Sunday, 1 June 2014

Beef curry with pomegranates (#ReadCookEat)

"As Kuma continued to chop wood, he told me that the first dish Sinorita had ever cooked for him had been curry...
So curry it was. But this was to be no ordinary curry. It was going to be the best curry ever... At first, I thought about trying to recreate the curry Sinorita had made for him. But his memory was too foggy to recall enough details... And after a lot more thought, I finally decided to make a pomegranate curry, using fresh pomegranates from a place I knew in the depths of the forest.
Adding a few handfuls of pomegranate seeds gave the curry a deep, ruby-red colour and a sweet-sour taste that made your mouth water...
Lying on the spotless kitchen counter next to the pomegranates were some onions and beef that looked like they couldn't wait to be cooked...
"Ringo-chan! I've never eaten a curry like this in my life!" 
(Ito Ogawa, The Restaurant of Love Regained)

The Restaurant of Love Regained, a Japanese bestseller, is a hymn to food, full of recipe ideas and food preparation in great detail. It's packed full of food descriptions, and I was wondering which meal I could recreate for our #ReadCookEat challenge. Most of the meals were too exotic or demanded a list of ingredients that I don't have or wouldn't want to use. 
Beef curry with pomegranates which Rinko served to Kuma was the most likely candidate. Though the author describes the process of cooking of the pomegranate curry for several pages, most of it was of a lyrical nature. As much as I admire the dedication, I don't talk to food or pray to the God of cooking. 
My recipe is just based on the idea from the book, but most likely Rinko cooked it in a completely different way. The only three ingredients I borrowed from the book were beef, onion and pomegranates.

Beef curry with pomegranates
450g diced beef
2 tbsp coconut oil
4 shallots, sliced
2 garlic cloves
a sprinkle of chilli flakes
4 tomatoes, chopped
1 star anise
1tsp freshly grated ginger
100g red curry paste (I used Waitrose Cooks' Ingredients jar)
400ml/1 tin coconut milk
200ml set Greek style yogurt
a handful of pomegranate sees
to serve with
basmati rice
200g Greek style yogurt, mixed with chopped fresh mint and pomegranate seeds

Melt the coconut oil in the frying pan, once it starts to sizzle, add the beef and brown it on all sides for about 5 minutes. Add the sliced shallots, garlic, chilli flakes, a star anise, ginger and fry for another 5 minutes. Add the chopped tomatoes, red curry paste and coconut milk. Cook for about 45 minutes on low, simmering. Stir occasionally. At about 10 minutes before the end of cooking , add the yogurt and pomegranate seeds and stir well. 
Cook the basmati rice, rinse in cold water and drain well.
In a small bowl mix the Greek yogurt with the pomegranate seeds and fresh chopped mint.

I don't know if Kuma would have liked my curry, but we certainly enjoyed it. The pomegranates added a beautiful deep sweet sour note to the dish, and the colour was amazing.

I like using Rachel's Organic set Greek yogurt, it is luxuriously thick and delicious. In the last weeks I have been adding it to lots of salads. You might have seen the promotional tubs with a code to enter the competition to win Royal Doulton bowls. Though I have been eating it by a bucketful, I haven't been lucky to win anything yet, but then I am very rarely lucky with instant win comps.


Have you read a book recently which inspired you to run to the kitchen and cook to your heart's content?

Chris from Cooking Round the World and I are inviting you to recreate a meal, inspired by books and join in our #ReadCookEat challenge.

The idea is to choose a fiction book, either a world classic or modern fiction, and pick up a dish mentioned or described in that book and then recreate it in a recipe. Please say a few lines about your chosen book, and maybe even do a quote from the book.

If you decide to take part, please add the badge to your post and link up back to Chris and me, and either use a link-up tool or add the url of your post as a comment. Alternatively, email either of us with the link to your post (my email is sasha1703 at yahoo dot com).
The challenge will start on 1 June and will end on 30 June 2014.
I promise to Pin all blogs posts taking part in this challenge, as well as RT and Google+.


  1. This looks gorgeous :) I have two "barely cooking" ones for the last two books, but the current one is great for foodie ideas - so many to choose from and he almost gives the whole recipe each time so looking forward to exploring New Brunswick cuisine :)

    1. Sounds fantastic, and now I want to read the book you're reading as well. :)

  2. I like the colour of that curry, it's so ... eh ... red. The book sounds intriguing as well. I have a feeling I need some more time to manage all the interesting things to do.

    1. I take it as good red, or not? lol Truly, it was tasty. I love fruit and meat combination. And don't we all need some more time. My list of reviews never seems to come to an end

    2. Of course, good red. I would never even dare to mention a bad thing.

  3. Here's my second - and rather pathetic - attempt for this month's linkie - this was literally the only food that got a mention in the book, apart from some sandwiches brought in from Claridge's ! The next one will be better (couldn't be any worse !! lol)

    1. Not pathetic at all! Keep them coming! Simple foods are good, especially from fresh ingredients

  4. I've linked up not one but two foodie posts inspired by Beneath The Surface, which is set in Newfoundland - so many foodie references, I couldn't decide which one to make !

    I've just finished reading the upcoming Chelsea Cain novel, One Kick - it has a grand total of two mentions of food. One is a slice of 5-day old takeaway pizza and the other is a bag of sunflower seeds bought as a gas station - not much to work with there !!

    1. Enjoyed reading your post, it is almost an essay! :)

  5. My latest reads have had no food in at all so I'm linking up another one I looked up (and initially rejected) for Above All Things - a Tibetan stew :)

  6. That looks lovely. I am rather behind on my reading, might finish this book in time for next month but did manage one recipe