Where I am is a small village called, Confort, and I’m having a very “confortable” holiday. I wish I could wake up everyday to the green scenery and walk about in silence except the sound of birds. The only downside of being in a small village up in the mountain is no access to public transportation and good boulangeries for breakfast bread. Here it’s necessary to have bread and other groceries in the freezer and everyday necessities whenever possible.
When I’m in the desperate need of something, I have to walk for 1.5 hours to the centre through La Voie du Tram, which is an old tram way that was transformed into a path where people can walk, run or ride a bicycle. It runs over 3 km and 2 km extra to reach the town centre. On the route, I see many people running and wonder how French people love sports and exercises whether they exercise in order to eat like me.
The first time I took the tram way I got lost and walked for hours in the middle of the wet forest and ended up at the bottom by the river but luckily got rescued by a young handsome guy, who was at the blocked gate that once led to the city centre.
The second time I took the same way I realised that I had to take the left, not the right. Once I got used to the way, the walk became easier and seemed perfect as a little exercise to burn overloaded calories from all the cheese and feast I’d been enjoying every night. The walk is actually very pleasant as I can observe the nature and keep my sense of smell for wine tasting in tune by take a deep breath of the air, the trees and soils.
On a foggy day I can’t see much but I still have to walk to get the bread I want. Actually, walking to get bread is a kind of excuse for me to walk and I’m sure passers-by must think I, an Asian woman in a remote French village, look hilarious walking with a loaf of bread under the arm and a big camera bag on the shoulder.
So when the stock is low, one has to make do without, and one afternoon I dug around the kitchen searching for things to cook with and found a stalk of leek and wilting carrots and there was a bunch of fresh coriander leaves. In the spice basket, there were so many bottles of spices, one the most spotted being turmeric. As Cyrille is into cooking, there are so many kinds of spices, fleur de sel, flours, home-made herb-infused oils and vinegar, etc. and I get to experiment with all.
It hadn’t been long since I posted about my turmeric tea and promised to share a korma recipe so I still had residual thoughts about the turmeric. So came this improvised Korma Curry with Mussels.
I consider the korma curry as an ultimate affair with aromas. It is the best to grind spices freshly but you can also make your own spice mix and have it ready for use. I gave a health-conscious foodie friend a jar of home-made korma spice mix before coming but forgot to make one for Mr.O, who would have loved to make one for himself while I’m away. I gave him an instruction verbally but I doubt he paid much attention to it.
There are ways to cheat. For example, if you have a garam masala mix, you can use 2 tsp of it and add extra 1 tsp ground turmeric, or if you have a curry mix, you can use 1/2 tsp of it and 1 tsp turmeric plus 1 tsp ground cardamom and 1 tsp ground cumin. So you can choose whichever works best for you instead of being daunted by the lengthy recipe.
Korma curry is usually made with ground almonds or cashew nuts and a little yogurt for the creamy texture but there are also other variations such as using coconut milk or just yogurt. Not having found almonds or yogurt, I chose to use coconut milk but not to make it too heavy. If I had found none, I would have used cream and coconut flakes; I always find a way. With this dish that includes mussels, I felt that coconut milk would suit better than yogurt. Oh, I could have experimented with turmeric and blue cheese combination, couldn’t I?
The Korma was as delicious as it meant to be. One never fails with Korma recipes and it doesn’t matter about the exact proportion of each spice in the mix as long as it is yellow with the essential aromas of turmeric and cardamom, and seems Indian. 🙂
While eating it, we talked about the benefits of turmeric and surprisingly – I mean not really surprised because I knew he was an expert in herbs, essential oils and homeopathy, rather delighted, I would say – I learned that he’d been taking turmeric honey everyday! This is the one he made with turmeric, black pepper and raw honey, and he takes it every morning.
I also learned that he’d been taking ginger and cinnamon every morning, too, like me, because both spices are aphrodisiac. Well, my reason is different to his but it is the same nonetheless. Anyway, if you haven’t tried ginger, cinnamon, turmeric on your buttered toast yet, you should!
Korma Curry with Mussels
Ingredients (serves 4)
200 – 300g mussels, frozen or fresh
1 leek, sliced (or 1 onion, diced)
2 medium-size carrots, sliced
1/2 cup green peas
1 Tbsp grapeseed or sunflower oil
200ml coconut milk or 100ml coconut cream + 100ml water
2 garlic cloves, minced
fresh coriander leaves (optional)
——- Korma spice mix —–
2 tsp ground ginger (fresh ginger preferred)
2 tsp ground turmeric
2 tsp ground cardamom (or 4 cardamom pods, crushed)
2 tsp ground coriander seeds
3 whole cloves
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp cumin seeds or ground cumin
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg (optional)
1 tsp cracked black peppercorns
1 bay leaf
1. Heat the oil in a pan and fry the spice mix and bay leaf till fragrant
2. Add the leek and carrots and saute for 3 mins and pour in the coconut milk and water.
3. Simmer for about 10 mins until the vegetables are tender and add the mussels and peas and cook for 5 mins.
4. Check and add more water if necessary, otherwise add coriander leaves and serve.
- Turmeric Tea – Winter Defender and Magical Healer (eatwithmeistanbul.com)
- Make-Ahead Recipe: Lamb Korma – Recipes from The Kitchn (thekitchn.com)
- Easy Chicken Korma (knackeredhousewife.com)