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Sep 30, 2012 10:58 PM

October 2012 Cookbook of the Month: 660 Curries

Never mind counting, a month for simmering some sauces! To be contrary and put it negatively, no food can’t be a curry. And no reader here won’t be welcome to join in.
To see what we’re all about, you can go here:

More information and discussion can be found in these three links for October 2012

Winner announcement

Ok, here we go -- I’ve followed the book to divide the recipe reporting threads.


Spice Blends and Pastes 11-42
Appetizer Curries 43-118
Poultry, Game, and Egg Curries 119-168

Beef, Lamb, and Pork Curries 169-234
Fish and Seafood Curries 235-284
Paneer Curries 285-310

Legume Curries 311-458
Vegetable Curries 459-646

Contemporary Curries 647-686
Biryani Curries 687-704
Curry Cohorts 705-756

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  1. Thank you for organizing the reporting threds so nicelogically and neatly, BR! I expected more threads because the book is so large and very happy to see just four.

    1. Nicely done Blue!

      So I have two questions..... first off lentils. I love lentils, especially when prepared using Indian recipes. It is possible I could eat lentils at every meal and never get tired of them. But, some of the lentil dishes in this book use a pressure cooker. And luckyfatima also uses a pressure cooker. Is it possible to cook these on the stovetop and get the same results? What did Indian women do before pressure cookers? If I don't have to have a pressure cooker, how would I translate the instructions to the stove top?

      Next question is the lamb "curries." They all call for either lamb chops or leg of lamb. The lambs that I buy don't come with too many legs and chops are rather expensive to use for slow cooking. Since I buy a whole lamb, I have lots of other cuts to work with. What would good substitutions be?

      Any thoughts welcome!

      5 Replies
      1. re: smtucker

        Hi smtucker:

        I share your passion for dal, and will answer you re lentils and pressure cookers. You can definitely cook lentils without a pressure cooker. Indian lentils can either be whole beans (sabut dals, e.g. sabut moong, sabut masoor, sabut urad, rajmah=kidney beans, lobhia=black eyed peas, chana=chick peas, etc.) or split beans (dals e.g. moong dal, masoor dal=red lentils, toor dal, chana dal, etc.)

        The former are usually soaked first to make them quicker to cook. The latter don't need to be soaked though for slower cooking dals like toor dal and chana dal, it will hasten the cooking time and give a creamier result.

        The cooking times without a pressure cooker are much longer, and in today's world of time crunch and energy shortages, just about every middle class Indian housewife has a PC though in older days they managed with lidded clay, stone, or metal pots. You could also cook sabut or split dals in a slow cooker.

        The exact increase in cooking times depends on each type of dal or recipe, and you will have to experiment a little and find out. Sabut dals require a longer cooking time than split dals.
        The thing is that dals are usually very forgiving - the end result has to be thoroughly cooked, creamy and soupy, so don't worry about overcooking. Crunchy or al dente dals are rarely desired, as that's a recipe for tummy ache (though there are a few delicious dry fried dals which are a bit crunchier/firmer).

        Hope this helped.

        1. re: smtucker

          I don't use a PC on all daals, actually whole maash daal is the only one I feel I *must* use a pressure cooker for. I do like pressure cooked large legumes like chickpeas, black eyed peas, and kidney beans. But PCs are not at all necessary. I actually like the taste and texture of smaller lentils which are NOT pressure cooked.

          For your lamb question, what about shoulder. The only thing is that it takes longer to get tender so you will have to cook it for an hour or so, low and slow braise/simmer.

          1. re: smtucker

            Rasam and Lucky,

            Thank you so much for answering my question. I do want to be cooking whole dal, chickpeas and kidney beans. If I did decide to give a pressure cooker room in my crowded kitchen, what size would you recommend for 2 cups of beans or lentils? Seems silly to buy a huge PC since I hardly ever cook for more than 4 people. They seem to come in 4qt, 6qt and 8 qt models. [I don't own a slow cooker, so that is not one of my options, and I don't see a place for one in my life.]

            1. re: smtucker

              Hi smtucker: I cook for a family of 4 most of the time, and use a Fagor Duo 4 qt (that's what I think it is, as it looks like the picture of a 4 qt and I threw out the box years ago). In this I can comfortably cook 1 lb (dry) rajmah, chana, etc, with all the accompanying ingredients. I usually cook that much at at time and freeze/refrigerate and rotate during the week. If I am cooking for a party, this pc size is useful.

              I also have a Hawkins 2 liter pc and can cook 1 cup of dal in that just fine. This if I am cooking just for the family, and making a simpler dal with smaller lentils. I used this today to make the Bhaja Moong Dal from 660C. 1 cup of moong dal, 3 cups water, 1 ten oz block frozen chopped spinach fit comfortably in this.

              So, for your wish to make 2 cups beans/lentils, a 4 qt should be just fine.

              Are you going to be buying on line or in a store? Is there a store nearby you can go and look at one? Take 1 lb bag of dry chickpeas or kidney beans with you (it is rather small) and see if it fits.


              1. re: Rasam

                I bought a 4 litre pressure cooker the other day, which I believe is 4 quarts. It was £20. I haven't used it yet, but it should be fine to cook two cups of beans in.

          2. Just an FYI for anyone who might be shopping for some of these ingredients - I was totally stumped today at the Indian market while looking for black cumin. It was nowhere to be found. Anyway, I found something that looked sort of like cumin called kalijiri and googled it - eureka! I don't remember seeing the name kalijiri in the book so just in case anyone else runs into the same problem, kalijiri=black cumin.

            On a related note, I was FLOORED at how cheap everything was at the Indian market (I went to Patel Brothers in Jackson Heights, Queens, NY). Coriander seed is like $5 for a one ounce jar at my local grocery store - I got a 14oz bag (which will last me the rest of my life, probably) for $2.99. Amazing prices on chiles, spices, rice, lentils and beans, coconut, raw nuts, etc. If you're near NYC, I highly recommend coming to Queens for your shopping, or ordering online from Patel if possible.

            13 Replies
            1. re: biondanonima

              Indian stores are really cheap in the UK as well. We have a pretty good one locally, but they don't stock stuff like curry leaves, black lentils or kashmiri chillies. I am planning a trip next week to Tooting (South Asian area of London) to stock up.

              1. re: greedygirl

                GG, asda here has curry leaves regularly (though not all the time). It's in the herbs section with the parsley and coriander. But yes, spices are so much cheaper at the indian grocer!

                1. re: lilham

                  No Asda near me - quicker to go to Tooting or even Chinatown! Herbs are outrageously expensive in supermarkets - I buy big bunches of parsley and coriander from my local grocer for 50p.

                  1. re: greedygirl

                    Sadly no local grocers around me anymore. It's only the big supermarkets. I have to drive to go to a indian or chinese grocer.

              2. re: biondanonima

                actually, Kalonji (nigella) and black cumin are two separate and different spices although sometimes the nomenclature is confused. Since I dont have the book or know what recipe it related to, I cant specilate about which one was intended, ; both are used in Indian cooking
                black cumin (kala jeera)
                nigella(black seed, black onion seed, charnouska, etc)

                1. re: jen kalb

                  It wasn't kalonji that I bought, it was kalijiri (which I assume is an alternate spelling of kala jeera, which you listed as black cumin). These are most definitely NOT nigella seeds.

                  1. re: biondanonima

                    There is a lot of variation on what black cumin is called in Hindi and Urdu, and kala zeera/jeera is one of them (kalijeeri and also shahi zeera/jeera are the other options), but in Bengal, nigella seeds (what are called kalonji in Hindi and Urdu) are called kalojeero...they call black cumin shaahi jeero in Bengali. Lot's of confusion.

                    1. re: biondanonima

                      sorry, thats what I get for reading too fast. Its darker, smaller and skinnier than regular cumin and to my taste has a sort of indefinite musty flavor (not I assume because its old) - how are you liking it? Its not usual that I dont see the point of a spice but this is one that isnt thrilling..

                      1. re: jen kalb

                        I'm honestly not sure I can tell the difference between it and regular cumin. All of the recipes I've tried with it call for regular cumin as well, so I think it tends to get lost. Maybe I'll toast and grind some on its own for a taste test, but at this point I wouldn't hesitate to sub one for the other in either direction.

                  2. re: biondanonima

                    Re: Black cumin and " It was nowhere to be found."

                    I was in Kalustyan's last week and they had three large, empty boxes on the shelves marked "Black Cumin." I asked one of the women when they were expecting it in. She said she didn't know and that she needed some as well. Wonder if perhaps there's a problem somewhere with production or importation. Anyone else having difficulty finding black cumin?

                    1. re: JoanN

                      hmmm, my kala jeera/black cumin, bought fairly recently but not this month, is "Deep" brand ( a brand of spices and many other packaged Indian foods, pretty easily found in our area's Indian stores), No idea where or if they sell in Manhattan, but they are based in NJ, web site,

                      1. re: qianning

                        Ive not had a problem finding it in indian stores tho its not a frequent purchase!
                        IMO its not a very interesting spice and I would not have a problem subbing regular cumin for it (which however has a stronger taste) but kalonji is a totally different thing.
                        kalustyan was out of some expected items the last time I was in there, too.

                      2. re: JoanN

                        I bought it (labeled kalijiri) at Patel Bros. in Jackson Heights, Queens. The flavor is very similar to regular cumin IMO so it's probably not a huge deal if you sub one for the other.

                    2. today i found this on post labeled asian ingredient glossary-
                      i thought it maybe helpful

                      1. Today, I made a number of the spice blends in an effort to save time during the work week. Unfortunately, neither the 660 Curries index nor in EYB can one search for recipes based on the name of the spice blend, so I made my own list (it also includes a couple things that would need to be made in advance). This is not a comprehensive list, but is merely based on some of the recipes I had interest in trying. I thought I’d share it in case it would be useful to others.

                        chicken with a cashew tomato sauce p. 86 balti masala
                        vibrant chicken w/a spicy tomato sauce p. 137 fried onion paste
                        chicken curry p. 146 English-style Madras curry powder
                        chicken tikka masala p. 147 Punjabi Garam Masala
                        moghalai-style chicken p. 150 Punjabi Garam Masala
                        red hot chicken with okra and potatoes p. 154 Punjabi Garam Masala
                        cashew chicken with cilantro sauce p. 155 Punjabi Garam Masala
                        chicken thighs with a peanut sauce p. 159 Maharashtiran garam masala
                        chicken curry w/ whole spices, cream & tomato (garam masala murghi) p. 160 Punjabi Garam Masala
                        lamb curry in sweet onion tomato sauce p. 190 fried onion paste
                        tender braised lamb with turnips and mint p. 198 Bin bhuna hua garam masala
                        roghan josh p. 214 Bin bhuna hua garam masala
                        lamb-almond dumplings in tomato cream sauce p. 217 Punjabi Garam Masala
                        halibut fillets with a coconut-milk mustard seed sauce p. 245 sambhar masala
                        poached shrimp in a slow-cooked onion sauce p. 257 fried onion paste
                        pan seared shrimp with spicy hot chile vinegar paste p. 270 Balchao masala
                        beginner almond shrimp with tomatoes p. 277 bangala garam masala
                        pan-grilled sea scallops p. 280 kolhapuri masala
                        saag paneer p. 295 Bin bhuna hua garam masala, Punjabi Garam Masala
                        gingered chickpeas p. 329 Punjabi Garam Masala
                        vengyam chana p. 332 sambhar masala
                        chana saag p. 334 sambhar masala fried onion paste
                        chickpeas and potatoes p. 337 dhania jeera masala (toasted cumin-coriander blend), Punjabi Garam Masala
                        makhani dal p. 364 Punjabi Garam Masala, whole milk solids
                        maa di dal p. 366 simmered tomato sauce
                        cauliflower and potatoes p. 481 whole milk solids
                        aloo gobi restaurant style p. 483 fried onion paste, Punjabi Garam Masala
                        potato-onion curry p. 572 Punjabi Garam Masala
                        wild salmon poached with chiles, scallions, and tomato p. 669 Balchao masala
                        yogurt marinated lamb with rice, saffron and mint (biryani) p. 690 Punjabi Garam Masala
                        tandoori murghi biryani p. 691 Balti masala
                        maharashtrian style fried rice p. 720 Sambhar masala

                        22 Replies
                        1. re: BigSal

                          Thank you so much, BigSal! What a nice thing to do!
                          That Punjabi Garam Masala pops up everywhere, doesn't it?

                          1. re: blue room

                            Yes it does! I purchased fresh curry leaves (and some other things) from the website you mentioned and made sambhar masala. It makes a *huge* amount of masala. I will need to find some more recipes that use the sambhar masala.

                            1. re: BigSal

                              There is another thread in Home Cooking right now about uses for sambar masala beyond sambar...I just saw a recipe for sambar masala fried rice but can't remember where. (Didn't sleep very well, cloudy headed *might* have even been in 660 Curries, don't have the book on my right now to check!)

                          2. re: BigSal

                            Thanks so much for that, Big Sal!

                            1. re: BigSal

                              BigSal, what a great service you've done to many of us - thank you! It was discussed on one of the threads that we could put comments on EYB - Masala Name and the list of recipes with page # that use that masala. Not sure if anyone started yet but great idea for now and into the future. Would you contribute your lists?

                              1. re: herby

                                Sure. So, I should go to EYB under and punjabi garam masala and list all the recipes I noted that include it and their page numbers?

                                1. re: BigSal

                                  Exactly! Go to EYB, 660 Curries, and under "comments" see if anyone already posted "punjabi masala" than post under it. If no one did, start a new comment "punjabi masala" and list your recipes and p. #. We are allowed to +/- our own posts and can go back and add recipes under specific masalas. If you are looking to use up your particular masala, just go to EYB and voila! :) That was the idea - do you like it?

                                    1. re: BigSal

                                      Oh wonderful. I have been trying to add recipes to the masalas as I saw them, but man, you have done a wonderful job above.

                                      1. re: BigSal

                                        It looks like someone from EYB has made some changes last night. All of my notes on EYB on the masalas are gone, but now EYB has notes on dishes that use a particular spice blend. The important thing is that it's in there for us to use.

                                        1. re: BigSal

                                          Okay. This pisses me off! Yea, nice they added the notes, but totally not cool that they have removed notes that I was formatting in a way that I found easier to read. The idea that our notes can be removed without any discussion just makes me uncomfortable.

                                          Guess I should read the Terms of Service again.

                                          1. re: smtucker

                                            I don't belong to EYB, but when I look at the site I don't see a "comments" section that herby mentioned earlier in this thread. Would I see it if I were a member?

                                            1. re: blue room

                                              I just went to EYB using a browser that doesn't know diddly about EYB and was able to see the notes.

                                              1. Go to Library.
                                              2. Select Recipes tab
                                              3. type Punjabi into the search box, and hit return.
                                              4. The third result should be the Punjabi-style warming spice blend. The cartoon text icon should have a 2.
                                              5. Select the recipe by clicking on the name, and you will be at the ingredient list.
                                              6. Select the NOTES tab, and you can see the notes that have been added.

                                              p.s. Clicking the cartoon text icon will take you directly to the NOTES.

                                              1. re: smtucker

                                                Thanks, smtucker, I was looking for "comments" rather than "notes."
                                                What is there is very useful, but it *is* odd that EYB would remove/change/tweak anything.

                                            2. re: smtucker

                                              Nice apology from EYB in my email. They are leveraging the work that BigSal, and to a less extent, me so that it will be a strong attribute for anyone who cooks from this book going forward.

                                              660 Curries was an early index, and so they are working to correct typos and add Indian names to the dishes.

                                              1. re: smtucker

                                                I'm glad they got back to you so quickly, although I do hope they make the list a bit easier to read. I noted an error in one of the ingredient lists for a ground lamb dish I made from 660 Curries (they listed rosemary instead of rose petals) in the notes on their site and Jane sent me an e-mail noting that they had corrected it and removed that from my comment within an hour or two. I was very impressed by their thoroughness since I hadn't submitted an error report.

                                          2. re: BigSal

                                            Thanks BigSal! I need to go to the EYB site to see who has entered what and enter my two cents worth.

                                            1. re: herby

                                              EYB is not only adding the recipes that use specific spice blends, but they are also adding the Indian names of the recipes. Woo Hoo! Thanks, Jane! We are lucky to have her as a fellow chowhound. I can't think of a single book that was a COTM recently that wasn't indexed. It is impressive to see how responsive she has been to our wants/needs.

                                        1. re: luckyfatima


                                          The premise of the site is that you add your cookbook collection to "Your Library." Once you ahve done this, you can tag "bookmark" different books, or create favorite recipe collections. But many of us use this to search by ingredients, by cuisine, or by our bookmarks.

                                          The number of recipes that I have made from books I hardly ever used before has skyrocketed.

                                          Now you can add ingredients from recipes found around the web. They are indexing magazines and a number of well-known cooking blogs.

                                      2. re: BigSal

                                        What a lovely thing for you to do, BigSal. This is so helpful. Thanks!

                                        1. re: BigSal

                                          THank you BigSal!

                                          And I guess thank you to EYB, though it could have been so much more tactfully handled.