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Author Topic: Vindaloo with Zaal base  (Read 6373 times)

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Offline Salvador Dhali

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Vindaloo with Zaal base
« on: February 22, 2012, 08:20 PM »
Today, I have mainly been making up a batch of base a la Zaal:

http://www.curry-recipes.co.uk/curry/index.php?topic=7859.0

And following a very rushed lunchtime stab at an egg phal, plumped for a more relaxed approach to an evening vindaloo.

Ingredients

350-400ml Zaal base (although this will of course work with any decent, balanced base)
Pre-cooked meat of choice (I used turkey thigh, which is excellent value, succulent with great texture, and, when used with hot curries, works well as faux lamb. I'm always amazed at how many people ask me what meat it is)
A few pieces of potato, cooked in turmeric water and a bit of salt
1.5 chef spoons of oil or ghee (or 2.5tbsp)
1 generous dsp of garlic/ginger paste (mine is 50-50 mix)
1 chef spoon or 2tbsp of dilute tomato paste (I use 1:4 ratio paste to water)
1.5tsp of mix powder (any you have already to hand - on this occasion I used my own mix, which is so similar to many others it's not worth banging on about, to be honest)
1tbsp chilli powder (I used deggi mirch, but if you're using extra hot powder you may want to tone it down a little. Or not, as the case may be.)
Generous pinch of methi leaf
Salt - getting salt levels right is, in my view, critical in BIR cookery, and there's only one way to do it and that's by trial and error, so start off with a quarter or half a teaspoon and keep tasting, tasting, tasting...
Fresh coriander

Optional extras:

(These are a few things I do from time to time, as the mood takes me...)

A squirt of tomato ketchup (quell horreur!), added with the tomato paste, for a touch of extra sweetness if desired, and a squirt of lemon dressing added at the end, for a touch of balancing sourness
Fresh chillies, added about half-way through the cooking process, for that wonderful extra dimension of texture and unecessary additional heat
Garam masala, added at the end (though personally I don't bother with curries hotter than Madras...)
Extra garlic/ginger paste added towards the end, as in Julian from Curry2Go's vindaloo recipe. (Not recommended if romance is in the air...)

Method

1. Pan on, oil in and get up to a reasonably high heat. (On my poxy self-regulating ceramic hob this means full power and a relaxing 30sec wait. On a powerful gas burner such as this one, recommended by Solarsplace, it's a matter of nanoseconds to achieve napalm heat levels. http://www.gasproducts.co.uk/acatalog/Large_Square_Gas_Boiling_Ring.html)

2. Garlic/ginger paste in, and get that spoon working fast to keep things moving. You're looking for a nice golden brown colour to the garlic/ginger, and how long this takes depends on your cooker, pan, how much water is in the paste, etc. As ever, the eye plays the crucial role here.

3. I'm a big fan of initially singeing my spices in hot oil  when using my ceramic hob, as the addition of tomato paste at this point merely robs the pan of precious heat, so in goes the mix powder, chilli powder and salt, followed by a short period of frantic spoon action as it all comes up to heat, followed by the tomato paste and a big dollop of anxiety, sweat, and finally abject panic as you play dare and singe as far as your frazzled nerves will allow. For me, that point is reached when they're smoking and I start choking, and the spices reach the point where you think "Bollocks. They're f**ked". Obviously there's a fine line, but for me, a 'caramelised' dark brown is okay, but black is a disaster. If black happens just bin everything and start again.

4. Once choking, in goes a ladle of gravy. If you've been good, your gravy is already up to temp and bubbling away, and if your curry pan is hot enough the first ladle will almost disappear in a small pyrotechnic display bordering on the theatrical  (yes, even on a poxy ceramic hob). You'll also notice that oil separation happens almost instantaneously.

5. In with another ladle or so of gravy. I like to reduce this right down, Taz style, until it's a thick paste before adding more gravy. I also add the methi leaves at this point, as they're delicate and I find they can carbonise if added in the early supernova stages.

6. Once reduced, add your main ingredient and some more gravy (plus a little water if needed), and leave to bubble away until the sauce has reached the consistency you like.

Job done!

A double portion of vindaloo reducing nicely...




The finished dish (minus coriander, as I'd run out...)





« Last Edit: February 22, 2012, 09:02 PM by Salvador Dhali »
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Offline curryhell

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Re: Vindaloo with Zaal base
« Reply #1 on: February 22, 2012, 09:05 PM »
Lovely clear write up of the method with some classic humour thrown in ;D.  A damn good singe read I would say ::).  The pics look the real deal and i suspect you had the smell and the taste and the house now smells like the local Raj of India?  How do you rate this compared to your local BIR's and TA's
So singe baby singe, the curry's getting better ..........


Offline ELW

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Re: Vindaloo with Zaal base
« Reply #2 on: February 22, 2012, 09:28 PM »
it's pure brinkmanship with those spices  :(

looks like a Ipac Grandi Cuochi 26 cm Aluminium Fry Pan if i'm not mistaken SD  ;)

ELW

Offline Whandsy

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Re: Vindaloo with Zaal base
« Reply #3 on: February 22, 2012, 09:32 PM »
Looks yummy salvador dhali, a curry maker and a renowned artist to boot hehe :D

W

Offline Salvador Dhali

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Re: Vindaloo with Zaal base
« Reply #4 on: February 22, 2012, 09:44 PM »
Lovely clear write up of the method with some classic humour thrown in ;D.  A damn good singe read I would say ::).  The pics look the real deal and i suspect you had the smell and the taste and the house now smells like the local Raj of India?  How do you rate this compared to your local BIR's and TA's

I've been cooking since 11.00am this morning, curryhell, but while my nostrils have given up on me a mate who dropped in earlier did remark: "Bloody hell. Smells like an effing curry house in here", which always pleases me no end, so I'm a happy bunny.

The taste is excellent, though if I'm being completely honest, not quite as good as the egg phal I made at lunchtime. Maybe this killed my senses for the vindaloo, but it's more likely to be a lack of nerve in the singeing stakes. Tomorrow will tell though!

I find it really hard to compare to my local BIR's and TA's. I'd like to say that my curries are on a par with the better ones, but the truth is that they're not consistently so.

Like many home enthusiasts I can sometimes get it absolutely spot on, and other times just produce a very good home style curry. This vindaloo was somewhere in the middle, I think.

One of the telling factors with this singeing lark (I've found) is that you know you've cracked it when you achieve seemingly incredible levels of heat from fairly low levels of chilli powder. This vindaloo failed in that department.

Like I say, still very nice, but nothing to shout about and call my brother up to get his arse round pronto, before it all goes...
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Offline Salvador Dhali

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Re: Vindaloo with Zaal base
« Reply #5 on: February 22, 2012, 09:47 PM »
it's pure brinkmanship with those spices  :(

looks like a Ipac Grandi Cuochi 26 cm Aluminium Fry Pan if i'm not mistaken SD  ;)

ELW

Well spotted there sir!

Perfect for a double portion and a bargain at ?9 something from Amazon... (Though they may have gone up now.)
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Offline curryhell

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Re: Vindaloo with Zaal base
« Reply #6 on: February 22, 2012, 10:30 PM »
I've been cooking since 11.00am this morning, curryhell, but while my nostrils have given up on me a mate who dropped in earlier did remark: "Bloody hell. Smells like an effing curry house in here", which always pleases me no end, so I'm a happy bunny.
Always nice when someone says that
Quote
The taste is excellent, though if I'm being completely honest, not quite as good as the egg phal I made at lunchtime. Maybe this killed my senses for the vindaloo, but it's more likely to be a lack of nerve in the singeing stakes. Tomorrow will tell though!
Probably cos you weren't under any pressure to singe correctly when you cooked the egg vindaloo (which is just wrong by the way ;D)
Quote
I find it really hard to compare to my local BIR's and TA's. I'd like to say that my curries are on a par with the better ones, but the truth is that they're not consistently so.
Like many home enthusiasts I can sometimes get it absolutely spot on, and other times just produce a very good home style curry. This vindaloo was somewhere in the middle, I think.
We now know what we need to do, but doing it consistantly is the next hurdle.  Unfortunately, there is no easy solution other than practice.  If you cooked at least 40 dishes on a quiet day 6 days a week for a year or so, you'd nail it.  But how often do we cook BIR at home to that extent - never.  So it will always be a bit hit and miss.  but with practice i'm sure we'll get better at it and more consistant ;D
Quote
One of the telling factors with this singeing lark (I've found) is that you know you've cracked it when you achieve seemingly incredible levels of heat from fairly low levels of chilli powder. This vindaloo failed in that department.
Totally agree.  If i've got the heat out of the chilli powder into the sauce you're 3/4 the way there :D  but we'll persevere, now knowing that we can do it at home.  It's all about practice and not some secret mystical  ingredient that nobody will talk about ;D
So singe baby singe, the curry's getting better ..........

Offline natterjak

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Re: Vindaloo with Zaal base
« Reply #7 on: February 23, 2012, 12:07 AM »
An excellent looking recipe and smashing photos SD. Your post reads as one from an "old hand" who has been around here for years.
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Offline 976bar

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Re: Vindaloo with Zaal base
« Reply #8 on: February 23, 2012, 08:31 AM »
Isn't it funny how some people swear by adding vinegar to a vindaloo and others don't bother... :)

Nice post, I was thinking of having porrdige for breakfast, but I'm in two minds now  ;D

Offline Salvador Dhali

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Re: Vindaloo with Zaal base
« Reply #9 on: February 23, 2012, 09:54 AM »
An excellent looking recipe and smashing photos SD. Your post reads as one from an "old hand" who has been around here for years.

Very kind of you, natterjack. (And I definitely qualify for the "old" bit ;D )

Isn't it funny how some people swear by adding vinegar to a vindaloo and others don't bother... :)

I've often wondered about this too, as there seems to be some difference of opinion even in exalted circles about the origin of the BIR version and its relationship (if any) to its Portuguese influenced Goan forebear.

But then there's no shortage of variation when it comes to an "authentic" Goan style vindaloo, it seems. I've come across recipes that insist wine vinegar is called for, whereas others insist that the 'vin' part of the name refers to wine, and the souring agent is tamarind. I've cooked it every which way, and have to say I'm not keen on it as a dish - vinegar or wine. Give me the BIR version any day!

I've tried using vinegar in my BIR vindaloos, but prefer lemon or lime juice.

As with so many of these things, I guess it's down to personal taste...
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