A close friend of mine started experimenting with curry pastes to bring some known and unknown flavours to the consumer with his brand CurryTree Pastes. While the readymade curry paste as a concept is new to this part of the country which is traditionally adopts the DIY technic for cooking, it still had takers who could cook a meal in less than 20 min with 2-3 ingredients.
We have always grown up seeing and making our own "khadha masala" (raw masala), the curry pastes from fresh ingredients, borrowing a page from the traditional recipes passed on from generations of their amma & dadi amma's, the small compromise of fresh flavour against the time taken using a curry paste was worth exploring and trying out. I laid my hands on 3 classic flavours from Curry Tree pastes - Kerela Roast, Chettinad Masala and Cafreal Masala. The paste represented 3 States of India, the Gods own country and their roast, Tamilnadu & their spicy Chettinad flavours and the classic Cafreal from Goa.
Here are my recipes for some of these classics:
Take a pressure cooker and add 2 tbsp of oil, add some ginger garlic paste and fry it a bit. Add the mutton pieces and fry them for a while. Add water and boil under pressure till it is cooked. Once cooked, separate the mutton and strain the stock and use it later.
Take a pan and add 2-3 tbsp of Refined oil or Ghee (Clarified butter). Add the CurryTree Chettinad curry paste and cook well. Add the mutton pieces and cook on high flame. Add the mutton stock based on the consistency you would like for the gravy. Simmer the mutton for 7-10 min. Cook on high flame to bring the desired consistency, switch off the flame once we see the ghee floating up. Let the cook rest for a while. Garnish with some tempered curry leaves and green chilies and serve hot with Partha / Chapatti or Dosa.
Cafreal Twist - Shashlik
We have always enjoyed the classic Chicken Cafreal from Goa, my take was to make something different with the Cafreal paste and apply it to make another classic with a twist. I ended up making some yummy Shashliks which went very well with my Sunday afternoon gin & tonic.
Take 450 gms of Boneless Chicken Thighs
Add some olive oil, Ginger Garlic paste and salt and marinate for 10 min.
Add hung curd and cafreal masala and make a thick paste. Add the same to the chicken and rub them with the thick paste. Keep them aside for 30-45 min. Add green chilli paste if you want them spicy.
Use skewers, and arrange the chicken with bell peppers and onion and make the shashlik. Once the skewers are ready, take an iron grill pan, heat it well, the pan should be very hot. Add some olive oil / while oil and put the skewers on them. The pan should be hot, so that the marinate sticks to the chicken, else it will release water and become messy. Add oil as appropriate and turn the skewers to cook the chicken. It will not take more than 5 min on each side to cook.
Enjoy the shashlik with Gin Tonic or a glass of beer. You can even use the Shashlik as pizza topping and enjoy a classic margarita with twist.