There is very little I miss about England, apart from a good curry. There are good Vietnamese and Cambodian restaurants here in south-west France, although to me those cuisines lack the unique punch of Indian food. The Indian restaurants we have tried haven’t quite hit the mark; it has felt as if they’ve tinkered with the spices to suit a French clientele whose palate is not accustomed to the powerful flavours of an authentic Indian curry.

Friends returning from a trip to England over Christmas brought me back a supply of mango powder, kaffir lime leaves, curry leaves and nigella, some of the spices essential to making a curry but impossible to find here. Consequently we’ve been having a lot of curries recently to warm us up on these chilly winter days.

Last night I tried a new recipe for a vegetable curry and it was so good, I have to share it. Although it is very simple and uses few spices, the flavour was absolutely gorgeous. It took less than 20 minutes from start to finish.

Cook some vegetables of your choice. I used cauliflower, potatoes, frozen broccoli, green beans and peas, in total about 1.5 kilos. Steam or simmer until vegetables are just tender and the potatoes are soft. Drain them well.

Heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a large saucepan, and fry ½ teaspoon of mustard seeds and 1 teaspoon of cumin seeds. (You can roast the cumin seeds in a frying pan for a couple of minutes to increase the flavour if you wish.)

When the seeds begin to jump about in the oil, add ½ teaspoon of nigella (onion seed), 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder, 2 crushed garlic cloves, 1 red chilli (I didn’t have one so substituted a quarter of a teaspoon of strong chilli powder) and 8 curry leaves.

Reduce the heat and fry gently until the garlic is golden. 

Add the vegetables to the pan with 1 teaspoon of sugar, a good pinch of salt and 150 ml. of plain yoghurt mixed with a teaspoon of cornflour. Stir thoroughly and heat through to serve. 

I replaced the yoghurt with soya cream for a vegan version.

The recipe came from the Curries of the World flipcook book, and is described as a typical example of cooking from the east and north-east of India. It differs from most other recipes I have seen for chorchori, being simpler and using fewer ingredients, but we loved the result. This recipe is a keeper.

I really like this book, the recipes are straightforward and do not require lengthy, complicated techniques (you know what a lazy cook I am!) and they work. I see it’s available used from for as little as 1p.

Tarka dhal tonight.



14 thoughts on “CHORCHORI

  1. That sounds good!
    We have the same problem here….so the suitcases are loaded with the essential ingredients when I return from the U.K. – even to the point of red lentils which seem to be a luxury item in the one shop which stocks them in San Jose.
    In order not to have to pay for an extra suitcase which would increase the cost of the goodies I now look for an airline which gives me two suitcases in economy….as Leo says, only a Scot would be calculating likely airfares on the additional cost of a kilo of lentils…

  2. As you may remember from when you lived over here, red lentils are not readily available in many of the supermarkets. I have to buy them either en vrac from the bio counter at Auchan in Poitiers, or from the bio shop. And yet they are not expensive. I think the puy lentils must be afraid of competition. 🙂

    Could you not do what I used to do when travelling on Ryanair – buy a fisherman’s jacket with 22 pockets and stuff them full with all the weighty objects? Think how many red lentils you could carry. 😀

    • Ah yes…the poachers’ pocket jackets! I remember them well! They are starting to frisk bulky jackets, I noticed on my last trip – not at Heathrow, but in Mexico City where i changed ‘planes.
      Knowing my luck i would be in the slammer for being in possession of an item deemed likely to overthrow the Mexican economy…

      • I don;t think that that would worry the bods in Mexico City, to judge by the (super) meal I had in the airport…I think I could have flown the Atlantic without the ‘plane after that…

  3. Hi Susie,

    I return to Tucson this afternoon – perhaps we can skype in the next few days?

    With your health issues to deal with, I have not wanted to bother you with my

    Ups and downs! How are you? Any test results?

    Perry Mason died a few days ago, in great pain, with bone cancer. I am blessed to

    Have been able to spend time with him in December. Will tell you about it all.

    Love from Viv xxxx

  4. Hi Viv

    Yes, I got your message about Perry, and replied to it. Sorry to hear that another Kenyan cowboy/character has gone. 😦

    I want to catch up with your news. Email me when would be a good time to Skype.


  5. In Cantal it is the height of rural fashion to have a village hall evening where the meal is curry. Only problem is the French really don’t understand curry at all and I’m afraid we have not enjoyed a single one so I was witnessed skulking through check-in at Boston Logan in December and then again driving into the Tunnel after Christmas in England with various shoes and shirts stuffed with bags of spices. I’m not happy to say I can therefore make your delicious and simple curry and we surely will before the week is out! I’m wishing you a joy and laughter filled, peaceful and contented 2017 😊

  6. We can hardly blame the French for not liking curry when they taste the ‘local’ version. 🙂 A spoonful of Schwartz curry powder doth not a curry make.

    I hope you’ll enjoy the curry and that it will keep you all warm through the winter.

    Wishing you everything wondrous for this year. For certain it’s going to be ‘interesting.’

  7. You can buy all you need on the internet and if you get your friends to order at the same time, you can share the postage. I’m not a great fan of curry so it’s not one of the things I bring back from the UK. I’m more of a sausage fan (or, my boys are). I love a good casserole though, and soup. Ahhh. 🙂

    • The postage on my order would have been more than the order – so on this occasion it worked better having ‘free delivery’.

      We love sausages too – Quorn sausages. 😀

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