Before I moved to Ireland - I really had no idea how big curries were in this country. Sure I knew about curry and chips - especially after a long night out on your way home but curry in Ireland? It never really made huge sense to me. And I'm sure one of you can tell me why curry is so popular here but I'm convinced it has something to do with the weather. The damp chilly evenings we get - all year round mind you - not just in winter - today being a prime example of a miserable summer day and to me nothing feels more comforting than a spicy warm curry to get right into your bones.
I'm not particularly partial to curry sauces in a jar - I think it has something to do with my age - my body craves much more natural food - less processed and also I love making my own dishes - the process the smell of onions frying up in a pan and then adding in spices and coconut milk and all the other ingredients. One of my absolute favourite ingredients to add into many dishes is fresh ginger - I buy it fresh - peel it and then keep the chunks in a Ziploc back in the freezer. When I need a piece - I pop in the microwave for about 10 seconds and it's immediately ready to use.
So while I love making my own dishes from scratch - perfecting the right spice mix to make a truly delicious curry does not come easily and that is where the company Green Saffron comes to the rescue. Green Saffron is an Irish company based in Middleton, Co. Cork.
Green Saffron has a stand set up in the Limerick Milk Market on Saturdays and I've become quite addicted to their convenience ready made bags of spices including Rogan Josh - Tikka Masala and Korma among others. Not only do they have the most charming Frenchman working on the stand - Sophia and I have had long conversations with him about food and cooking but also when you buy these mixes you get a recipe to go with it so it is super simple. They also sell other spices such as star anise - cardamon and cloves which are always good to have on hand in the larder.
Here is the recipe from Green Saffron for:
Rogan Josh - medium
Serves 4-6 people
500g/1lb onions, peeled, thinly sliced
60g/20z ghee, butter, clarified butter or 3 T vegetable oil
1 packet of Green Saffron Rogan Josh Spice Mix
8 cloves, garlic finely chopped or blitzed
60g or 2 fat inches of fresh ginger, grated or blitzed with skin on
1kg/2lb stewing lamb, cut into cubes (I also use chicken as I did here)
600ml/1 pint (or 4 small pots) natural, plain yoghurt
1 tin tomatoes, whizzed smooth
1 T sugar
600ml/1pint lamb stock (or water)
How To Make Your Meal:
1. Heat the ghee, butter (or clarified butter, oil) in a large casserole dish or saucepan on medium.
2. Next, add the packed of Green Saffron Rogan Josh Spice Mix and fry until you hear crackling (this will be almost instantly), then add the sliced onions and fry until golden
3. Stir in the garlic and ginger and fry for a couple of minutes.
4. Add the lamb cubes and fry for a further 15 minutes.
5. Add the yoghurt, tomatoes and sugar. Simmer on a low heat with the lid off for 30 minutes.
6. Finally, increase the heat and stir. Then add in the stock and cook on a gentle heat until the lamb is tender (approx 1. 5 hours).
Sprinkle with finely chopped coriander - or a wild garlic flower (see below) and serve with Indian Basmati Rice.
On a recent trip to the Milk Market I also picked up Green Saffron's Mango Chutney which went down a storm. Fabulous!
I served this up a few weeks ago for a family meal at our house after my father-in-law's anniversary mass. There was pretty much nothing left - young and old inhaled it with relish.
Green Saffron was at Bloom in Dublin this year as well and there I met the delightful Olive who is married to Arun Kapil. His family in India sources the best spices available and they are ground and combined here to make it easy for us all to cook delicious Indian inspired meals.
Please be sure to go to their website - Green Saffron - take a look at their incredible range in their online store - in addition to their spice blends they have fresh spices - rice and even Christmas puddings.