Friday, October 25, 2013

The Perfect Recipe For a Grindless Gravy




Six years ago, I came up with an event called Grindless Gravies. The main condition was that no electric appliance like a mixer-grinder or hand blender should have been used to make the gravy. (There were lots of other conditions and I kept updating them as they kept occurring, which, I'm sure, frustrated a lot of participants, you can find that in the comments.)

This recipe, though, is not bound by those rules, but does not need to circumvent them either. I discovered this formula recently. I was looking for a recipe for chicken liver curry or fry when I came across this recipe. I adapted it to a pressure cooker and it resulted in a gravy that was exactly like the one you get in non-vegetarian restaurants specialising - broadly - in South Indian cuisine. As I've said before, for something to be great, it has to taste like your grandmother made it, or like something that came out of a restaurant - and this fit the bill.

I then decided to apply it to a vegetable/vegetarian affair and see how it fared - and it was wonderful. The best part is that you don't need coconut or flour to thicken the gravy. I've tried it three times since then, with different combinations of vegetables, and it came out nice and thick every single time.

I'm sure it's not an unusual recipe but for me it's a big discovery of a convenient method. The thickness of the gravy, without it going all thin and watery, is what thrills me.

The formula - for 3 cups of vegetable/main ingredient

Fry 3/4 cup of onion, a sprig of curry leaves (optional) and 3 tsp of ginger-garlic paste in that order in 2-3 tsp of oil in a pressure pan or pressure cooker. 

Mix a pinch of turmeric, 1 tsp of chilli powder and 1/2 tsp of garam masala (curry powder) in 2-3 tsp of water. Add it to the oil and fry it till it separates. 

Add mixed vegetables (the gravy in the photo has chick peas and soya nuggets; another had beans, peas, capsicum and potato), salt, mix well, and then add 1/3 cup of water and pressure cook for three whistles. 

In both the above cases, my gravy turned out to be too salty. To the second one, I added tomatoes at the end and cooked it again - it was perfect. To this one below, after it had cooled a bit, I beat some curds and added it in spoonfuls till it absorbed the extra salt.

You can garnish it with coriander.


15 comments:

  1. On some days when I am pressed for time and have stupidly decided to make a gravy recipe, i over cook the vegetable and mash a few pieces as it it simmering. Potatoes and peas, sometimes melons work perfectly. i will have this above recipe in mind and try doing it.

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  2. What melons, Lata? Pumpkin, etc?

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    1. yes, both red and while pumpkins work well. My sister suggested bottle gourd for soup base replacing the all purpose flour-milk combination. You have to like the strong flavour though.

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  3. While making chole or rajma, that is what I do. Grind 1/4 cup of cooked beans with slightly sauteed onion-tomato mixture. It gives out such nice texture to the gravy. Have to try with a vegetable curry now!

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    1. Siri, yeah, I'm all for thick, smooth gravies!

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  4. I love curies like this wih rice. Guess it was too salty as you added too much salt :-) . I have never used soya chunks here at home even though i have seen in the Indian store. Mom used to make dishes not when we were at home, after we were married and gone as she heard from some one how healthy they are.

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    1. Finla, I don't use soya chunks either, I've never been able to cook them well, but a couple of weeks ago when I was out of town, I ate it somewhere and wanted to give it another try.

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  5. I wroe a comment jus now but something went wrong, i will come back later and see if it worked :-)

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  6. I liked how you used Soya chunks in it, just to give it a little different texture. This recipe is also a great way to have lots of veges without actually knowing you're eating veges!

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    1. Amelia, I thought so too, but next time I wouldn't add chick peas and soya chunks together - I kept encountering more chick peas than chunks! Maybe I'll try just chunks next time!

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  7. LOL sra -- I guess you're allowed to change the rules in your own event ;) I remember GG!

    I too like the idea of thickening without flour etc. Maybe the potatoes and/or chole helped with their natural starches? Somewhat as Lata was saying -- at any rate it looks and sounds delicious :)

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    1. Linda, I think the ginger-garlic paste helped. I keep it frozen and can never tell how much I'm using because I literally have to hack off little bits with a knife. Of course, potatoes would help too, I guess - I need to make it with a not so starchy veg and see.

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  8. I overuse my mixie and wonder what would happen if it broke it one day. This gravy with chole and soya sounds good.
    Happy Diwali to you & ur family!

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