Sunday, November 6, 2011

Sunday* Dinner: Indian Simmer Sauce

I fell in love with Indian food when I was living in England during my junior year abroad.  Unfortunately, I have yet to find an Indian restaurant here in LA that fully satisfies that love.  A large part of it could be that I really like spicy food.  Here, the owners of the Indian restaurants see me as this little blonde, white girl walk.  So they assume when I say “spicy” that I mean “white girl American spicy.”  No, I mean “I want my eyes to water and my skin to sweat spicy.”  I never had that problem in England.  For example, one night in Bristol, a bunch of us went out for curry after a rehearsal for “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum” (which I was directing).  Mid- conversation, I had to excuse myself so I could retreat to the restroom and splash my face with cold water.  Turns out, I bit down on a piece of chili pepper that was still whole in the curry sauce I was eating.  To this day, I have yet to eat anything that spicy.  It made my eyes water instantly!  As painful as it was, that is what I am looking for when I go out to eat Indian food.  Aaron and I have found one Indian restaurant near(ish) our house that we sometimes will order from for delivery (they can’t see the white girl over the phone, so they will actually make it spicy . . . relatively speaking).  However, we reserve ordering from them for special occasions, because it costs about $50 for a decent Indian meal for 2-3 people (from my experience that is the expensive standard in LA).

One day at Trader Joe’s, I saw jars of “Curry Sauce.”

I decided, “What the heck, I’ll give that a try.”  Boy, am I glad I did!  This has been a favorite dinner in the Sherry household ever since!  Aaron’s not a huge spicy food fan, so I don’t make it as spicy as I might otherwise like it.  It’s also not a permanent substitute for the real thing.  However, the price difference between this and restaurant Indian food definitely makes it worth it.

The recipe is super-difficult.  You ready?

-         1 jar Trader Joe’s Indian Simmer Sauce
-         Whatever veggies or meat you want to add
-         Brown rice for a side dish

Ok, ok, so it’s not really that difficult.

Here’s how I like to make it:

First, I take a can of chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinse and drain them.  Then I put them in a large frying pan with little to no oil.  I then add various spices depending on my mood – but usually including garlic salt, Lawry’s season salt, cumin, curry powder, etc.  

Once the chickpeas have warmed all the way through, I add whatever other veggies I have decided to use.  For this weekend, I added all the veggies from my CSA box that still needed to be used, which included kale, bok choy, greens of some sort (I am guessing collard?), beet greens and some red pepper.

Then add the simmer sauce and heat until bubbly.  Simmer until the rice is done. 

I like to serve with a glass of chilled Chardonnay.

Variations: I will often cook up some lentils and add them at the end to the simmer sauce (I didn’t this time because there were enough other veggies).  You can also chop up chicken or sausage and add it to the simmer sauce – though I tend to like it vegetarian-style.

Here’s the accounting:

Trader Joe's Simmer sauce

Simmer sauce


(I am guessing that I used about $5 worth of the remaining veggies from my CSA box)


6 servings
per person

As you can see, that is MUCH better than what we would spend had we gone out to an Indian restaurant – and we get leftovers to bring to work for lunch!

*Confession: I actually made this last night (Saturday) because I knew today (Sunday) was going to be jam-packed full of family fun adventures.

1 comment:

Danielle said...

We made this with the chic peas and it was delicious. Thanks for the idea!