I chose this recipe because I had never used Nigella seeds or Curry leaves before and I was really curious to see what they were like. The recipe is from Simon Rimmer’s vegetarian cookbook ‘The Accidental Vegetarian’ which you can buy here. I haven’t cooked a lot out of it, mainly because my interest is captured by photos and there aren’t many, but everything I have tried has been delicious.
I’m not sure if I made it completely correctly because he describes it as “bright yellow” but mine was more of a pale yellow. I think I added too much yoghurt! Putting the colour to one side it was delicious and the mango was balanced out by the firmer more savoury plaintains.
First you cook the plantain in water with turmeric and once drained they go this beautiful yellow colour –
The rest of the ingredients were turmeric, nigella seeds, onion, chillis, curry leaves, ginger, yoghurt (I used soya) and mango. Nigella seeds are also called Black onion seeds however they are unrelated to the onion! They are seeds from a herb which bring out a slightly nutty flavour and are good when used sparingly. I love the way they contrast with the creamy yellow sauce. You have to fry them in a little oil first until they pop (kind of like mustard seeds) to get the full flavour.
Curry leaves have also been described as having a slightly nutty flavour so I assume this means they are a good pairing with nigella seeds. It was a bit frustrating because the recipe doesn’t say whether you take the leaves out or not, I tried nibbling on one and it was hard so I googled it and most people say you must remove them from the curry before serving so I did. I’m wondering if like a bay leaf they could be used in a stock to give it a spicy twist!
I have loads of curry leaves back but they can be frozen in an airtight container for a couple of months so I’m definitely going to see what other recipes there are. I think their flavour is very subtle and more of an underlying tone to the curry.
What I have learnt about spices:
Nigella spices are more pungeant and should be used sparingly to enhance a dish, they also look pretty! Curry leaves are more subtle and you can use a lot of them (this recipe uses 25!) they help build the base flavour and should be removed before eating. ~
I really love fruits in a curry and mango was a new one for me! I also like lychees in a curry 🙂