Hi, Ray here again.
I cast my eyes over the untested vegetarian curry recipes on the Curry Focus website, looking for a good curry to make this weekend.
I decided to try out the vegetarian dhansak curry recipe despite there being lots of ingredients and the complicated-looking cooking instructions. I love a good dal and this was basically a dal.
I needed to get some spice seeds as well as a sweet potato and some fresh coriander (cilantro) so I included a trip to my favourite Indian supply shop during my regular weekly shopping expedition. I love this shop and can spend ages just wandering up and down the aisles just seeing what they’ve got. I try and be disciplined when I’m in the shop and was quite pleased that I left with only a few extra purchases (poppadoms, pav bhaji mix and a couple of packets of Bombay mix).
Back to the recipe. This is one of those recipes that make you work for your curry. I made up the spice powder during the afternoon. First of all I did the dry roasting, then I let the roasted seeds cool and then I made up the final spice powder mix.
The main cooking time for the dhansak curry is about an hour and I did the ingredient preparation in plenty of time.
The actual cooking of the curry was pretty straightforward.
The only part that I was a bit confused about was how much water to add. I had to cover the ingredients with 5cm (2 inches) of water. But shouldn’t the water measurement be a bit more accurate? I was using quite a big saucepan so that meant a lot of water. If I used a smaller saucepan then I’d be adding less water. Anyway, I added the water and carried on with the cooking.
Apart from the water question, following the cooking instructions and all went to schedule.
The curry tasters arrived in plenty of time for the meal and, almost on time, I served up the vegetarian dhansak curry on basmati rice.
And how was it? It was OK. There was too much liquid and the sauce was too runny. In fact, it was too runny to really call a sauce. You could really smell the nutmeg but there wasn’t much of a taste of anything else. The curry was too sweet and I can’t really see why the sugar was needed – I would have thought that the sweet potato would have added enough sweetness. As it was, nobody could taste the tamarind at all.
This was a very workmanlike curry. Nobody raved about it and nobody disliked it. A thicker sauce would have been good and the sugar could have been left out. The one good thing for me was that there was a lot of dal in the curry. The dhansak received a taste score of 6.5 out of 10 with a spice/heat rating of “Medium”.
There were a couple of obvious pluses with this recipe. It was a cheap curry to make and there was lots of it – there are easily 4 large portions in this curry.