I am no where near mastering the art of curry. But I keep working at it, and here is my latest and best attempt yet. I think my biggest problem is a totally irrational fear of using too many spices, possibly because I hate over-spiced foods more than I hate under-spiced foods... So I'm trying to find my spice-balance. Here's how last night's curry began:
Spices in a saute pan: Cinnamon, Coriander, Tumeric, Paprika, Clove, Cardamom, Cumin, and Star Anise. (Note to self: buy some Fenugreek!)
I put this pan of spices over high heat and kept the spices constantly moving to toast them and to release their oils without burning them. This happens fairly quickly.
Meanwhile, I was cooking Blue Bird Grain Farms rice pilaf with lots of saffron and an "Iranian rice herb" mixture. In another pan I seared chicken legs in bacon grease until they were good and brown (dreaming of a tandoori oven). I used onions, garlic, ginger, carrots, and peppers to deglaze the pan as they cooked and released their moisture. When the veggies began to caramelize I added chicken stock and the toasted spices and let the whole thing simmer until the sauce was thick. It turned out to be pretty delicious and my under-spicing aloud the flavor of Stokesberry's incredible chicken to come through.