so I want to tackle it from that model. (The kind where the timing of a lot of the ingredients doesn't seem to matter that much...) Also my intention is to let the vegetables become tiny particles in the soup -- I don't like crunchy vegetables. :) </p>

<p>So leave out the bouillon completely? I think I can use it to supplement some of the stuff I will be missing and to the supplement the store-bought curry pastes, but maybe I'm mistaken.</p>

<p>Basically, a lot of the recipes seem to start from the basis of spices and paste in oil, then adding cream and (coconut) milk .... so it's okay to start from the basis of water?</p>

<p>Alright this (Chicken</a> Vegetable Stew - Allrecipes) seems like a good basic recipe to start off with, especially since it mentions tumeric (a core ingredient of a lot of curry pastes that I assume I can substitute with curry paste and powder in general) but I'm confused by the low amount of water ...</p>

<p>I also will have chicken that still has bones (which IMO is a good thing, since I can make good stock from it...)</p>

<p>Just do an internet search for a chicken curry recipe. I've never seen one that starts with a lot of water. </p>

<p>I know you can find a curry recipe using Google. Personally, I would start a curry with whole chicken pieces by browning the chicken. Then, sauteeing my veggies (garlic, onions, chiles, whatever) and spices to release the flavors. A curry paste is just all that stuff already blended together. For example, I might make a green curry paste and freeze it so that it's easy to whip up jungle curry chicken dish.</p>

<p>I made a lamb vindaloo last weekend, which is sort of a Portuguese/Goa curry. It used sauteed onions and a head of garlic as the flavor base, thickener. For liquid, some vinegar and only about 8 ounces of water. Curries are more like making beef stew than a soup stock.</p>