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.