The Best of All Possible Curries

Island Epicure


If Voltaire’s characters Candide and Professor Pangloss had been a dinner guests at my house this week, the professor would have recommended the recipe I give you in today’s column, Professor Pangloss would have praised it as the “best of all possible curries in this best of all possible worlds.”

My grandson James Hamaker did dine with me. He is a superb and innovative cook himself, but he had to ask me what I put in our supper entrée that made that curry so spectacularly delicious. I’ll not be so vain as to call it “the best of all possible curries, but maybe it was. I will call it a Goldie Locks Curry, which is to say, spiced “just right.”

Our curry was made with leftover turkey meat, but you could make it with cooked chicken. The almond milk and a handful of dried coconut shreds were James’s suggestion, a substitute for coconut milk. They worked very well.

Turkey or Chicken
Goldie Locks Curry
Serves 2 or 3

3 Tablespoons coconut oil or Spanish extra virgin olive oil
1 medium size yellow onion, wedge sliced
3 ribs celery, chopped
2 large garlic cloves
3 slices fresh gingerroot, slivered
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
½ teaspoon cumin seeds
½ teaspoon turmeric
½ teaspoon black pepper
¼ teaspoon hot red pepper or cayenne
1 teaspoon salt
1 to 1 1/2cups diced cooked turkey or chicken meat
2 cups boiling water
½ cup dried coconut shreds
1 cup almond milk
1 cup washed, coarsely chopped spinach leaves and stems.

Prepare the vegetables. Heat the oil in a wide, deep skillet until the oil shimmers. Fry the seeds, garlic and ginger until the garlic is golden brown, about 3 minutes.

Add onions, celery, and turmeric. Stir fry until glossy and the onions are limp, 5 to 10 minutes. Add salt and black and red peppers. Reduce heat. Add boiling water and coconut shreds. Add Meat. Cover. Cook 10 minutes. Add almond milk. Cover and cook on low heat until well heated through. Scatter spinach on top. Cover. Cook 1 minute to wilt spinach.
Serve over steamed brown rice, with a fruit salad on the side. James made our salad using torn red lettuce, chopped apple, and blueberries. I used blue cheese dressing on mine. James chose ranch style. If you’re partial to mayonnaise, that would work, perhaps with a little lemon juice to cut its greasiness.

An appropriate beverage with this meal is spice tea