When we were in India last March, I was smitten when I saw some heavy cast iron pans that resembled asian woks but were much heavier, being used by street vendors wherever food was made or sold. These pans were sitting on little charcoal or clay stoves and people were cooking all varieties of things from curries to sweet treats and everything in between. I was keen to acquire one but didn’t have the opportunity (or luggage space) while we were away but made it a goal to source one on our return.
I occasionally go to the Dandenong (or Springvale or Footscray) Market to stockup on items that are hard to almost impossible to source in our local shops. I made a trip to Dandenong a couple of weeks ago and managed to find an import shop that stocked some of these pans. Not sure where I would store it in my non existent kitchen, I justified my purchasing it with no basis at all and paid a whole $25.00 for a ~3ml thick cast iron karahi. I also bought a cast iron chapatti pan that is just waiting in the wings for its first outing!
With the decision to try Annabel Langbein’s South East Asian Curry that is in her Free Range Cook Book as the base for a vegetarian (with some chicken!) curry. I had today harvested some eggplant, beans and zucchini which are all good for use in a curry and it meant I could christen my Karahi as well. Although mine is not quite as heavy as the ones I saw in India, it is pretty darned thick and takes me back to the streets of Jaipur, Delhi, Varanasi and all the other cities we were lucky enough to see.
My oh my! This curry was so good I was blown over with the flavour! I followed the recipe pretty much exactly but halved quantities and skipped the shrimp paste as I didn’t have any. The karahi was just gorgeous to use, even heat on low simmer and I can’t wait to come up with another reason to use it. As with most cast iron cookware, it is not going to get a huge scrub, just a rinse and wipe out, a smear of oil to prevent oxidation (rust) and it will be great.
Shame I’m not a food photographer because then I could create a photo that captures the spectacular flavour of this curry! Thanks again Annabel!