Curry Cook-Off!

Chilli cook-off gatherings are pretty popular here in the Fall, in the USA.  I blogged on one here that we attended in October.  January is a pretty desolate month, the temperatures plummet, the holidays are done and dusted, the parties and events come to a standstill and the winter months drag on.  I thought I’d change that around and organize an event.  The Curry Cook-off idea was born!  A curry cook-off you ask?  You bet, there’s nothing like inventing a new ritual is there?  Based on the same guidelines, we came up with a venue and before you knew it, emails were being exchanged, recipes swapped, friends were handing in their submissions, others asking for particular spices, yet others creating trial runs.   A few weeks of prep work and liaising with one another finally evolved into the most wonderful contribution of curries on a cold winter’s day.

Most of the chefs were male, the curried dishes hailed from Jamaica, India and Malaysia. The energy and enthusiasm before the big day was infectious.  Fueled by beer and wine, this was sure to be an annual bash from now on. Here is my husband’s idea of a joke, he designed these evites before the event 🙂

Curry Cook-off

The winning dish was the Malaysian Yellow Chicken curry.  You could taste the lemon grass and coconut in this subtly pungent curry.  All the entries were fabulous, it was pretty hard to choose a winner.  Each guest had to vote,  we tallied up the most number of votes for the brass lantern prize.  Here are a few pictures of the event.  The picture below shows a friend flipping rotis that will accompany his Jamaican Goat curry.

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The paneer was made from scratch, considering most of the chefs had never cooked curries before, they sure researched it all and did an outstanding job!  Of course it helped that all the guests loved curries even though some of them had never attempted to cook it before.  Now I’m sure they will. 🙂

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IMG_2614and the winner is……The Malaysian Yellow Chicken curry.  The recipe to follow.

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Here’s the recipe in Rob’s words:

The paste is:
4 jalapeño peppers* (sliced, seeds removed)
2 stalks lemon grass (washed, trimmed, chopped)
2 small shallots
3 cloves garlic
1 big cube of peeled ginger root
2-3 tablespoons of ground tumeric
Big pinch of salt
2-3 tablespoons of peanut oil

Put all this in the food processor & blend till relatively smooth. (*You can add heat by chopping a pepper with its seeds, or swapping in 1 or 2 hotter peppers for 1-2 jalapeños.)

Put paste in a pan on medium heat with another few tablespoons of peanut oil. Sauté the paste in the oil for a few minutes…

Keep heat on medium and add 2 small white onions chopped… sweat those down a few minutes.
Add chicken… (note on chicken, best option is dark meat on the bone with the skin removed, thighs & legs, hit it hard with some nice salt before it’s in the pan.) Cook all that down on medium heat for another few minutes.

Now add…

16 ounces of coconut milk
4-6 ounces of chicken stock
2 tablespoons of fish sauce
2 tablespoons of soy sauce
2 tablespoons of light brown sugar
1 cinnamon stick
2 kaffir lime leaves
1-2 tablespoon of ground coriander

Let that go about 5-10 minutes… Now add whatever vegetable you like. I used…

2-3 medium potatoes, peeled & cubed.
3 large carrots, peeled & cubed.
1/2 lb of green beans, trimmed
(Keep the pieces relatively large to prevent over cooking. Smaller veg like the haricot vert can be added late since those take a shorter cook time.)

Turn down heat to medium-low and simmer for about an hour. Adjust seasoning as needed. You could splash is some broth and reduce if needed just watch not to over cook the veg. You could cut the heat with another tablespoon of soy (savory) and/or brown sugar (sweet).

I’m bringing this to Angie’s Fiesta Friday gathering as well.  I had posted this last week, and I wanted to share a wonderful recipe that won the prize for the curry cook-off that I had organized.

 

 

 

47 comments

    1. It really was a fun time and a cook-off that is surely going to be repeated :). I will definitely be trying that winning recipe. Thanks for stopping by as always Nancy 🙂

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    1. I too thought a cooking contest in the dark days of winter would surely perk things up, and it did. Would love to see what you make of yours. My pictures were awful, but then I had 20 people milling around and me trying to play hostess. You get the idea though :). Ha ha, my husband is forever making up funny evites. I got your stamp of approval, thanks Angie, it means a lot 🙂

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    1. Thanks Julie, it was real fun to host. I can’t tell you how excited the guys were, they could not stop discussing it. The Malaysian Chicken Curry was really wonderful, but so were all the other entries. The ironical part was, none of the guys had ever cooked curries before, they were up for the challenge though. They researched, googled, consulted and got it down pat. Bravo to them all! 🙂 Thanks for stopping by.

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    1. When you host, you don’t have to cook, you just be the judge (although I did contribute). Love curries myself, so I thought why not start a curry-cook-off, especially in the doldrums of winter.

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  1. Great idea to organize an event like this especially this time of the year. I have not cooked with curry much at all so it would have been fun to taste all of the entries. I wonder what it is about guys and their chili? Kind of like grilling, I guess LOL Sounds like you had a good turnout and a lot of fun 🙂

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    1. Thanks Judi, it was a grand idea and a roaring success. You’re right though about guys and barbecuing. it’s different though in our house, as I’m the barbecuer. Also wondered why guys always mowed the lawn on their tractors, and there was I the only female on my tractor amongst all the fellas on a Saturday morning. You’ll have to ask sonal to let you sample with her spices. Some of the recipients who received her spices, really did a bang up job. 🙂 Thanks for visiting, as always Judi.

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      1. That’s too funny Loretta – Gene would only grill burgers or steaks so I was really the barbecuer. I mow my lawn too and it’s almost an acre. I love riding on it and getting that fresh air. I heard Sonal was going to sell her spices so I thought I would wait. Selma is sending me some of her sourdough starter if you are interested in getting some. A great tasting bread to make 🙂

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    1. Johanne, it was a curry-cook-off actually. The winning entry was the Malaysian Yellow Curry dish (it was not a chilli). I guess I started talking about the chili cook-off earlier in the post, and explained that it gave me the idea of hosting a curry cook-off! 🙂

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    1. Thanks Caroline, I guess you better not try to host a curry cook-off then if you don’t think there would be enough showing up? :). Glad your family is a big fan though, and certainly I’d say all our contestant friends were fans,but had never really tried cooking it before, so it was a great challenge for them and they all came out winners in my books 🙂

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  2. Love the additional photos you added, Loretta! (Or is my brain malfunctioning? Please tell me there’s new ones!) And I must say…even though I don’t agree with his little joke…I LOVE your husband’s sense of humor. 😀 This Malaysian Chicken Curry is the perfect entree to share with the group celebrating the anniversary of Fiesta Friday…thank you!

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    1. No, I didn’t add additional photos Nancy, but I don’t blame your brain for malfunctioning, you’ve had reams of blogs to go through, and you do it with such finesse! Yes, my husband has quite a sense of humor, hailing from England I suppose, it’s wacky sometimes? :). Thanks for visiting this post twice this week. I just wanted to add it to FF as I thought of the curry cook-off competition and how great it would be to bring it to FF, also to share the winning recipe of course. I actually brought mini-cheesecakes to this week’s FF bash. Enjoy the weekend, and thanks for co-hosting.

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    1. Thanks Michelle, you are from England right? I read somewhere that you were. My folks live in England and I used to live there myself and visit quite often. I have had a few English folks comment that they have cook-offs and bake-offs that they see on television, but never in one’s home. So perhaps you can start a bake-off competition in your home, since you’re such an expert in that area? 🙂

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      1. I do live in England yes, and you’re right we don’t have cook offs here, there’s a TV show called Great British Bake Off where amateur bakers compete which is awesome but I don’t know of anyone that’s had one in their home. I might just have to arrange one one day!

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  3. Loretta,
    What a great idea! The Malaysian curry looks simply awesome. All the curries look delicious and. with almost 3 feet of snow outside, I envy you getting to eat all those warm and delicious curries:)

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    1. Ahhhhh, there you are Sandhya.. you know I saw your blog come up this week in my REader, but haven’t seen you around with your other posts? That’s wierd isn’t it? Anyway, so glad we’ve re-connected, are you back from your trip? Yes, Boston got hit pretty bad you poor bunch! We got a dusting, but very cold temperatures this past week. I’m rather chuffed with my take on a cook-off. We had been to a chilli cook-off in the Fall, so I thought I’d start a tradition with the curry cook-off, it went down a treat! Also, none of the guys had made curries before, so the competition was even more exciting, thankfully they all love curries. It was a lot of fun. 🙂 Off to see what you’ve posted since I haven’t seen you in sometime.

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      1. I am not sure how the reader works- I have not seen your posts either and had missed them I just got back last week but was sad that my dad was admitted to the hospital just after I left. he had an emergency surgery and am hoping he recuperates fast. It is so hard being so far away.
        Yes I came back to 2 snow storms ! We got 28 inches of snow and just so that we have nice and clean snow ,we are getting some more tomorrow night:)
        Curry cook off was a brilliant idea! I want to make sure I get to read all your posts in the reader. So will try figuring that out. I wish Blogging 101 covered that:) I could not keep up with that course though!

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  4. Love this Loretta! Fantastic idea and it looks like it was a huge success. If you are going to make this an annual event, you should get all the recipes together and start compiling a little e-book or something like that!

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    1. Thanks Selma, you do have the most brilliant ideas, I did think of putting together all the recipes somehow, but an e-book idea is just perfect. Considering it was a first, there weren’t too many flaws and it will definitely be replicated next January. Have a great week!

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    1. Thanks Naina, thought you might enjoy that read. I was pretty chuffed at the entire event too; hubby and I want to make it an annual event. Perhaps you could have something similar since most of your posts on winters there are also so dull dismal?

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  5. I love the idea of a curry cook off 🙂 And this curry looks so delicious. I read the list of ingredients twice to think of what I need to buy to make this, delicious 🙂

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  6. Thanks Petra, it was a roaring success I’ll have to say. We might just have an annual curry cook-off every January. Yes, do give that Malaysian chicken a try, it definitely was the winner in my books, although all were just amazing!

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