Monday, 4 July 2011

Cooking With Children : DIY Curry Powder Recipe

This weekend Lara made her first ever home-made curry powder (we had run out, and now that we have the FunPod, there didn't seem any reason not to let Lara help me out). It was chaotic, but great fun so I thought I would share my DIY Curry Powder Recipe with you all as it is a brilliant idea for cooking with children. A home-made curry powder is unique - your child can choose to add as much or as little as they like of each ingredient to truely make it their own.

I've split the ingredients into the must-haves and the could-haves. The must-haves are the ingredients which I consider to be the base of any good curry powder and without which, the finished article would disappoint. The could-haves are ingredients that you could choose to leave out if you don't like the flavours, or simply if you haven't got any of the ingredients in your store cupboard right now. All of the ingredients should be readily available in your local supermarket in little jars like our Schwartz ones. If you try out this all-round curry powder recipe, I'm sure you'll agree that a freshly blended DIY curry powder beats most ready-mixed alternatives and offers you a great level of flexibility when it comes to chilli heat, something that is very important when cooking for young children.



INGREDIENTS
Must-Haves
1.5 Tablespoons Whole Corriander Seeds
2.5 Tablespoons Whole Cumin Seeds
1 Tablespoon Ground Turmeric Powder
1 Teaspoon Mild Chilli Powder
5cm Whole Cinnamon Stick

Could-Haves
1 Dessert Spoon Whole Fenugreek Seeds
1 Dessert Spoon Whole Fennel Seeds
1 Teaspoon Black Pepper Corns
The Seeds From 2 Green Cardamoms
1 Teaspoon Whole Cloves
1/2 Teaspoon Allspice
3/4 Teaspoon Aesfotida
1 Teaspoon Garlic Powder/Granules
1 Teaspoon Ground Ginger

In a bowl, Lara combined as much of the whole cumin, corriander, fennel, fenugreek and cinnamon stick as she fancied. Then I stepped in to heat the whole spices in a dry frying pan over a medium heat until the second that the corriander seeds first started to pop. It is tempting to heat the spices until they start to brown, but trust me, if you take them off the heat at this point then they continue to cook and brown as they cool. This prevents them from burning and going bitter (and pinging all over the kitchen).



Once the spices had cooled, we mixed in the whole black pepper corns and cardamom seeds and then ground the spices to a fine powder. You can either do this using a pestle and mortar (great fun for older children to bish and bash, but far too much like hard work for me!). We used an old coffee grinder that I reserve these days for spices. Lara placed the whole spices into the blender and then gave it a good zuzz for a about 20-30 seconds.

At this point I let Lara shake out the powder into a big bowl before adding in all of the remaining ingredients. She gave it a really good mix to ensure that the ground spices were evenly mixed with the turmeric (and to ensure that she got bright yellow turmeric all over the floor, her feet and my arms).

We decanted the curry powder into a sealable jar and labelled it "Lara's Curry Powder" so that we don't forget what it is. A jar this size will last us two or three months. I think, by the look on Lara's face, that she felt very proud!



Note:- If you intend to make your own curry powder with a toddler then be prepared to get turmeric yellow stains EVERYWHERE! In retrospect, I probably shouldn't have let Lara wear a brand new T-shirt when making her first curry powder!

Thank you Schwartz for helping me to achieve one of my new year's resolutions - teaching Lara to cook. If she learns nothing else this year, she has one staple recipe under her belt!
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