This week I had an “ah-ha” moment. I was at a store, and the owner, Peter, was talking about selling more foods by local artisanal producers. Obviously not stuff he already carried, but jams or sauces, or…. spice mixtures without corn or MSG.
*light-bulb goes on.*
I have been making my own spices for years to avoid MSG and salt. I make eight mixes now, like yellow curry and garam masala, african and moraccan stew spices…. I could make more if I knew what he wanted. Now I know, because he jumped on the idea with both feet!
I have one week to bring him the first of the spices. I’m thinking yellow curry, italian seasoning, taco seasoning, and chili powder. If they sell well, we will expand to my garam masala, and moraccan spices, maybe a hot curry…. I need to design labels and find a way to stick them to little bags. I need to design a poster listing all the things my spices don’t have.
My introductory packets of spice will be about 1 meal’s worth. 2 Tbs of curry powder, 3 Tbs of taco seasoning… All are hand made, and contain NO corn, wheat or other fillers, preservatives, MSG, GMO, silica or other anti-caking agents, salt, artificial colour or flavour…
And I am now posting recipes here. Because it occurs to me that the ability to grow and mix your own spices is a survival skill. You can grow and store as much food as you want. But how dull would it be without herbs and spices?
And you need to know how to cook from your storage. I suppose future posts should have instructions for cooking dry beans, lentils, rice, etc.
So, my first shared recipe is a simple chicken curry, using my hand made curry powder, and stuff from our food storage. Remember, you need to use what you store (and store what you use) or it all goes off and wastes money.
- 3 tablespoons Ghee, recipe follows (from storage)
- 2 medium onions, chopped (or 1/4 cup dried from storage, rehydrated)
- 1-inch piece ginger, peeled and finely chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons Curry Powder
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 cans unsweetened coconut milk
- 1 can chickpeas drained and rinsed
- 2 cups chicken stock (home canned or from storage)
- 4 tomatoes, seeded and chopped (or a 250ml jar of home canned)
- 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch strips
- Mint leaves, for garnish
- 1 pound unsalted butter
Put the butter in a heavy saucepan over medium-low heat. Melt the butter slowly and make sure it does not sizzle or brown. Increase the heat and bring the butter to a boil. When the surface is covered with foam, stir gently and reduce the heat to the lowest possible setting. Gently simmer, uncovered, and undisturbed for 45 minutes, until the milk solids in the bottom of the pan have turned golden brown and the butter on top is transparent. Strain the ghee through a sieve lined with several layers of cheesecloth. The ghee should be perfectly clear and smell nutty; pour into a glass jar and seal tightly.
Heat the ghee in a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium-low heat. Add the onions, ginger, and garlic and cook slowly until the onions are very soft, about 15 minutes. Add the tomato paste, curry powder, and give it a good stir; season with salt and pepper. Pour in the coconut milk and chicken stock and bring it back to a simmer; cook until the sauce has thickened, about 20 minutes. Add the tomatoes, chickpeas, chicken, and half the lemon juice; continue to simmer until the chicken is cooked through, about 10 to 15 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning with lemon juice, salt and pepper. Garnish with mint leaves.