Sunday, April 18, 2010

too muchi curry powder

No, I did not actually make a typo in my title - that "i" is on purpose.  I believe I've mentioned how much I love Frontier Brand Curry Powder - it smells great and has a savory flavor, packing just enough heat but not too much for my little Irish tongue.  Unfortunately, the last time I needed to buy curry powder, I was not the only one who had run out of it.  I ended up buying the Whole Pantry Muchi Curry Powder, thinking, "how different could it be?"  In a word? Very.

To be fair, it smells very similar to my regular curry powder and even looks somewhat similar.  Actually, because of it's milder yellowy-orange color, I thought it might actually be milder than the Frontier brand.  While I wasn't looking for that, I'll take it over make-my-lips-hurt hot.  Because I was actually in Whole Foods when I was confronted with this "decision," and because I am not [yet] addicted to an internet-wielding smartphone (primarily because I am unwilling to pay for the plan), I could not look up what "muchi" might mean so I went on looks alone.  As many hollywood-starlets-turned-trainwrecks (Britney, Lindsay, Amy, Robert Downey, Jr, I can go on) show, that isn't always a safe bet.

It turns out Muchi Curry is a very hot curry, sometimes referred to in Indian cooking as "the" hot curry because it contains in its mix not one, not two, but three ground peppers: black, red (cayenne), and white, in that order.  Silly me, I used the whole amount dictated by my recipe for Rice Noodle with Curried Tofu and Vegetables.   Another error in my thinking was that even if it was hotter than it smelled (it was, and no, I didn't think to read the ingredients before I bought it and even if I had, I wouldn't have recognized how hot they would make the mix), surely the coconut milk would mellow it know, as opposed to spreading it around the entire dish so there were no safe bites.

It was extraordinarily flavorful, and prior to losing all sensation in my mouth, the cayenne did its job and absolutely enhanced all other flavors around it, not the least of which was a wine my friend recommended to me: Francis Coppola Celestial Blue Malbec.  As she promised, it was very easy to drink, which was very helpful last night.  It is smooth and very dark - I would recommend it to any everyone.  Ultimately, no matter how wonderful dinner was, I could barely finish my portion - it was just too hot.

So tonight, when I made Curried Bulghur Casserole with Garbanzo Beans, I cut the curry portion in half, more or less.  It worked, in terms of me being able to eat all of my dinner and it was delicious, but I should have made up for the other half of the portion by adding other curry spices ad hoc (cumin, coriander, maybe a dash of ginger). 

There really weren't many ingredients involved and I did make some minor changes.  I'm not a big fan of onions (actually, I hate them), so in place of the green onions (which are certainly the least offensive), I added about 4 cloves of garlic and a generous sprinkling of freeze-dried chives.  While the chives were instantly reconstituting, I had a little daydream which involved my generous colleague sharing the bounty of his herb garden with me again as he prepares to move in a month and a half.  I knew the veggies wouldn't look as good after baking as they do right here:

So anyway, it is high time to get to bed - I have a baby birthday party tomorrow afternoon!  Let me show you my menu (though I've already shared one part above) before that, though:

1. Pita Quesadillas with Hummus and Crash Hot Potatoes - The first recipe comes from the newest Vegetarian Times magazine, which sang its siren song when I was standing in line at Whole Foods.  The potatoes are courtesy of Vegan Yum Yum (the blog - I haven't bought the book...yet).

2. Quick Moroccan Tagine also from the latest Veg. Times, because I have yet to meet a tagine I didn't like, and this one looks like a fun variation from the ones I normally make.  Someday - that great someday when I have a huge chef's kitchen - I would like to have an actual clay tagine and make these things authentically.

3. Classic Lentil Stew from The Complete Vegan Cookbook.  Why not?

4. Curried Bulghur Casserole with Garbanzo Beans - done. 

5. Spicy Tomato Peanut and Kale Pasta from La Dolce Vegan - I missed this cookbook, and though I originally set out to repeat a couple of favorites (like Punjabi Peppers & Tofu), I saw this and wanted to try it.  I am growing quite fond of kale.

6. Baked Chili with Cornbread Biscuit Topping also from La Dolce Vegan and also something I haven't tried before.  Yes, I did get the tortilla chips ahead of time.


  1. Please post the nutrition data of this recipe !!!

  2. I wish I had read this before I dumped 2 T of my previously unused bottle of Whole Foods muchi curry powder into the lentil soup I was making. Whoot whoot - that is hot stuff! Needless to say, I am starting all over...........

    1. oh no! Well, now we both know for "next time."

  3. Made the same mistake tonight...some muchi hot fennel sweet potato curry. Both my husband and I said, this'll be the same, yes? It also contains mace...I guess I have an of what it feels like to get maced!

  4. This is a wonderful blog post, so totally bloggy.

    I put a link to this post on my Facebook page, annotated as follows:

    I bought some muchi curry and some madras curry at Naturally Yours Grocery, without knowing the difference between the two types. I just love curry and its medicinal effects. Curry is like cocaine for the brain, except it keeps the brain healthy and active in a benevolent manner, rather than burning out its circuits.

    Here's a charming blog post on muchi vs. madras curry. This lady's blog post is why the blogosphere continues to be more interesting and informative than most mainstream media. The totally personal, human, idiosyncratic element is so nice here.

    What makes a blog more human than most news media is the little tangents, personal revelations, transparency, and subjective point of view.

    "But blogs have no editorial filters," the anti-web people whine. Exactly. Filters in media are often corporate or state controlled.

    Mainstream journalists are often smart, and have good writing skills, but they don't necessarily have "higher standards" when you factor in their political and commercial bias.

    Blogs are accountable, however. If a blogger is a liar, fraud, insane, or just plain stupid, other blogs and websites will not link to it or cite it.

  5. I love, love, love Muchi Curry! Had absolutely no idea as to why it was so hot until reading your blog. I plan to try some of your dishes but must improvise, as I am raw vegan. Glad I selected your description of this curry.