Tonight I made my first curry dish. PJ had been looking through one of our cookbooks and, since it was my turn to cook but didn’t have any idea what I wanted to make, he suggested I try one of the potato curry dishes.

One requisite I have for cookbooks is that there has to be pictures of the food — I usually need an idea of what I’m aiming for before I can decide to make something. So, I started flipping through the curry section and found a picture of a potato and cauliflower curry that looked good.

It turned out really well. Here’s a picture of what it looked like when I was finished (I know I need to work on my plating — watching Top Chef makes me ashamed of how badly organized my plate is!). Just click on the picture for a larger version.

Potato and Cauliflower Curry

Potato and Cauliflower Curry

The potatoes took a little longer to cook than the recipe had claimed, but mostly it went off without a hitch. In fact, it was much more delicious than I thought it would be as I cooked! It was also really spicy. The recipe listed one or two green chilies as an option, so I decided to use one. I figured that would be “medium” spicy, which is how PJ and I each order our Indian food at restaurants.

The cauliflower was really tasty. Cauliflower isn’t really a vegetable that I think of very often. Since becoming a vegetarian, I’ve gravitated toward mushroom dishes, but this has awakened me to the possibilities of cauliflower!

The one complaint I have about making this dish is that the ingredients don’t seem to come in small amounts. They weren’t expensive, but I now have much more dried red chili, garam masala, and other spices than I could possibly use any time soon. I guess we’ll be trying out other curries soon!

Once I decided to make the curry, I thought I should try a side dish too. I didn’t ultimately go that way, however. Instead, I made a dal soup. Here’s how it turned out (at least I tried to make this one look better). Click on the picture for a larger version.

Dal Soup

Dal Soup

It too was delicious — maybe even better than the curry. It is made with red lentils and tomatoes. Cooking it filled the kitchen with the best smells — the combination of sauteed onion, turmeric, and
garam masala was enough to make my stomach growl in anticipation!

The real secret to this dish, however, was plenty of fresh lemon juice. There’s a little lemon juice in the recipe, but it recommended garnishing the soup with cilantro and lemon slices. Squeezing the lemon slices into the soup gave it just the right acidity. And the whole thing took less than an hour to make. This one is definitely a keeper.

I didn’t make or have any naan to serve with the meal, so I served pita bread that I had cut into triangles with each course. I love pita, so it was the right accompaniment for me.

So, overall this was a very successful meal. I think I’d even make it sometime when we have friends over for dinner. And I’ll definitely try to use up some of the spices I bought today! The picture of the spicy mixed vegetable curry looks pretty good ….

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