The freedom that I now have – to cook whatever I want, whenever I want – is no more evident than with a dish like this. Before Christmas, I didn’t have all the tools necessary to make this dish; missing was the elusive food processor I now have in my possession. Before Christmas, I also lacked the necessary confidence. Having never eaten whatever a Pukka Yellow Curry is, I would have shied away from attempting to create it. Now, I can tackle a recipe like this without thinking twice.
When you’re attempting to replicate 100+ new recipes in a single year, sometimes you have to travel outside of your comfort zone. Sometimes you need to attempt making things you’ve never even had someone else make for you before. Sometimes things are difficult. This wasn’t one of those things.
I’m pretty certain that the term “comfort food” is misconstrued by some. I think some look at it as simple meals from a simpler time – think mom’s meatloaf or grandma’s apple pie. Comfort foods are staples of our childhood diet – but only the ones we really liked. Is the dish something your mother would make? Yes. Is it something good enough to still request from your mother, even though you’re a grown adult passing through your hometown for only a night, and she can only make one special meal for your visit? Yes. Well, then, according to some, that’s comfort food.
For me, comfort food needs to be three things: hot, tasty, and plentiful. I find less “comfort” in how memory-evoking a dish is, and more “comfort” in how big of a portion I receive. The same dish can both be comfort and non, simply based on how much of it I am granted. A small serving of steaming-hot, super-cheesy macaroni – not comforting. All I can think about with a small serving is how sad I’ll be once it’s gone and I still have room. A large serving of that same macaroni, and I’m as “comforted” as can be. But…I digress.
The Pukka Yellow Curry, though not something my mother would make, was very simple and quite good. It hit all my requirements for comfort food mentioned above (hot, tasty, and plentiful), in addition to not requiring any flour or baking (that just hasn’t gone well for me lately). Also, I was able to throw it together after all of work, drinks, a visit with the mechanic, grocery shopping, and a wet walk home were completed – a definite bonus over some laborious meals that require a full night’s work and a rested cook.
As I’m already running long in word count and time of night, I’ll get to the recipe portion of this post. The recipe came from “Save with Jamie” by Mr. Oliver, a book I received from my wife either for Christmas, or shortly before. I followed the recipe very closely, aside from two aspects: I used seven drumsticks instead of eight (it’s what came in a package); I added in a few full chicken wings as well; and because I couldn’t find any red chiles at the local Coopers grocery store, I opted for a green Serrano pepper instead. My end result, as you can see, doesn’t darken as much as Jamie’s; it also seemed to have more liquid. Regardless, it really hit the spot.
If I were to make a single recommendation, it would be to simply stick with drums and maybe thighs. The problem with wings is that the skin isn’t as easy to remove as with those other dark pieces. Crispy skin is delicious, but the skin attached to the added wings was definitely less than desirable. Aside from that, sticking to the recipe will yield a hearty meal most curry lovers will greatly appreciate. It’s not butter chicken, but it definitely sufficed.
Anyways – happy cooking!