Cooking a good curry fills me with glee. Ever since the very first time I made a curry - which, if I recall quite correctly, was Jamie Oliver's Thai green chicken curry back in autumn 2004 - I have not failed to amaze and delight myself with the ability to create from scratch something that I used to only get occasionally from a take away. Something else that I really love: buying a food magazine and settling down to tuck into the lovely mix of bits and pieces on offer. You get a generous fraction of the recipes that you would get in a cookbook at a very justifiable fraction of the price. There is also a lovely, life-friendly mix of types of recipes. In most good quality food magazines there will be a variety that offers speedy dinners, nice lunches, a bit of baking; perfect for a lil foodie fix, particularly as the seasons change and the contents adapt accordingly. Delicious magazine is a firm favourite of mine. It's not as glam and fancy as Donna Hay or Jamie mag, but it really doesn't need any of that suave business, it's a warm, friendly publication, jam-packed with reliable, normal person-friendly recipes. And you can't always say that about cookbooks, can you? I know that you can get tons of great recipes online, but really nothing compares to sitting down with a magazine, or pulling it off the bookshelf if you fancy some inspiration. I generally cook a few recipes from issue, and among the ones that I tried from the September issue was sambal telur. But just so we can use our brains for cooking the dish and not trying to remember the name of it, lets just call it egg curry. I know, I know - stinkus maximus. But seriously worth it if you can convince your co-diners that if you're all honking you'll cancel each other out. And I totally promise that if it is a bit whiffy...well I certainly didn't notice, such was the extreme tastiness.
We all know how to boil eggs, right? Riiiiiiiiiight?! See, this is why I love this magazine - they do not make the presumption that you already know how to do anything, so one is instructed to put the eggs in cool water over a medium heat, remove from the hob when the water comes to the boil, sit there for seven minutes and refresh in cool water.
The fact that it is only three tomatoes that have to be peeled makes it quite an enjoyable and satisfying task. Any more and it would get finnicky and annoying, but I have decided that three is the magic number when it comes to tomato peeling. Once they are peeled, they get the chop and go to one side.
This recipe calls for a wok, but I have seen many woks ruined and misused and just generally meet a rather early grave. I'm quite sure that there is a particular way to use and care for a wok that guarantees its longevity...in my own little lazy way, I just avoid all of that palaver and use my trusty Jamie Oliver for Tefal pan. On that pan goes a tablespoon of groundbut oil, and when that has heated up add 4 shallots, finely sliced, 3 garlic cloves, chopped, and 4cm fresh ginger, chopped.
After one minute it's time for spice: 1 tsp coriander seeds, crushed, 1 tsp cumin seeds, crushed, 1/2 tsp turmeric.
At this point you also add 1tbsp sambal oelek chilli sauce - any excuse to have a good nose around an Asian market. It's a simple chilli sauce, which makes it quite versatile - I'm looking forward to giving it a go as a condiment, maybe popping a lump of it on to eggs or into fried rice. Mmmmmm...how deliciously distracting...it's like mentally concocting outfits from a new piece of clothing.
Those chopped tomatoes go in at the same point, and it all fries up for a few minutes.
This is a good moment to take care of the fried shallots that go on top of the finished dish, so stick 2 tbsp shallots on a pan and let them crisp up while the curry cooks away.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, add a tin of coconut milk, 2 tbsp tamarind paste, 1 tbsp palm sugar or brown sugar and a pinch of salt. Bring it all to the boil and then let it simmer for five minutes until it has thickened up nicely.
Pop in the lovely shiny slippery peeled boiled eggs and let it all simmer for a few minutes.
And there it is, on a bed of basmati, topped with crispy shallots, the curry that takes your typical stinky take away to a whole other level.