CURRY TURMERIC SOURDOUGH

Bewitching Kitchen is a food blog and I like to keep it focused on the subject with only small detours into two passions of mine: science and fitness. I must say, though that a couple of recent posts by bloggers I follow echoed deeply inside me, so I share them with you. First, I invite you to read A Texan New Yorker’s take on chili. I must make that recipe in honor of a family I admire and already miss immensely. Then, please stop by Cecilia’s site, who just published a post called “I am an immigrant.”  While you are reading it, keep in mind that I am one, one who got her green card and naturalization through long, complex processes several years ago. Her article is a very well-written piece describing the pleasure and pain associated with leaving your home country and starting all over somewhere else. I firmly believe that we are stronger when we are together. That prejudice and divisiveness should be fought against.

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When we have friends over, I love to welcome them with a loaf of homemade bread. I did that when our friends Denise and Helio stayed with us over a weekend (see my post here), and last month did it again when our friend Cindy stopped by briefly on her road trip from St Louis to Oklahoma. I made a batch of parsnip hummus and thought that a loaf of sourdough with a subtle hint of Middle Eastern spices could be a good option to enjoy it with it.  I did not want to add anything else to the bread, was hoping for a nice, golden crumb, with no nuts or goodies to distract from the spice components.  I know you cannot judge if I succeeded as far as taste is concerned, but what do you think of its looks?

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CURRY TURMERIC SOURDOUGH
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

200g sourdough starter
325g cold water
450g white bread flour
50g spelt flour
1/2 teaspoon curry
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1 ½ tsp fine sea salt

In a large bowl, whisk the sourdough starter with the water. Add the flours, spices and salt. Stir until you have a soft, sticky mass. Cover the bowl and leave it for 10 minutes. Perform a series of quick kneads, 10 seconds or so, making sure you incorporate as much of dried bits of flour as possible, but if something remains stuck to the bowl, don’t worry about it.  Leave the dough to rest for 10 minutes.

Remove the dough to a slightly oiled surface. Wash and dry the bowl, Coat it very lightly with oil.  Knead the dough again for a quick 10 second period and put it back in the clean, oiled bowl.  Wait 30 minutes.  Perform another cycle of kneading, or if you prefer, use the folding method, in which you stretch one side of the dough way up in the air, bring it over the full extension of the dough, turn it, repeat it four or five times from all directions.  Wait 1 hour, with the dough covered lightly.  Perform another series of kneading or folding.  Wait one more hour, knead again.  Wait 2 hours, divide the dough in two, and shape each half in a round or oblong shape.

Place in an appropriate containers lightly coated with flour, seam side down. Leave them for a final proof for 4 hours.

Invert the dough on parchment paper, slash the surface, and bake at 435 F with initial steam for a total of 45 minutes. I like to use a Dutch oven covered for the first 25 minutes, then remove the lid and allow the bread to brown uncovered for the final 20 minutes.

Cool the bread on a rack before slicing.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

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Comments: Such a pleasure to work with this dough!  All soft and bubbly, with the delicate scent of curry… I actually made two loaves, and decided to shape one as a batard, a shape I find very tricky to achieve. You can see, there is room for improvement…

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My batard formed a little bulge in one side, and I also would prefer a more pointed edge. Well, gotta keep trying. Still tasted pretty amazing, and as we all know, beauty is skin deep. HA!

 

crumb

The mandatory crumb shot!  What I love the most about this bread is the smell not only while it baked, but when a slice is gently warmed in the toaster oven next day. The hummus went perfectly well with it, but it was superb as a player in the ultra fashionable avocado toast.  I smashed a slice of ripe avocado over the bread, sprinkled drops of lime juice and a light dust with Tajin. Sorry, no pictures, I think the blogosphere is already crowded with avocado toast photos, no need for me to add yet another one.  But, do try it if you make this bread.

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I am submitting this post to Bread Box Round Up,
hosted by Karen, the Bread Baking Goddess.

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YOU PUT WHAT IN YOUR WHAT?

Criticizing is easy, it comes naturally to most of us, I guess.  I’ve done my share of criticizing The Food TV Network, going on and on about the good old times when their shows were actually about cooking, not endless competitions. One example: Cutthroat Kitchen.  I mean, here we have a guy like Alton Brown, who joined the network with the goal of showing home cooks the science behind food preparation, the tricks of developing a perfect recipe. Now, he hosts a show I find incredibly silly.  And I am not alone. Hummm, did I say I was done with criticism?  Sorry, I got carried away.  I am here to actually praise The Kitchen, a weekly show on FoodTV I enjoy quite a bit. One of the things I like is the sense of spontaneity behind it. Marcela Valladolid is charming, adorable, knowledgeable, and I am a huge fan of Geoffrey Zakarian. Jeff Mauro is witty, and seems like a very genuine person, the more I watch the show, the more I like him. They have features like Tool Takedown, interesting and fun. The whole idea is to test a gadget that is supposed to perform a specific task, say peel apples. One person will use it and another will grab a veggie peeler or a regular knife, and they compete to see who does it better and/or faster. For the most part, they demonstrate that single-use gadgets are a waste of money and storage space. I also love a feature called  “You Put What in your What?”. As the name indicates, it involves unusual additions to recipes, or crazy food combinations.  And that brings me to this post. I hope you’re ready for it.

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I know, it scared me too! But, please, don’t run away screaming.  These cookies are delightful, the pictures do absolutely no justice to them.  I baked them early in the morning while the kitchen was still dark and had to take pictures under very unforgiving lights.  You’ll need to make the dough at least 4 hours before baking, the day before is even better, so plan accordingly.  I found the recipe at the The Spice House website. Of course, being the spice cookie lover that I am, and reading the rave reviews of those who made them, I could not wait to bake a batch.

Curry Cardamon Cookies

CURRY CARDAMON COOKIES
(adapted from The Spice House website)

Yields approximately 6 dozen cookies

(I made half the recipe and got 30 cookies)

1 cup butter
2 cups brown sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons curry powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 cup walnuts, lightly toasted, chopped

Cream butter and sugar together. Add eggs and vanilla and beat until incorporated. Sift dry ingredients together. Add to creamed mixture, a third at a time. Stir in nuts.

Divide dough into four rolls and wrap each in waxed paper. Refrigerate at least 4 hours (may also be frozen).

Slice into ¼-inch slices and place on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake in preheated 350 degree oven until golden brown, 12-14 minutes. Let cookies cool for 2 minutes on baking sheet, then remove to a rack to cool thoroughly.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

rolls
I often tell our students to read the protocol carefully before starting a new experiment. Sometimes it would be nice to listen to my own advice.  The bit of “refrigerate the dough for at least 4 hours” caught me unprepared. It was 9 pm and my intention was to bake them before going to sleep. Instead, I had to stick the dough in the fridge and resort to plan B: turn the oven on at 5:30am next day…    Oh, well…

They puff quite a bit while baking and release a fantastic aroma that will fill  your home with joy and tail-wagging dogs.

baking
Can you tell there is curry in them?  I doubt it. Actually Phil could, but I suspect he’s got a mass spectrometer in his nose, that man identify smells like nobody’s business. Our students thought they had ginger. I wish the pictures turned out better, but trust my words: these are GREAT cookies.  You know why I say that? I normally have one cookie of every batch I bake, no matter how tasty.  This was a FOUR COOKIE downfall.  I had four. One at home to make sure they were good enough to share, and the others during our lab meeting. They seem so harmless, but in my opinion they join all goodness a  cookie should have: sweetness that is not cloying, and a peppery, salty, addictive taste that mixed with the walnuts makes you go back for just one more. Maybe three.

cooling

This is another example of a cookie that will not win a beauty contest, I admit. But please, make them, share with friends, and dare them to guess the secret ingredient!

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PUMPKIN SHRIMP CURRY

With this installment, I used up the last bit of our precious home-made pumpkin purée stored in the freezer.  The series closed with a golden key, by the way.  This curry is a winner!   Pumpkin & shrimp is actually a very traditional combination in the Brazilian dish called “camarão na moranga”.  You can see a photo of the completed dish here.  Think about a shrimp stew served inside a small pumpkin, carved to hold the stew in all its tasty glory.  I intend to make the Brazilian version sometime, but for now I’ll share this variation that I adapted from Bon Appetit magazine.
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PUMPKIN SHRIMP CURRY
(adapted from Bon Appetit, November 2011)

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 shallot, diced
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 can of diced tomatoes (15 ounces)
Pumpkin purée (15 ounces can, or homemade)
2 cups vegetable broth
1 cup unsweetened coconut milk (light is ok)
1 + 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 cup green peas (frozen is fine, no need to defrost)
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
cilantro leaves to taste, minced
lime zest to taste

Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the diced shallot and ginger; lower the heat and sauté until soft, stirring often, about 8 minutes. Add garlic; cook for 1 minute. Stir in the tomatoes and pumpkin puree, and  cook on medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until the pumpkin is golden brown, about 10 minutes. Add vegetable broth, coconut milk, curry powder, and cayenne pepper; simmer gently for 20 minutes. Add peas, shrimp, and lime juice. Simmer until shrimp are cooked and peas are warm. Serve with steamed rice. Top with cilantro, and lime zest.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments:  I made a few modifications on the original recipe.  It called for only one tomato, diced.  I don’t think that’s enough, I love a more tomato-ey curry, so I added the full 15-ounce can, draining most of the liquid.  As I reduced the sauce, it seemed a bit too chunky, so I worked my immersion blender to smooth things out lightly. My final modification was to use green peas, whereas the original recipe added pieces of cooked butternut squash.  I thought it would be too monochromatic and boring. Plus, not much contrast between the taste of pumpkin and butternut squash.  The green peas brightened up the colors and added great flavor.  So, I patted myself on the back, and told Phil I am a great cook. And also very modest.  He said he knew both things already…  He’s a keeper, my friends. A keeper…   😉

ONE YEAR AGO: In My Kitchen, April 2012

TWO YEARS AGO: A Dutch Tiger

THREE YEARS AGO: Banana Bread
(bragging mode on: this recipe tied for first place in The Quest for the Best Banana Bread, at Eat, Play Love! ;-))