Improving on an Old Favorite

I think I've found a way to make my buttermilk curry even tastier.

A photo posted by sarah (@braisinhussy) on

One of my favorite discoveries from last year’s Blogtober/Blogsgiving binge was my Buttermilk Curry recipe. I’ve made it at least ten times since then, which makes it a pretty successful recipe in my book. I mean, I probably wouldn’t have made it quite so often if I hadn’t kept buying buttermilk, freezing it, forgetting about it, and then rebuying it, compounding the problem—but thankfully the ingredients are pretty cheap. Pork always seems to be on sale, so I just buy whatever chops are close to a pound and cut it into small pieces myself. I’ve also been upping the vegetable content with extra peppers (usually an Anaheim or Pasilla, but tonight’s used the smaller purple peppers from my garden).

When I make the curry with previously frozen buttermilk, it has a tendency to split and look unattractive. Last time I tried using a mixture of buttermilk and plain yogurt, but it still broke. Tonight, I tried sour cream, and BINGO. What a lovely texture! I feel guilty because it’s getting further and further away from the original recipe (which was a mixture of recipes anyway), but damn was it good.

I tweak a lot of recipes over the years, and then I never update my records here. Bad Sarah. But I’m amending this one tonight!

PS this photo looks a lot yellower on my phone (it looked a lot yellower in real life, too). not sure why my laptop screen is washing it out so much. it’s a very yellow-hued curry, thanks to the turmeric. be ye not misled.

Sweet Potato Spice Bread

[image: loaf of sweet potato spice bread]
[image: loaf of sweet potato spice bread]

It’s funny, I haven’t even posted the recipe I bought the buttermilk for originally, just the ones I made trying to use it up. This bread is good for people who like sweet things. It’s dense, very moist, and heavy on autumn spice flavors. I think it could probably use a bit more salt. And although I used buttermilk, sour cream might be better. Or a bit of orange zest? I just think it needs some more ‘zazz. It’s nice with a cup of tea for breakfast or in the afternoon.

cooking spray or baker’s joy
1–2 sweet potatoes/garnet yams, between 1–1.25 lbs. (you want 1 1/2 cups of mashed sweet potato once they’re steamed)
1 1/4 cups white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
2 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup buttermilk (or sour cream)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups AP flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 Tbsp cinnamon (all spices ground)
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp kosher salt (full tsp might be better)

Heat oven to 350. Prep a 9×5 loaf pan with cooking spray or baker’s joy.

Cut the sweet potatoes into 1-inch chunks and place in a steamer insert. Put an inch of water in a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Place insert in pan and steam sweet potatoes for approximately 15 minutes or until quite soft. Remove to a bowl and mash to a pulp. (This can be done by hand, with a hand mixer, or in a stand mixer.)

Mix in the sugars. Add eggs, oil, buttermilk, vanilla and beat until combined. In another bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice, cloves, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet in stages and mix until the flour mixture has been incorporated thoroughly (however, try not to overbeat—fold in if you’re doing it by hand).

Empty batter into prepared loaf pan and smooth the top with a spatula. Bake at 350 for 60–75 minutes, checking for doneness with toothpicks. Cool in pan for 15–30 minutes, then turn out onto a rack.

Buttermilk Curry

[image: curry over rice]
[image: curry over rice]

I had half a carton of buttermilk left after making another recipe (which I haven’t posted here yet). I was looking through my old recipes, trying to find something that wasn’t sweet. I saw Murgh Dehin and was like aha! Curry. I wanted to make something new—as well as something with fewer ingredients—so I did some internetting and combined a few recipes to come up with this. It’s a thin curry, so serving with rice is important.

EDIT: this recipe has been updated as of October 24, 2016

1 Tbsp vegetable oil or ghee
1 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp turmeric
2 scallions, chopped into 1-inch pieces (EDIT: 4 scallions)
2 cloves garlic, minced (EDIT: 3 cloves)
2 small green chilis, minced (I used my SUPER CHILIS, serranos would also work)
(EDIT: 1 additional pepper, either chili peppers of the mild Anaheim/Pasilla variety or a bell pepper, chopped)
1 lb small pieces of meat (see note below)
1 1/4 cup buttermilk (EDIT: 3/4 cup buttermilk and 1/2 cup sour cream)
salt, to taste
2-3 Tbsp chopped cilantro

Note: One of the recipes I found called for ground lamb, which was stupidly expensive at the store. I ended up buying a pound of “stir-fry/fajita” pork. I think chicken would also work in similarly-sized small bits. (EDIT: I buy two boneless pork chops and slice them into bite-sized pieces, it’s cheaper for me that way.)

Heat oil over medium high. When it is hot, add mustard seeds. Cover (they’ll fly everywhere otherwise) and shake pan as they pop.

Add cumin and turmeric and stir for a minute. Lower heat to medium and add green onions, garlic, and chili. Cook until softened.

Add meat. Stir until cooked through, about 10 minutes (at least it was for the pork).

Reduce heat to low and stir in buttermilk. Bring up to temperature, but do not let boil (maybe about 5 minutes over low/medium-low). Add salt to taste. Finish by stirring in cilantro and serve over rice.

Chai-Buttermilk Spice Cake

Refatted from Cooking Light

1/2 cup boiling water
6 chai tea bags
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
1/3 cup (3 oz) cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar, divided
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk
2 large egg whites
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
cooking spray

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Pour boiling water over tea bags in a bowl; steep 5 minutes. Remove and discard tea bags; cool to room temperature.

Combine flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon, stirring with a whisk. Place cream cheese and butter in a large bowl, beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended (about 3 minutes). Add 1/4 cup granulated sugar and brown sugar; beat until well combined. Beat in brewed tea and vegetable oil. Add flour mixture and buttermilk alternately to sugar mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture; mix after each addition.

Using clean, dry beaters, beat egg whites with a mixer at high speed until foamy. Add cream of tartar; beat until soft peaks form. Add 1/4 cup granulated sugar, 1 tbsp at a time, beating until stiff peaks form. Gently stir one-third of egg white mixture into batter; gently fold in remaining egg white mixture.

Spoon batter into a 9-inch square baking pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean (it took me closer to 50 minutes). Cool in pan on a wire rack.

Murgh Dehin (updated)

Revised recipe (original here)

2 cups buttermilk
2 1/2 Tbsp spiced onion
2 1/2 Tbsp ketchup
2 1/2 Tbsp chopped cilantro
1 tsp table salt (omit if you’re using a kosher chicken)
1 fryer chicken, cut into 8 pieces (3 to 3.5 lbs)
2 Tbsp vegetable oil (plus more, if needed)
1 onion, sliced
2 Tbsp water (optional)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/4 tsp fresh ginger, minced
1 1/4 tsp ground cumin
2 1/2 tsp ground coriander
3/4 tsp turmeric
1 tsp cayenne pepper (add more or less to your taste)
1/4 tsp garam masala
2 1/2 tsp AP flour
1 14.5-oz. can diced tomatoes, drained

Combine the buttermilk, spiced onion, ketchip, cilantro, and salt in a large bowl. Add the chicken pieces, rubbing the mixture into the skin. Cover the bowl and refrigerate overnight or for at least 5 hours.

Remove the chicken pieces from the marinade. Use your fingers to get some of the extra liquid off. Reserve the marinade. Heat the oil over medium-high in a large pan or pot (the pan I used was 14″ in diameter and about 3″ deep). When the oil is shimmering, add the chicken pieces skin-side down. Cook for 3-4 minutes per side, or until golden brown. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.

Lower the temperature to medium, and add more oil to the pan if it looks too dry. Add the onions and cook for 5 minutes, scraping up the fond and stirring contantly. If you’re worried things are going to burn, add the water (probably won’t need it if you’re using a nonstick pan) to deglaze. Next, add the garlic and ginger. Stir and cook for 1 minute.

Switch to a whisk. Add the cumin, coriander, turmeric, cayenne, garam masala, and flour to the pan. Whisk constantly for 2-3 minutes. Add the reserved marinade to the pan, continuing to whisk so there won’t be any lumps. Add the tomatoes (you can switch back to a wooden spoon or spatula at this point). Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.

Add the chicken pieces and any accumulated juices to the pan. Cover the chicken pieces with the sauce, then cover the pan and slowly simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until the chicken in tender. Taste and adjust seasonings. Serve over rice.

Molasses Spice Cookies

Adapted from The Joy of Cooking

1 stick unsalted butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup molasses
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp cardamom
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp table salt
1/2 cup chopped raisins (optional, I didn’t use them but my mom said they would have been a good idea, and The Joy agrees)

Heat oven to 350. Beat the butter until soft, then add the sugar and blend until light and creamy. Beat in the egg and molasses.

Sift the flour, baking soda, spices, and salt. Alternate adding in thirds the sifted ingredients and the buttermilk to the mixture in the bowl, beating smooth after each addition. (Er, that wasn’t terribly clear. Sift those things together. Add a third of the buttermilk to the butter/sugar/egg/molasses mixture. Beat smooth. Add a third of the sifted flour/soda/spices/salt to the bowl. Beat smooth. Add another third of the buttermilk, etc.)

Drop the batter in teaspoons onto a greased or parchment-lined cookie sheet. Bake for 8 to 12 minutes.

(Note: these baked up as soft little puffy cookies. I have a feeling if I made them in warmer weather, they might have coalesced into an large amorphous cookie. This happened with the Pfeffernüsse. So just be careful, and if you feel like the dough is way too loose [this may be hard to tell, as it’s a pretty loose dough anyway], put it in the fridge for 10 minutes or so before baking.)